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Kick Off Camping: Free Entry at All National Parks on April 20

National Park Week kicks off with a free entry day, and extends to April 28 with events, themed days, and volunteer opportunities.

Arches,National,ParkA tourist in Arches National Park. Travel and tourism have led 2022 growth of the outdoor industry, a new report says; (photo/Shutterstock)
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National Park Week starts on Saturday, April 20, this year, and entrance fees to all National Parks will be waived. With more than 400 National Parks across all 50 states, there are plenty of opportunities to take advantage of that free pass. And that is just to kick things off. The week-long holiday extends to April 28. Every day is themed and will offer opportunities for engagement, education, and volunteering.

Annually, National Park Week is held around Earth Day — this year on Monday, April 22. It’s a celebration organized by the National Park Service (NPS) to celebrate our vast system of parks, their beauty, and the people who maintain them.

The scale of our park system is immense, from Yellowstone to Rocky Mountain, Everglades, Olympic, Acadia, and Gates of the Arctic National Park. Visit any of them for free on April 20 and get involved throughout National Park Week. There will be a lot to see, do, and learn.

National Park Week: Schedule of Events

How to survive backpacking in the desert backcountry of Zion National Park; (photo/David Young)
(Photo/David Young)

April 20 will be one of six fee-free National Parks days NPS offers throughout the year. The first day of National Park Week is always one of them (find the full list below). Despite this year landing on a date infamously associated with another holiday (read: 4/20), NPS has clear rules on cannabis use in National Parks. If you’re curious, see GearJunkie’s guide to Weed Laws on Public Land.

Sunday, April 21, will be volunteer day. NPS encourages anyone and everyone to sign up for an opportunity to support our parks with your spare time. You can search for local volunteer opportunities on this NPS web page.

Monday, April 22, is the main event: Earth Day. Lots of parks will host volunteer events, but NPS invites everyone to join them in celebration of Earthly stewardship.

Then Tuesday, April 23, will celebrate innovation, both in a historical context and speaking to current projects on the breaking edge of conservation and land management.

April 24 is “Workforce Wednesday” where NPS celebrates its employees, interns, fellows, volunteers, contractors, and partners and welcomes people to join its team. April 25 will be all about Youth Engagement and April 26 will recognize community connections.

The following weekend wraps up the celebration. Junior Ranger Day is on Saturday, April 27, and Arts in the Park is on Sunday, April 28.

More Free National Park Entry Days

A Ranger's Guide to camp and hike in Dinosaur National Monument; (photo/National Park Service)
(Photo/National Park Service)

Throughout the year NPS waives fees for park entry. It’s a gesture of acknowledgment for service, public figures, holidays, and anniversaries. It’s also a great way to encourage people to get outside and enjoy the spectacular resource that is our National Parks.

Here is the full list of free entry days for 2024:

  • 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
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