The National Park Service has announced three days this year when admission is free to all U.S. national parks: April 21, the first day of National Park Week; September 22 and November 11, Veterans Day. User fees for activities such as camping, boat launches, transportation or special tours are NOT waived. Entrance fees are normally charged at 118 of the 417 national parks, while 299 are always free.
“National parks connect all of us with our country’s amazing nature, culture and history,” says National Park Service Deputy Director Michael T. Reynolds. “The days that we designate as fee-free for national parks mark opportunities for the public to participate in service projects, enjoy ranger-led programs, or just spend time with family and friends exploring these diverse and special places.”
There is a possibility that entrance fees will go up during peak season this summer to address the parks’ $11 billion deferred maintenance backlog. Entrance fees for a seven-day vehicle pass could go from $30 to $70 in 17 of the country’s most popular parks, including the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and Yosemite.
“The infrastructure of our national parks is aging and in need of renovation and restoration,” says Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. “Targeted fee increases at some of our most-visited parks will help ensure that they are protected and preserved in perpetuity and that visitors enjoy a world-class experience that mirrors the amazing destinations they are visiting.”
The price of a lifetime Senior Pass (62 and older) increased in August 2017 from $10 to $80. However, you can buy an annual Senior Pass for $20 and after four years convert it to a lifetime pass. Also, the Every Kid in a Park program still gives all fourth-graders free admission into all the national parks for a year—along with everyone else in the car!
This month, celebrate Earth Day on April 22, Military & Veteran Recognition Day on April 28 and National Park Rx Day on April 29.