Every year, visitors to national parks across the United States are treated to free admission on April 20 as the federal government waives entrance fees to celebrate the start of National Park Week. This special week runs for nine days, from April 20 to April 28, allowing people to explore the beauty and wonder of these natural treasures without any cost.

The National Park Service oversees a total of 429 park sites in the U.S., including 63 national parks. The remaining sites include national monuments, national battlefields, national historic sites, and more. While most of these sites offer free entrance all the time, there are 108 parks that do not, including some of the most popular ones like Grand Canyon, Zion, Rocky Mountain, Acadia, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Joshua Tree, and Glacier national parks.

Fee Waiver on Special Days

On April 20, entrance fees to the national parks that typically range from $20 to $35 per vehicle will be waived. It is one of the six designated days in 2024 when access is free to all national parks, with others including Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, Juneteenth, the anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act, National Public Lands Day, and Veterans Day. However, some parks may still require an additional reservation for entry, which could come with an extra fee.

For example, Yosemite National Park in California requires reservations during peak hours on many days throughout the year. Visitors must make online reservations ahead of time, pay a $2 nonrefundable fee, and the reservation is valid for three consecutive days. This additional step is crucial for ensuring a smooth and enjoyable visit to the park, especially during busy times.

While entrance to national parks is free on certain days, it may still be beneficial for visitors to purchase an annual national park pass. Priced at $80, the annual pass grants unlimited access to national parks and other federal recreation areas. Travel advisors recommend considering an annual pass, especially for those planning to visit multiple parks in one trip or throughout the year, as it can offer considerable savings in the long run.

Exploring America’s national parks is a rewarding and unforgettable experience for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. With free admission days, like April 20 during National Park Week, visitors have the opportunity to discover the diverse landscapes and rich history preserved within these treasured locations. Whether you’re planning a day trip or a longer adventure, taking advantage of these special opportunities to access national parks can create memories that will last a lifetime.


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