The entrance fee for most US National Parks is between $25 to $30 per vehicle — but if you don’t want to pay that, you’ve got options. Here’s the lowdown on how to get into a National Park for free.
Are National Parks open during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Yes. Search by state on the NPS website to learn about restrictions that might affect your visit, such as reduced daily hours and limited campground space. Face masks are required on all federal lands, including national parks.
How can I get free admission to National Parks?
Skip the entrance fee by visiting a National Park on a free day. There are five free days each year, including:
The Every Kid Outdoors program offers free admission for fourth-grade students and their families to parks and historic landmarks. Sites are in nearly every state and span land and sea — the list includes the Florida Keys, The Gateway Arch in St. Louis and Frederick Douglass National Historic Site in Washington, DC. The program aims to allow children to discover natural wildlife and learn about our nation’s history.
Which states have National Parks?
National Parks featuring sights like geysers, giant redwoods and plenty of wildlife are in 30 states and two US territories. Those are:
No. Even on free days, you’ll need to pay to go car camping, which costs between $15 to $30 at National Parks. That said, camping on National Forest land, which is often close to National Parks, is always free — though you won’t have perks like running water or electricity.
The same goes for RV camping. While you can save about $35, the average cost of entry, by visiting a National Park on a free day, you’ll still need to budget the cost of staying overnight.
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Taking advantage of free entry to National Parks can be a huge perk for budget-conscious travelers. But whether or not you have to pay an entry fee, visiting National Parks is bound to be an enriching part of any US travel adventure.
Cheryl Wagemann is a beauty and style blogger with several journalism awards from her time as a Gannett reporter. When she's not swatching new makeup shades or googling grammar rules, she can be found hiking or heading to the beach.
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