Here’s How You Can Get Free Admission to National Parks in 2022

by Shelby Scott

Outsiders nationally continue to endure extreme weather and natural disasters, not to mention the ever-mutating COVID-19 pandemic. Despite it all, we do have some good news for you ahead of the New Year. As we ring in 2022, we have all the details as to how you can gain free entrance to our country’s national parks. You just have to know when to go.

Many Outsiders might already know, but annually, the National Park Service releases an announcement regarding our parks’ free entrance days. As USA Today tells us, the free entrance days can save adventurous outdoorsmen and women quite a chunk of change. Many national parks require a $35 fee per car upon arrival, not to mention the cost of other park activities.

Some of these most popular destinations include Glacier, Grand Canyon, and Grand Teton National Park.

That said, the free entrance days provide Outsiders with a plethora of memorable outdoor experiences. Free entrance days apply to national seashores, battlefields, recreation areas, and so forth. Overall, the free entrance days provide Outsiders ample opportunity for travel and exploration, with 423 remarkable locations nationally.

The following days have been announced as the NPS’s free entrance days:

  • Monday, January 17th – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • Saturday, April 16th – The First Day of National Park Week
  • Thursday, August 4th – The Anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act
  • Saturday, September 24th – National Public Lands Day
  • Friday, November 11th – Veterans’ Day

Nevertheless, while specific national parks have waived entrance fees for these particular days, Outsiders should definitely head over to the NPS website to see what stipulations and exceptions there might be. Certain parks require special fees for parking garages, special experiences, tours, etc.

U.S. Veterans to Receive Free National Park Passes

Finally, Outsiders have access to special free days throughout 202. However, our nation’s veterans are now eligible to receive free national park passes that allow year-round access.

The move came as after former Secretary of Interior David Bernhardt visited Indiana Dunes National Park in 2020. During a Q&A session with Indiana Dunes employees, Fee Program Supervisor Koepke inquired about why free national park passes were not available to veterans.

From there, efforts to achieve the feat began. After the Department of the Interior’s own recommendation, Congress approved veteran access to more than 2,000 federal recreational sites. The move also includes Gold Star families.

The recent decision now enables U.S. veterans free visitation to more National Parks, National Forests, National Wildlife Refuges, and National Lakeshores.

The NPS simply requires veterans to provide a Department of Defense Identification card as well as their veteran ID.

Also, for those currently serving in the Armed Forces, the NPS already makes available America the Beautiful passes granting free admission to various locations across the country. Some include Yosemite, Yellowstone, Mount Rainer, Acadia, and the Great Smoky Mountains.

So, as we hunker down amid the latest winter weather, be sure to plan your next National Parks Trip with convenient free access.