A new year has arrived, and an old tradition — fee-free days at America’s national parks — continues beginning this month.
Each year, the National Park Service waives entrance fees on special days. However, this year there will be one fewer free day than in 2021, with the NPS declining to offer free admission on its birthday (Aug. 25).
In 2022, free days will be:
- Monday, Jan. 17 — Martin Luther King Jr. Day
- Saturday, April 16 — The first day of National Park Week
- Thursday, Aug. 4 — Anniversary of the enactment of the federal Great American Outdoors Act
- Saturday, Sept. 24 — National Public Lands Day
- Friday, Nov. 11 — Veterans Day
The National Park System comprises more than 400 places. They include national parks as well as other types of sites — national monuments, battlefields and seashores, for example. To find the park nearest to you, visit the National Park Service’s “Find a Park” page.
Most of the 400-plus sites do not charge entrance fees at any time. Around 110 that do charge admission waive the cost — which can range from $5 to $35 — on entrance fee-free days.
Other types of fees, such as those for camping or special tours, still apply on free-entrance days.
Other ways to see national parks for free or cheap
There are many other ways to save money at national parks, regardless of when you decide to visit one.
For example, an annual pass that provides unlimited entrance to all 2,000-plus federal recreation areas, including national parks, is $80.
Admission to all parks will also continue to be free for children ages 15 and younger, as well as holders of the following types of passes:
- Senior Pass — which costs $80 for the lifetime version and $20 for the annual version
- Military Pass — a free pass for current U.S. military members and their dependents, plus veterans and Gold Star Family members
- Access Pass — a free pass for U.S. citizens and permanent residents with permanent disabilities
- Volunteer Pass — a free pass for volunteers with 250 service hours with federal agencies that participate in the Interagency Pass Program
- Annual 4th Grade Pass — a free pass for fourth-graders during their school year through the following summer with a valid Every Kid Outdoors paper pass