Get Out There

Mark Your Calander for Free National Parks Days

Most national parks are free every day. But, the ones that charge an entrance fee can be pricey. They can cost up to $20 per person if you walk in or $35 per car if you drive. Depending on the size of your party, a day out can quickly become quite expensive.

We recommend sticking to free parks if you are going with a large group. However, a few days a year, the National Park Service marks an occasion, and all the parks are free. This can be a double-edged sword. It’s wonderful to see the parks for free. But the parks can be packed because everyone wants to see them while they are free.

One of our tips for taking advantage of the free days is to go to a popular park that is always free. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is consistently the most visited national park. Places like Cades Cove can be crowded. It’s always free to visit. If you go when other parks are also free, popular spots may be quieter than usual.  

There will be six free days in 2024. The first is in January, so you should start planning now. Mark your calendar for:

January 15: Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
April 20: First day of National Park Week
June 19: Juneteenth National Independence Day
August 4: Anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act
September 28: National Public Lands Day
November 11: Veterans Day

Some of the days are times of celebration, others are times for reflection. But they are all a great time to get outdoors and into nature. It’s important to remember that there are still fees for campsites, activities like boating and other add-ons.

If you would like to visit the pay-to-visit parks throughout the year for less money, you could get an America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass. They cost $80 and allow unlimited entrance into more than 2,000 federal sites, including all the national parks. There are also free or steeply discounted passes available to people over 62, members of the military, veterans and their families, people with a permanent disability and fourth graders.

We’re not big believers in New Year’s resolutions. Very few of us follow through on them, and they can leave you feeling like you failed rather than that you took steps to achieve something. However, if you want to make a resolution, we think a great option is resolving to get out into nature more often. You can visit national or state parks or lands or just visit local parks in your neighborhood. Green spaces are so beneficial to health and well-being!  

Banner image: Yosemite Valley by Nathan Dumlao via Unsplash

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