The National Park Service will have five days in 2023 during which admittance to all national parks will be free for everyone. These coincide with national days of commemoration or celebration, and they are intended to help the National Park Service increase access to national parks and promote the advantages of outdoor recreation for public benefit and enjoyment.
The free entrance dates for 2023 are:
- January 16: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
- April 22: First Day of National Park Week
- August 4: Great American Outdoors Day
- September 23: National Public Lands Day
- November 11: Veterans Day
Most national parks are always free to enter; only about 100 national parks have an entrance fee. For parks with an entrance fee, the cost ranges from $5 to $35 and the money remains in the National Park Service, with 80 percent to 100 percent staying in the park where collected. The funds are used to enhance the visitor experience by providing programs and services, habitat restoration, and infrastructure maintenance and repair.
The fee waiver for the fee-free days applies only to National Park Service entrance fees and does not cover amenity or user fees for camping, boat launches, transportation, special tours, or other activities.
“National parks are really amazing places and we want everyone to experience them,” said National Park Service Director Chuck Sams. “The entrance fee-free days encourage people to discover the beauty, history and inspiration awaiting them in more than 400 national parks throughout the country.”
Detailed information about what there is to see and do at each park is available on NPS.gov or the NPS app. It is important for people to know before they go what is open and available, especially if interested in overnight accommodations.
In 2021, 297 million people visited national parks and spent $20.5 billion in local communities. This supported 322,600 jobs across the country and had a $42.5 billion benefit to the U.S. economy.
The annual $80 America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass allows unlimited access to more than 2,000 federal recreation areas, including all national parks, for the passholder and companions accompanying them. There are also free or discounted passes available for currently serving members of the U.S. military and their dependents, military veterans, Gold Star Families, fourth grade students, disabled citizens, and senior citizens.
Other federal land management agencies offering their own fee-free days in 2023 are the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Forest Service, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.