Need an excuse to visit your favorite outdoor spot? Here’s one: Saturday is National Public Lands Day. That means free admission!
There are only six days a year in which you can get into U.S. national parks for free, and National Public Lands Day is one of them. Established in 1994, the holiday celebrates the connection between Outsiders and the wildest parts of their environments.
With 423 national parks coast to coast, it’s not hard to take advantage of the free admission. While some parks offer free entry year-round, National Public Lands Day offers access to more popular sites like the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone. These two parks usually charge $35 per vehicle.
National Public Lands Day will allow visitors to whiz by the ranger station at the entrance. However, visitors looking to stay for more than one day or use any equipment will need to bring some extra cash. Other amenities like transportation, boat launches and guided tours may also require a fee.
This is typically the protocol for all free admission days for U.S. National Parks. So far this year, our nation has already celebrated four other free admission days, starting with Martin Luther King Jr. Day on January 18. Next to follow was the first day of National Park Week on April 17 and then Great American Outdoors Day on August 4. Most recently, officials waived fees for the 105th anniversary of the National Park Service on August 25.
National Public Lands Day Offers Extra Free Admission for Cleanup Volunteers
National Public Lands Day also encourages nature-lovers to get their hands dirty and help make the area cleaner. Whether that means carrying a trash bag on your hike or removing debris from the trails, the NPS hopes that the free admission will inspire visitors to not only enjoy their favorite trails but keep them cleaner for future hikers to use. Visitors can also take part in the social media challenge by uploading a photo of their outdoor adventure and using the following hashtags: #NPLD, #NPSVolunteer and #FindYourPark.
For those that prefer group activities, NPS is also offering a slew of organized cleanup efforts at various national parks on their website. And, in return for the extra help, the NPS will offer one free admission to a national park following the group activity.
If you can’t make the trip this weekend to celebrate National Public Lands Day, don’t fret. You still have one more day left this year to cash in on free admission at your favorite national park. On November 11, Veterans Day, NPS will offer the same free admission to veterans and civilians alike. Just be sure to show your appreciation while passing our nation’s heroes while on the trail.