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U.S. National Parks set free days


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)

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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Veterans and families who have lost family members in service will now have permanent free access to National Parks under a provision included in this year's Defense budget bill, signed days ago. The new provision makes permanent a temporary provision implemented in 2020.

The bill also makes permanent the provision for free annual passes for active-duty military.

System-wide passes for those 62 and older continue to be available at $20 per year or $80 lifetiime.

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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