How to visit the US National Parks for free in 2024

Washington DC - Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon: The US National Parks Association manages a total of 428 protected areas, including national parks, memorials, coastal and recreational areas. And on select days, you can get in for free.

Grinnell Lake below the Grinnell Glacier in Glacier National Park in Montana.
Grinnell Lake below the Grinnell Glacier in Glacier National Park in Montana.  © JOSH EDELSON / AFP

Want to get into a National Park for free 99?

Of the park areas, 115 cost entry, and visitors must on average pay between $5 and $35 to explore famous sights such as the Grand Canyon ($20-35) or Yellowstone Park ($25).

But according to an announcement from the US National Park Service (NPS), visitors can enjoy free admission to National Parks on these six days in 2024:

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  • January 15 (Martin Luther King Jr. Day)
  • April 20 (start of National Parks Week)
  • June 19 (Juneteenth)
  • August 4 (Anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act)
  • September 28 (National Public Lands Day)
  • November 11 (Veterans Day)

On all other days, many of the 418 major sites run by the NPS in the country will be charging admission. You may still need to pay fees for activities such as camping, boat launches, transportation and special tours, however.

How to find info on the US National Parks

Visitors watch the sunrise from the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, one of the most popular National Parks.
Visitors watch the sunrise from the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, one of the most popular National Parks.  © MARIO TAMA / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP

Want to find out more?

The NPS website gives a good overview of all 59 participating parks with links to information on operating hours and event schedules.

If you're planning a trip to the Grand Canyon National Park, the best times are around May and October, when temperatures are more moderate compared with the torrid, 100-degree plus summertime heat of northern Arizona.

Hot tip (literally): the free days in April and September may be preferable over the free days in June and August.

Cover photo: JOSH EDELSON / AFP

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