2024 Calendar of Fee Free National Park Days

Stunning view of Zion National Park

U.S. National Parks are incredible. A visit to a national park is an opportunity to enjoy nature, protect the planet, and celebrate time with friends, family, and fellow park-goers.

And national parks are even better when they’re free! 

Every year the National Park Service (NPS) announces several “fee-free days” to ensure that the parks remain accessible to everyone.

“Whether on an entrance fee-free day or throughout the year, we encourage everyone to discover their national parks and the benefits that come from spending time outdoors,” said NPS Director Chuck Sams in a statement

“National parks are for everyone and we are committed to increasing access and providing opportunities for all to experience the sense of wonder, awe, and refreshment that comes with a visit to these treasured landscapes and sites.”

There are more than 420 national parks in the United States and 110 have admission fees. This means that during 365 days, more than 310 parks are completely free to visit.

In this article we’re highlighting this year’s fee-free days, alternative ways to get free or discounted park passes, and ways you can make a positive difference for national parks all year round —

National park visitor stands at Arches National Park
Arches National Park / Photo courtesy of Pacific Northwest travel bloggers, The Mandagies

2024 Free National Park Days

The NPS has made six days completely free to visit in 2024:

Date Holiday
Monday, January 15, 2024 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Saturday, April 20, 2024 First Day of National Park Week
Wednesday, June 19, 2024 Juneteenth
Saturday, August 3, 2024 Anniv. of Great American Outdoors Act
Saturday, September 28, 2024 National Public Lands Day
Monday, November 11, 2024 Veterans Day

You can also keep an eye out for other fee-free days offered by other federal and state land management agencies including the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Bureau of Reclamation. (We recommend searching “Fee Free” on their respective websites when planning your next trip — or following their Facebook pages to stay on top of fee-free days.)

2025 Free National Park Days

While the NPS hasn’t officially announced 2025’s fee-free days — we can make our best guess based on past years. If you’re a big fan of planning ahead (which is totally necessary for some national parks!) — here are 2025’s fee-free days:

Date Holiday
Monday, January 20, 2025 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Saturday, April 19, 2025 First Day of National Park Week
Thursday, June 19, 2025 Juneteenth
Saturday, August 2, 2025 Anniv. of Great American Outdoors Act
Saturday, September 27, 2025 National Public Lands Day
Tuesday, November 11, 2025 Veterans Day

View of Grand Teton National Park at sunset
Grand Teton National Park / Photo courtesy of Pacific Northwest travel bloggers, The Mandagies

How else can I get free or discounted access to national parks?

Free Access

Fourth Graders and Their Families

4th Grade Every Kid Outdoors America the Beautiful National Parks Pass

Thanks to the Every Kid in a Park program and the Every Kid Outdoors Act, fourth graders in the United States get free entry into National Parks. We wish we would have had this when we were kids!

The pass is valid from September 1 through August 31 of a student’s fourth-grade year. 

According to the Every Kid in a Park program, when a fourth grader travels with their family and friends in one vehicle, they get everyone in for free (at participating sites that charge per vehicle). And if visiting a site that charges per person, the fourth grader and up to three accompanying adults will be admitted for free. 

So, it’s about time you befriended a cool kid — they come with perks!

You can learn more about the fourth grade pass at everykidoutdoors.gov.

People with Disabilities

Disability Access America the Beautiful National Parks Pass

The National Park Service 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.” 

You can learn more about how to qualify and access the National Park Access Pass on the National Park Service’s Accessibility page.

U.S. Military Members and Their Dependents

Military America the Beautiful National Parks Pass

Current U.S. military members and their dependents, Reserve, and National Guard members can get an annual America the Beautiful - National Parks & Federal Recreational Lands Military Pass for free

U.S. Military Veterans

A car driving at Redwood National Park
Redwood National Park / Photo courtesy of Pacific Northwest travel bloggers, The Mandagies

Veterans get free access to national parks for life! All you need is to present one of the following forms of identification:

  • Department of Defense Identification Card (non-expired CAC Card)
  • Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC)
  • Veteran ID Card
  • Veterans designation on a state-issued U.S. driver’s license or identification card

There are also new lifetime passes available to veterans — which is especially helpful for national parks where there isn’t a person to present your identification to. 

Learn more about these benefits and read FAQs from the National Park Service.

Gold Star Families

Gold Star Family Free National Parks Access Voucher

Gold Star families receive similar National Parks benefits to veterans. According to the National Park Service, Gold Star family members must “download and print a voucher to present to park staff, exchange for an Interagency Military Pass, or place on the vehicle dashboard at unstaffed sites.” 

Explore the list of federal locations that issue passes or access your voucher online on the National Park Service military FAQ page.

Eligible National Park Service Volunteers

Volunteer America the Beautiful National Parks Pass

The Volunteers-in-Parks (VIP) program provides opportunities for parks-lovers of all ages to volunteer in national parks. You can volunteer as much or as little as you want, but if you complete at least 250 volunteer hours —with a federal agency participating in the Interagency Pass Program (IPP) — within one year, you will receive a one-year Volunteer Pass. 

This will give you access to more than 2,000 federal recreation areas participating in the IPP — including every national park!

Discounted Access

U.S. Citizens Over 62 Years Old

Senior Annual America the Beautiful National Parks Pass

On your 62nd birthday (or anytime after), you can (and should!) buy an $80 lifetime pass. This pass will get you into any U.S. national park for free for the rest of your life. You can also purchase a significantly discounted $20 annual pass.

Anyone & Everyone

Annual America the Beautiful National Parks Pass

If you’re going to visit multiple parks in a year, the annual America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass is only $80. It’ll pay for itself in just a few visits! 

This is especially helpful for trips to locations — like Arizona or Utah — where you might be visiting multiple national parks in a day or week.

This pass is available to anyone — and according to the National Parks Service, those traveling with passholders can usually enter parks for free.

We recommend buying the pass from (our wonderful affiliate partner!) REI, because they’ll also donate  10% of the pass’s proceeds to the National Forest Foundation, the National Park Foundation, and the U.S. Endowment for Forestry & Communities.

The pass is good for one year from the month you purchase — so there’s no need to wait until the beginning of the year to buy.

Landscape view of Glacier National Park, with flowers budding in the foreground
Glacier National Park / Photo courtesy of Pacific Northwest travel bloggers, The Mandagies

How much do national park admission fees cost?

Admission fees for national parks range from $5 to $35. For example, Zion National Park currently charges $20 per person — and Pictured Rocks National Park charges $5 per person.

Many parks allow you to pay per vehicle — which brings the price down significantly if you’re visiting with your whole family or a group of friends.

According to the National Park Service, all of the money from admission fees remain with the service — and 80%-100% of the money stays in the park where it was collected.

And again, the annual America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass is only $79.99.

View from within Arches National Park
Arches National Park / Photo courtesy of Pacific Northwest travel bloggers, The Mandagies

How else can I support U.S. National Parks?

Practice Responsible Recreation 

Ruby Ridges Beach at the Coast in Washington State
Ruby Ridges Beach on Washington Coast / Photo courtesy of Pacific Northwest travel bloggers, The Mandagies

When you visit national parks (or anywhere, really), you have the opportunity to leave the place better than you found it.

Pick up your trash, pick up someone else’s trash, stay on marked trails, follow park rules, be thoughtful about fire, and thank a park ranger. It’s what Leslie Knope would want you to do.

Buy Products That Support National Parks

If you’re going to shop anyway, you might as well choose to buy products that make a positive difference. There are a number of incredible brands that donate a portion of their profits to support national parks.

Explore our curated recommendations of gifts for national park lovers

Call Your Representatives

Our national parks are protected because of intentional legislative choices throughout American history. By calling your elected officials, you can help ensure that national parks have the funding they need, are cared for after disasters, and are never auctioned off to the highest bidder.

Simply let your representatives know that you value national parks and want them to work to protect them. This becomes especially relevant when national parks are in the news. 

Become a Volunteer

Person standing in the middle of the rainforest at Olympic National Park
Olympic National Park / Photo courtesy of Pacific Northwest travel bloggers, The Mandagies

Giving a little bit of your time and energy to a national park near you can make a big difference — and there’s a diverse range of opportunities available.

“Some positions are specialized and require particular talents, knowledge, skills, and abilities, as well as a background check,” reads the NPS website. “Other positions only require a desire and willingness to volunteer.”

Unique volunteer opportunities include:

Some volunteer opportunities come with small stipends, free housing, or other perks.

Regardless of the volunteer position you take on, it’s a wonderful opportunity to spend quality time in the parks, make a meaningful difference, and, as mentioned earlier, a great way to get a free national parks pass.

You can explore volunteer opportunities at volunteer.gov.

Become a Park Ranger

View of Zion National Park from Angels Landing
Zion National Park / Photo courtesy of Pacific Northwest travel bloggers, The Mandagies

People who work in recreation-centric careers, including park rangers, consistently rank their jobs among the most meaningful jobs in the United States. And every day you get to play a role in protecting and celebrating nature.

While jobs in the National Park Service are highly competitive, there are plenty of ways to get your foot in the door — including specific career opportunities for students and for adults over 55 years old. 

If the life of a park ranger aligns with your lifestyle, budget, and values, it’s an absolutely dreamy career choice.

Explore employment opportunities on the NPS website.

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