The key to affordable travel is finding the free things to do when you’re on vacation. Each year, the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation invite everyone to enjoy our national parks by offering fee-free days. For ten days during 2017 you are invited to celebrate all that America’s more than 400 national parks have to offer for FREE. Fee-free days make national parks accessible to more people.
Mark your calendar for these entrance fee–free dates in 2017:
- January 16: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
- February 20: Presidents’ Day
- April 15-16 and 22-23: Weekends of National Park Week
- August 25: National Park Service Birthday
- September 30: National Public Lands Day
- November 11-12: Veterans Day Weekend
National parks are America’s Best Idea, and there are more than 400 parks available to everyone, every day. The fee-free days provide a great opportunity to visit a new place or an old favorite, especially one of the 124 national parks that normally charge an entrance fee. The others are free all of the time.
However, national parks are a great deal even when they aren’t free. Entrance fees that range from $3 to $30. In addition, any fourth grade student can get a free annual pass through the Every Kid in a Park program, and active duty military and citizens with a permanent disability can also get free passes.
For more information about the variety of discounted passes available, please visit the America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass page.
The parks offer lots of free activities. Among them are:
The Junior Ranger Program
Always fun for kids, the free Junior Ranger programs aimed at children ages 5-12 are available in almost every national park. Just pick up a Junior Ranger booklet at the visitor center when you enter the park and the kids can earn a badge by completing the activities in the book.
Dress like a conquistador at Coronado National Memorial or visit a colonial encampment at Arkansas Post National Memorial or Morristown National Historical Park or a Civil War encampment at Appomattox Court House National Historical Park or Gettysburg National Military Park.
Take a Hike
There are 17,000 miles of trails in America’s national parks. Among the most spectacular: hiking to waterfalls at Haleakala National Park or Great Smoky Mountains National Park, seeking the best spots for bird watching at Padre Island National Seashore or Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, or enjoying the scenery at Congaree National Park or Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation
In 2016 the National Park Service turned 100 years old! Celebrate the start of its second century by visiting a park in 2017.
From diverse wildlife and iconic landscapes, to vibrant culture and rich history, the National Park System has something for everyone. Plan your visit and enjoy our country’s history and nature.
You might also like our post 5 Awesome Things to Do with Kids in Our National Parks.