In 2024, visitors to the United States National Parks will have six opportunities to enjoy free entry, an increase from previous years. This initiative by the National Park Service (NPS) aims to encourage more people to experience the beauty and history of these parks. The six entrance fee-free days for 2024 are as follows:
- January 15: In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
- April 20: Marking the first day of National Park Week.
- June 19: Celebrating Juneteenth National Independence Day.
- August 4: Commemorating the Anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act.
- September 28: National Public Lands Day.
- November 11: Veterans Day.
These free admission days apply to all NPS sites that normally charge an entrance fee. It's important to note that while entrance fees are waived on these days, other costs such as camping, boat launches, transportation, or special tours are not covered by this waiver.
It's also worth mentioning that most national parks in the U.S. do not have entrance fees at all. Out of the over 400 national park sites, only around 100 charge an entrance fee, with costs ranging from $5 to $35. The funds collected are utilized within the National Park Service, with a significant portion staying in the park where they were collected, contributing to the enhancement of visitor experiences and park maintenance.
For those planning to visit popular parks like Arches National Park, it's crucial to be aware of timed entry requirements. For example, Arches will require a Timed Entry Ticket for visits between April 1 and October 31, 2024. These tickets need to be reserved in advance, with releases happening three months prior on a monthly basis. It's advisable to check the specific rules for each park on the NPS website or app before planning your visit.
Lastly, for frequent visitors or those planning to explore multiple parks, the $80 annual America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass offers unlimited access to over 2,000 federal recreation areas, including all national parks that usually charge an entrance fee. Additionally, there are free or discounted passes available for various groups including U.S. military members and their dependents, veterans, Gold Star families, fourth-grade students, disabled citizens, and senior citizens.
Rob Decker is a photographer and graphic artist who had the rare privilege of studying under Ansel Adams in Yosemite National Park when he was just 19 years old. Now, Rob is on a journey to explore and photograph all 63 of America’s National Parks. He’s creating WPA-style posters to help people celebrate their own national park adventures — as well as encourage others to get out and explore!
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