As the new year nears, an old tradition — fee-free days at America’s national parks — continues.
Each year, the National Park Service waives entrance fees on special days. For 2023, there will again be five free-admission days, as was the case in 2022.
In 2023, the free days will be:
- Monday, Jan. 16 : Martin Luther King Jr. Day
- Saturday, April 22: First day of National Park Week
- Friday, Aug. 4: Great American Outdoors Day (the anniversary of the enactment of the Great American Outdoors Act of 2020)
- Saturday, Sept. 23: National Public Lands Day
- Saturday, 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 site 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 100 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 age 15 and younger, as well as holders of the following types of passes:
- Senior Annual Pass — a discounted ($20) pass for U.S. citizens and permanent residents who are age 62 or older
- Senior Lifetime Pass — a discounted ($80) pass for U.S. citizens and permanent residents who are age 62 or older
- Military Annual Pass — a free pass for current U.S. military members and their dependents
- Military Lifetime Pass — a free pass for veterans and Gold Star Family members
- Access Pass — a free lifetime pass for U.S. citizens and permanent residents with permanent disabilities
- Volunteer Pass — a free annual pass for volunteers with 250 service hours with federal agencies that participate in the Interagency Pass Program
- 4th Grade Pass — a free pass for fourth-graders, good during their school year through the following summer with a valid Every Kid Outdoors paper voucher
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