If you're planning to visit some of the U.S. National Parks this year, make a calendar note for the five days when even those with fees will have free admission.
It's an annual tradition, keyed to five public events, but the days vary because some have fixed dates while others are always on Monday. The dates for this year are
- Monday, Jan. 17 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
- Saturday, April 16 – First day of National Park Week
- Thursday, Aug. 4 – Anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act
- Saturday, Sept. 24 – National Public Lands Day
- Friday, Nov. 11 – Veterans Day
Many parks are free all year round, but many charge entrance fees, either per person, or per vehicle. The free admission does not cover special fees such as camping fees or special event fees. In a few parks, operated by the National Park Service with partners, there may even be a parking fee.
Senior Citizens and Veterans are eligible for special annual or lifetime passes at highly-discounted rates.
Image: Sandstone formations in Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah (PHeymont/Travelgumbo)