On Saturday, November 11th, all U.S. national parks — including Yellowstone, Zion, Yosemite, and 400 more! — will offer free admission to everyone.
At the start of 2023, the National Park Service introduced “fee-free dates” where all national park sites waive entrance fees to the public on select holidays. This Saturday — Veteran’s Day — marks the last fee-free date of the year.
Those national park admission fees go towards habitat preservation, park expansion, and recreational opportunities for visitors.
According to the NPS, 80% of fees go directly to the park where it was collected and the remaining 20% are dispersed to parks that are free to visit year-round.
When announcing the launch of fee-free dates last December, NPS Director Chuck Sams said that the campaign will make parks more accessible to people across the U.S.
“National parks are really amazing places and we want everyone to experience them,” said 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.”
This isn’t the first time that the NPS has offered free admission to the public.
Thanks to bipartisan Public Lands legislation passed in 2019, parents can also take advantage of the Every Kid Outdoors Act, which allows fourth-graders to get free entry into national parks from September 1 through August 31, corresponding with the standard school year.
Even better? That free entry extends to everyone traveling with that child in the same vehicle, so family and friends can also get in for free.
In addition to military veterans, current U.S. military members and their dependents, Reserve, and National Guard members can get a free America the Beautiful - National Parks & Federal Recreational Lands Military Pass.
The National Park Service also offers a free lifetime Access Pass to any U.S. citizen or permanent resident who “has been medically determined to have a permanent disability… that severely limits one or more major life activities.”
While the passes themselves are free, there is a shipping and processing cost to get a pass online or through the mail. To learn how to qualify for and access the National Parks & Federal Recreational Lands Access Pass, you can visit the National Park Service Accessibility page.
To the general public, a variety of discounted annual memberships and passes are available for National parks across the country.
In 2024, fee-free National park days are projected to remain the same. The first free day of the year is expected to be Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, January 15, 2024.
Header image courtesy of NPS/Jacob W. Frank (PDM 1.0)