Free Days at National Parks in 2022

RV next to water with mountain backdrop

National Park Service (NPS) just announced its free entrance days for 2022. For five days this year, the NPS will waive entrance fees for America’s 423 national park sites. So, outdoor enthusiasts, mark your calendars and plan your adventures around the following National Park Fee-Free Days.

  • 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

According to an NPS release, the fee waiver is designed to encourage more people to discover and experience the beauty of America’s national parks. If a trip to Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Rocky Mountain, or any other national park has been on your bucket list for a while, it’s time to hit the road and explore one of these national treasures.

There is at least one NPS site in each state, so there are plenty of places to visit in your backyard and across the country so you can refresh body, mind and spirit. The sites range from wide-open parklands, some national seashores, historic sites, and even battlefields managed by the NPS.

While you won’t pay any entrance fee on any of these five days, keep in mind the waiver doesn’t cover the cost of activities and amenities such as camping, boat launches, transportation, or special tours.

Park Admission Fees

Out of the 423 National Park Service sites, around 110 charge an entrance fee that ranges from $5 to $35. The NPS says that In 2020, 327 million people visited national parks, and more than $170 million was collected in park entrance fees. The funds are used to directly support the visitor experience by providing programs and services, habitat restoration, and building maintenance and repair.

Impact On Economy

National parks are also great for local economies. In 2020, national park visitors spent over $14 billion in local communities. This supported 234,000 jobs around the country and had a $28.6 billion contribution to the US economy.

Save More With Free or Discounted National Park Passes

For those who would love to visit national parks more regularly, there’re other inexpensive options.

Buy the annual America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass at just $80, and it will get you into more than 2,000 Federally operated recreation sites all across the US. Guests accompanying the cardholder will also get admitted for free.

There are also several free or heavily-discounted passes available for citizens 62 years and older, current military members, veterans, Gold Star Families, disabled citizens, and fourth-grade students.