Fee Free Days at National Parks

Each year the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service choose specific days to waive their entrance fees. In addition, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Reclamation do the same.

Visitors to the more than 2000 national parks, national forests, national refuges and other federally owned public lands can take advantage of the free days. There are a number of days throughout the year that are included in the free days. For example, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is one of the days included for 2013.

The National Park Service Director, Jonathan B. Jarvis stresses how important the parks are for “both our mental and physical health”. The parks also provide jobs. The demand of the parks for recreation created over 440,000 jobs. It is hoped that the free days will encourage both first time and repeat visitors to get out and enjoy the beautiful scenery and the recreational opportunities provided by the parks.

Visitors will still be required to pay typical user fees for amenities like camping and boat launches, but entrance to the participating parks will be free. Active duty military members qualify for a free annual pass. There are also discounts offered for seniors and those with disabilities.

The agencies do not offer all of the same days as ‘free days’, but each offer a number of days. Check with the specific facilities to see which days are included. It’s a great opportunity to take the family out to explore and enjoy the outdoors.

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