HomeOutdoorsNewsNational Park Service Reveals Five Entrance Fee-Free Days For 2023

National Park Service Reveals Five Entrance Fee-Free Days For 2023

by Amy Myers
Photo by George Frey/Getty Images

To increase accessibility to our public lands and natural destinations, the National Park Service selects a few days every year to waive entrance fees.

These days all share some significance in the development, upkeep or accessibility to national parks. By waiving the entrance fee, officials can increase “access to national parks” and promote “the advantages of outdoor recreation for public benefit and enjoyment.”

Here are the five days you can get into National Parks for free in 2023:

  • January 16 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day  
  • April 22 – First Day of  National Park Week  
  • August 4 – Great American Outdoors Day  
  • September 23 – National Public Lands Day  
  • November 11 – Veterans Day  

The fee waiver does not include amenity or user fees for camping, boat launches, transportation, special tours, or other activities. 

“National parks are really amazing places and we want everyone to experience them,” said  National Park Service Director Chuck  Sams. “The entrance fee-free days encourage people to discover the beauty, history and inspiration awaiting them in more than 400 national parks throughout the country.” 

But that doesn’t mean you’ll always need cash on the way to visit a national park the rest of the year. The National Park Service that most associated sites don’t have an entrance fee at all.

“Most national parks are always free to enter. Only about 100 of the 400+ national parks have an entrance fee,” the Park Service informed.

One of the newer fee-free days to make the list is Great American Outdoors Day, established by the Great American Outdoors Act. This act “provides funding to improve infrastructure and expand recreation opportunities in national parks and other public lands.”

National Park Visitors Bring in $42.5 Billion in Revenue

If you’re visiting parks that do require a fee, the funds all go to much-needed projects and maintenance. This includes improvements to campground amenities, trail repairs, increased signage and more.

“For parks with an entrance fee, the cost ranges from $5 to $35 and the  money remains in the National Park Service, with 80-100%  staying in the park where collected,” the release informed. “The funds are used to enhance the visitor experience  by  providing  programs and services, habitat restoration,  and  infrastructure maintenance and repair. ”

Last year, nearly 300 million people visited national parks from coast to coast. As a result, they helped bring in more than $20 billion to local communities and supported 322,600 jobs. This also added $42.5 billion to the U.S. economy. As 2023 approaches, national parks are gathering this year’s visitation numbers. Many have also begun evaluating data from pilot reservation programs that have helped prevent congestion in the parks. In addition, visitors can share their concerns and reactions about the latest programs and how they’ve affected park experience on available forums.