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National Park Service Announces 5 Fee-Free Days for 2024

Grand Canyon park hikersREI will open a new 'Signature Camp' at the Grand Canyon in 2025; (photo/Grand Canyon NPS)
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The U.S. National Parks are some of the most beautiful, expansive, and protected places on Earth. But unless you have an annual or access pass (the annual America the Beautiful National Parks Pass is $80 for unlimited access), parks can be expensive to visit. Especially if you are keen to visit more than one.

Enter the concept of NPS fee-free days.

On these days of commemoration or celebration each year, the National Park Service is “committed to increasing access to national parks and promoting the advantages of outdoor recreation for public benefit and enjoyment,” it wrote.

Historically there are between four and six fee-free days each year. In 2023, there were five. For 2024, NPS has added a sixth fee-free day to its list: Juneteenth (June 19).

The free entrance dates for 2024 are:

“National parks are really amazing places and we want everyone to experience them,” said National Park Service Director Chuck  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.”

In 2022 alone, there were 312 million recreation visits to national parks — an increase of 5% over 2022’s visitation numbers. That generated $23.9 billion and supported 378,400 jobs across the country, reported the NPS.

Fee-Free Days at National Parks: What You Need to Know

Exploring a NPS National parks on a beautiful hike; (Photo/Karla Rivera, NPS.gov)
Exploring a national park on a beautiful hike; (photo/Karla Rivera, NPS.gov)

Fun fact: Many national parks are always free to enter. Only about 100 of the 400+ national parks, areas, and monuments have an entrance fee. For those that do, the cost ranges from $5 to $35. But that money all remains in the National Park Service to help fund park infrastructure, restoration, wildlife protection, and visitor programs.

And if you are planning a visit around one of the five fee-free days in 2024, just know you’ll want to get a jump-start on any NPS camping or park accommodations — they fill up fast. Most NPS campsites have web pages that allow you to make reservations in advance. If you want to get the best spot, be the early bird and book it before the 2024 camping season is underway.

Other federal land management agencies also offer their own fee-free days. For example, the Bureau of Land Management typically offers fee-free entry on similar national holidays like MLK Day, George Washington’s Birthday, and Juneteenth. However, they have yet to announce the fee-free days for 2024 (we will update this article when they do).

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