You Can Visit Any US National Park For Free On These Days In 2024

Each year, outdoor enthusiasts eagerly await an exciting announcement from the National Park Service (NPS) — the dates on which travelers can visit America's beautiful national parks for free. The free national park days offer the perfect opportunity to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors without breaking the bank. Whether you have a favorite national park nearby that you visit repeatedly or you're planning a grand adventure to a brand new destination, visiting on fee-free days is a great way to save room in your 2024 travel budget.

In 2024, there will be six days in which you can visit the national parks for free. Travelers won't have to wait long after the New Year, as the first day for free admission is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which falls on Monday, January 15. The next fee-free day will occur on the first day of National Park Week, Saturday, April 20. Other dates you can visit national parks for free throughout the year include Juneteenth National Independence Day on Wednesday, June 19, The Anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act on Sunday, August 4, National Public Lands Day on Saturday, September 28, and Veterans Day, which falls on Monday, November 11.

Planning your visit

United States National Parks are among the best ways to experience the gorgeous landscapes and ecosystems across this sprawling country. Since Yellowstone was dubbed the first U.S. National Park in 1872, these iconic landmarks have inspired countless Americans' love for the great outdoors. The free days ensure that they remain accessible to everyone.

You'll be able to visit any of the locations within the National Park System, which includes an impressive 428 locations scattered across the nation. In addition to the designated 63 national parks, you can explore National Historic Sites, National Memorials, National Monuments, National Reserves, National Seashores, and more.

The National Parks System covers more than 85 million acres with locations in all 50 U.S. states and a few U.S. territories. The fees to visit national parks vary, and by visiting on the free days, you can save up to $20 per person or $35 per vehicle. Per-person entrance fees start at around $5 and go up from there, depending on the park. It's important to remember that the free days only include park entrance fees, so expect additional fees for camping and make sure to make your campsite reservations well in advance. Remember that the national park locations will likely be busy on the free days, so plan to arrive early to beat the crowds.

More budget-friendly ways to visit United States National Parks

Perhaps the 2024 fee-free national park days don't fit your busy schedule, or maybe you're simply looking to avoid the potential hordes of other tourists — either way, there are plenty of different budget-friendly ways to explore your dream NPS destinations. Many U.S. National Parks are free to visit year-round, as there are only about 109 National Park Sites that charge an entrance fee. A few of the free parks include the Great Basin National Park in Nevada, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee, and the Channel Islands National Park in California.

Another great way to save money when you visit national parks is to purchase an unlimited annual pass. The America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass is an excellent bang for your buck if you plan multiple trips in 2024. For $80, you'll have limitless access to 2,000 Federal Recreation Areas, including the national park sites. Each pass will cover the admission costs for the pass holder and all people in their car or up to three other guests over 16. Any minors 15 or under traveling with the pass holder can also enter for free.