National Park Free Entrance Days 2022

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Happy New Year everyone. Let’s start the year off with a few dates you should mark in your calendar. You have five days in 2022 on which you can enter U.S. National Parks for free. The National Park Service will waive the entrance fee. This does not cover amenity or user fees for activities such as camping, boat launches, transportation, or special tours.

However, these days are some of the busiest days at National Parks. It is probably better to avoid National Parks during these days if you can. If you decide to go, get up early to be one of the first at the entrance gate. Entry lines can get very long on free days and weekends. 

Entrance to Zion National Park

Free Entrance Days to National Parks

  • Monday, January 17 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • Saturday, April 16 – First Day of National Park Week
  • Thursday, August 4 – Anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act
  • Saturday, September 24 – National Public Lands Day
  • Friday, November 11 – Veterans Day

You can find all the participating parks of the free entrance days on the National Park website.

Plan your Visit

If you visit during peak time which is between Memorial Day and Labor Day of each year, you should plan ahead. Make reservations ahead of time if you plan to camp or use other special activities which might sell out. This is especially important if you visit Alcatraz.

A great help would be the official National Park App. To my surprise the app is amazing.

National Park App

National Park Annual Pass

I would encourage everyone to get an annual pass and enjoy the beauty of these parks for a full year of the day of purchase. That way you can explore at your own pace. Annual passes cost $80. If you visit some of the more popular parks, as few as two visits can already recoup your investment in this pass.  The entrance fees are used to enhance the visitor experience. This includes repair and maintenance of existing facilities as well as constructing additional ones. 80% of the fees you paid stay in the park in which you paid them. For a list of what fees are used for, check out the NPS website.

In some cases you can get the National Park Annual Pass for free. Check my guide on what it takes to get the pass for free.

National Park Passes

Either way, National Parks are a great way to explore the country and they should be on every traveler’s bucket list.

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