There’s no better way to spend your summer than to hit as many of our country’s gorgeous and preserved national parks. This has clearly been a lot of people’s mission this summer, given many parks are seeing a massive jump in visitors.
There’s only one thing that can make it all even better — free admission. Many national parks have entrance fees that visitors must pay. These fees help the National Park Service keep these wonderful fragments of natural wildlife and beauty intact.
There are several days throughout the year where entrance fees are waived at national parks, national monuments, national seashores, national recreation areas, and more. One of which just passed on August 4, which was Great American Outdoors Day.
Not to worry though, there are still a few more days coming up where you can get deep into the great outdoors without breaking open your wallet.
National Park Service Free Day in August
Now that August 4 is behind us, it’s time to take advantage of the last three free admissions days. To be clear, visitors will still need to pay certain fees for camping, tours, and other activities.
According to USA Today, the next one is on August 25, which is the National Park Service’s birthday. NPS was created on that day in 1916 as President Woodrow Wilson signed the National Park Service Act into action. Since then, the date gives NPS and outdoor enthusiasts a chance to celebrate.
Different national parks will also host in-park programs and different virtual experiences as well. The main goal is to get people to different national parks that day and to celebrate the organization that keeps them afloat.
If you’re planning to visit a national park, be sure to check if that location is reservation only or not. Yosemite National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Haleakalā National Park, Acadia National Park, Glacier National Park, and Zion National Park are all requiring reservations throughout this summer.
Some people recommend going to some of the least visited national parks this summer to avoid crowds. This includes places like the North Cascades, Denali, Great Basin, and Voyageurs.
Last Two Free Admission Days of the Year
The other two admission-free days are September 25 and November 11. The 25th is National Public Lands Day. This was established in 1994. According to the NEEF’s official site, “National Public Lands Day is the nation’s largest single-day volunteer event for public lands.” The goal is to get as many volunteers as possible to improve upon our many public lands throughout the country. For this, entrance fees are waived.
This day will give outdoor and nature enthusiasts the opportunity to give back to what they love most. Through trail restoration or park clean-ups or other events, people can volunteer and get involved.
November 11 is Veteran’s Day. It’s a tradition for NPS to waive entrance fees in honor of those who have served our country.
NPS also offers free entrance to national parks for certain groups of people. This includes veterans, Gold Star Families, and those with permanent disabilities. There is also a way for fourth-graders to get a year-long entrance pass. This is with the Every Kid Outdoors program that is going on.
As always, whether it’s a free admission day or not, it’s important that visitors respect the land and leave behind no trace.