If you love the great outdoors, the National Park Service has four dates on tap throughout the year when you can visit any of the hundreds of parks it maintains free of charge.
Enjoy free outdoor adventure at our nation’s parks
The National Park Service (NPS) has announced that it will waive admission fees to its parks on the following four days this year.
- January 15 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
- April 21 – The start of National Parks Week
- September 22 – Public Lands Day
- November 11 – Veterans Day
The entrance fee normally charged at most parks ranges from $25 to $30.
Yet the most visited park in the system — Great Smoky Mountains National Park — does not charge for entry. Under an agreement that transferred the land to NPS in the ’30s, the iconic park must remain open to anyone free of charge in perpetuity.
All told, NPS maintains 417 parks across the country. Only 118 of them charge admission.
The federal agency, which is facing a $12 billion budget shortfall, has floated the idea of jacking up the entrance fee at 17 of its most popular parks during the peak travel season. The proposed price hike could be as high as $70 and may take effect as soon as May 2018.
The slow creep toward higher prices last reared its ugly head on August 28, 2017, when the cost of a lifetime NPS pass for senior citizens skyrocketed overnight from $10 to $80.
So, if you’re into nature and can get free admission in 2018 on select days, you should consider grabbing it!