Don't miss out on the opportunity to visit the national parks! In 2024, there will be six designated days where all National Park Service sites that require an entrance fee will grant free admission to all visitors. Don't forget to mark your calendar for these special entrance fee-free dates in 2024.
January 15: Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
April 20: First day of National Park Week
June 19: Juneteenth National Independence Day
August 4: Anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act
September 28: National Public Lands Day
November 11: Veterans Day
National parks are considered one of the best ideas in America, and there are over 400 parks that are open to the public every day. Fee-free days are an excellent opportunity to visit a new place or revisit an old favorite, especially if it's a national park that usually charges an entrance fee. However, it's important to note that the fee waiver only applies to entrance fees, not other fees such as camping, transportation, boat launches, or special tours.
Suppose you plan on visiting multiple national parks that usually charge an entrance fee. Consider purchasing an America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass for $80 annually. This pass allows for unlimited entrance to more than 2,000 federal recreation areas, including all national parks that usually charge an entrance fee.
Free or discounted passes are available for senior citizens, current military members, families of fourth-grade students, and disabled citizens. Please visit their website for more information on the different passes offered by the nps.gov/planyourvisit/passes
Avoid the Crowds in these Parks
If you want to avoid the crowds and visit a less-traveled park, you can explore these lesser-known parks and still take advantage of the fee-free days.
Lassen Volcanic National Park is often described as the little cousin of Yellowstone. It has many volcanic and geothermal features similar to Yellowstone but with a fraction of the crowds.
Theodore Roosevelt National Park is a bit off the beaten path but it made the coveted list of 63 National Parks. Its remote location is credited with keeping visitation low. However, the incredible vistas on display from multiple vantage points in the park have been likened to other visitor-dense parks like the Grand Canyon and Zion.
Shenandoah National Park is geographically not far from the most-visited park on the roster, Great Smoky Mountains National Park. However, Shenandoah attracts a fraction of the visitation while offering similar amenities and adventure opportunities.
Big Bend National Park is also quite remote and provides opportunities for memorable southwestern nature experiences. However, it doesn't have the rush of people one is likely to experience at Zion, Arches, or the Grand Canyon.
While visitation is still moderate on fee-free entry days at North Cascades National Park, it's nothing like that of nearby Mount Rainier National Park. However, North Cascades allows one to have experiences similar to Mount Rainier, like access to incredible mountain peaks, beautiful hiking trails, flower-clad valleys, and rushing rivers.
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