The National Park Service (NPS) is committed to expanding access to the country’s national parks and to promoting the advantages of outdoor recreation to the public. As part of this goal, the NPS will have five days in 2023 that will be entrance fee-free. All national parks will admit all visitors, free of charge.
The scheduled free entrance dates for 2023 are:
- 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
“National parks are really amazing places and we want everyone to experience them,” said NPS 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.”
Detailed information about activities and things to do at each park is available on NPS.gov or the NPS app. Be sure to check these resources before visiting, especially if you’re interested in overnight accommodations.
In 2021, 297 million people visited national parks and spent $20.5 billion in local communities. This supported 322,600 jobs across the country and had a $42.5 billion benefit to the U.S. economy.
Most national parks are actually free to enter. Of the 400+ national parks, only about 100 have an entrance fee. 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. These funds are put toward enhacning the visitor experience through programs and services, habitat restoration, and repairs to infrastructure and other maintenance.
The upcoming fee-free days will apply only to NPS entrance fees and will not cover amenity or user fees for camping, boat launches, transportation, special tours, or other activities.
If you’re thinking of becoming a more avid visitor, check out the annual $80 America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass. It allows unlimited access to more than 2,000 federal recreation areas, including all national parks, for the passholder and companions accompanying them. The passes are also discounted for currently serving members of the U.S. military and their dependents, military veterans, Gold Star Families, fourth grade students, disabled citizens, and senior citizens.
The fee-free days trend is being continued by other federal land management agencies as well. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Forest Service, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will all be offering entrance fee-free days in 2023.
Learn more about the five fee-free days and plan your visit on the NPS website.