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The National Park Service will have five entrance fee-free days in 2022. The free admission days are designed to encourage discovery and visitation of the country’s variety of national parks. With at least one in every state, national parks are accessible places to visit to refresh body, mind and spirit.
The free entrance dates for 2022 are:
- Monday, January 17 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
- Saturday, April 16 – First Day of National Park Week
- Thursday, August 4 – Anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act
- Saturday, September 24 – National Public Lands Day
- Friday, November 11 – Veterans Day
“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 National Park Service Director Chuck Sams. “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.”
National parks have something for everyone. Recreational experiences can range from a relaxing picnic to a thrilling white-water adventure and everything in between, including walking, camping, fishing, stargazing, swimming and paddling. Demonstrations and programs at cultural sites connect us with traditions from the past. Notable people and their contributions to society are remembered at historical sites. Chances to view wildlife in their natural habitats and see geological wonders provide lasting memories.
Visitors are encouraged to begin their trip to a national park with a stop at NPS.gov or the NPS app to help plan and prepare. Online you can find tips to help you Plan Like a Park Ranger and Recreate Responsibly. It is important to know before you go what is open and available, especially if you are interested in staying overnight. There are maps, updated conditions and suggested activities to help you decide where to go and what to do. Regardless of activity, visitors should follow Leave No Trace principles. National parks belong to all of us and everyone needs to do their part to help preserve and protect them now and into the future.
The entrance fee waiver for the fee-free days applies only to National Park Service entrance fees and does not cover amenity or user fees for activities such as camping, boat launches, transportation or special tours.
Most national parks do not have entrance fees at all. Out of more than 400 national parks, approximately 110 have admission fees that range from $5 to $35. All of the money provided by entrance fees remain in the National Park Service and 80-100% stays in the park where collected. The funds are used to directly support the visitor experience by providing programs and services, habitat restoration and building maintenance and repair. In 2020, $170 million was collected in entrance fees. Entrance fees, along with other funding sources such as the Great American Outdoors Act, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, Federal Transportation Program and Cyclic Maintenance program, are part of a concerted effort to address the extensive maintenance backlog in national parks.
In 2020, 237 million people visited national parks and spent $14.5 billion in local communities. This supported 234,000 jobs across the country and had a $28.6 billion impact on the U.S. economy.
Free annual passes to more than 2,000 federal recreation areas, including all national parks, are available for members of the U.S. Military and their dependents, U.S. Military veterans, Gold Star Families, fourth grade students, and eligible NPS volunteers. U.S. Citizens with a permanent disability can obtain a free lifetime pass. U.S. Citizens 62 years and older can purchase an $80 lifetime pass or a $20 annual pass. And the annual $80 America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass is a great option for those who visit multiple parks each year. Those traveling with passholders can usually also enter parks for free.
Other federal land management agencies offering their own fee-free days in 2022 are the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.