HomeOutdoorsNewsNational Park Services Waives Entrance Fees in Honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

National Park Services Waives Entrance Fees in Honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

by Jon D. B.
national park service logo
CHACO CULTURE NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK, NM - MARCH 23, 2014: The National Park Service logo is emblazoned on a sign at the Visitor Center at Chaco Culture National Historical Park in Northwestern New Mexico. (Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images)

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., every national park is free to enter courtesy of the National Park Service (NPS) waving entrance fees.

Not all NPS parks require paid entry, but those that do are all free today! That’s no small list, either. There are over 400 national park sites in the U.S., and each state has several to discover.

Today’s absence of entrance fees comes in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. and in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. A tireless advocate for racial equality, the working classes, and the oppressed around the world, America remembers the vast contributions of MLK on the third Monday of January. It’s a federal holiday to honor his life and legacy, which has evolved to encourage others to contribute to their community. Volunteer work and acts of service are common on MLK Day in national parks while entrance fees are absent.

“Places where he made history and of the greater Civil Rights Movement he influenced are preserved in many national parks and in local communities around the country,” NPS writes.

“In honor of the Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., national parks will waive entrance fees for everyone on Monday, January 16, 2023, as the first fee free day of the year,” NPS continues. “It is also a day of service when thousands of volunteers participate in service projects across the country, including at national parks.

Please remember, however, that transportation, tours, and camping will still have their own fees. Looking to visit a NPS park near you? We’ve got you covered below.

Find a National Park Near You

We often think of the heavy hitters when it comes to U.S. National Parks like Yellowstone or Great Smoky Mountains. But our NPS parks come in many shapes, sizes, and naming designations. Not all of them are named as a “national park” specifically. A common question is “How many NPS sites do we actually have?” as a result.

To answer the more common meaning of this question: There are 63 U.S. National Parks that hold that specific title.

These parks, which range from the enormous to the quaint, are only the beginning, however. In total, the National Park System encompasses 423 U.S. NPS Sites.

Yup, that’s four-hundred and twenty-three NPS parks. So if anyone asks you “How many U.S. National Parks are there?” from now on, you can answer them with not 63, but an incredible 423.

The best part? With over 400 parks to explore, there are NPS parks in every single state – extending into U.S. territories, too, like Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, and the Virgin Islands. NPS sites come in many different shapes, sizes, and designations as a result.

To view these designations and to find a NPS site near you, head on over to our How Many U.S. National Parks Are There? Hint: Way More Than 63. Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Outsiders!