UPDATED DECEMBER 2016
The U.S. National Parks are a bargain any day of the year, but there are several ways that you can save money on entrance fees.
Visit on a Fee-Free Day
Entrance fees to all U.S. National Parks will be waived on the following dates in 2017:
- January 16: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
- February 20: President’s Day
- April 15-16 and 22-23: National Park Week
- August 25: National Park Service Birthday
- September 30: National Public Lands Day
- November 11-12: Veterans Day
Visit a free or less expensive park
Some national park fees are less expensive than others. Popular parks such as Yellowstone, Grand Canyon and Zion charge $25 per vehicle for a 7-day pass. On the other hand, Everglades National Park in Florida charges $10 and Capitol Reef National Park in Utah costs only $5 per vehicle.
Only 124 of the 400+ U.S. national parks charge entrance fees. The most visited national park in the U.S., Great Smoky Mountains National Park, does not charge entrance fees anytime.
Consider an annual pass
Do you live near one or more national parks or are you planning to visit several parks in the same year? An annual pass costs $80. It’s a good deal if you are planning to visit four or more top tier parks, such as Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Zion or Bryce Canyon.
This pass will get you into more than 2,000 federal recreation sites, including national monuments, wildlife refuges, historic sites, forests and Bureau of Land Management sites. However, it will not waive tour fees at places like Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota.
Are you or a family member eligible for a special pass?
- U.S. Military – A free annual pass is available to members of the U.S. military and their dependents.
- Senior Pass – For a one-time cost of $10, U.S. citizens and permanent residents over the age of 62 can get a lifetime pass to the parks.
- Access Pass – This free lifetime pass is available to U.S. citizens and permanent residents with permanent disabilities.
- Volunteer pass – Anyone who donates 250 service hours to a participating federal agency is eligible for this pass.
For more information about these special passes, visit the National Park Service website.
Every Kid in a Park
Every Kid in a Park is an exciting program that allows every 4th Grade student in the U.S. (including home schooled children who are 10 years old) to get an annual pass for their family. The program starts each September. Find out more at www.everykidinapark.gov.
National Parks can be found throughout the United States and they make a great budget-friendly vacation. Most national parks offer inexpensive camping and picnicking. Many are located near towns that offer comfortable and affordable lodging and dining.