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National Park Service Announces 5 Fee-Free Days for 2023

Grand Canyon park hikers(Photo/Grand Canyon NPS)
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The National Park Service will have 5 entrance fee-free days in 2023. These ‘free days’ provide free admittance to all national parks for everyone.

The U.S. National Parks are some of the most beautiful, most expansive, and most protected places on Earth. But unless you have an annual or access pass (the annual America the Beautiful National Parks Pass is $80 for unlimited access), parks can be expensive to visit. Especially if you are keen to visit more than one.

Enter the concept of NPS fee-free days.

On these days of commemoration or celebration each year, the National Park Service is “committed to increasing access to national parks and promoting the advantages of outdoor recreation for public benefit and enjoyment,” it wrote. There tend to be 4-6 free days each year.

The free entrance dates for 2023 are:

“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.”

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, reported the NPS.

Fee-Free Days: What You Need to Know

NPS Share the Experience:Karla Rivera
Exploring a national park on a hike; (photo/NPS.gov, Karla Rivera)

Fun fact: Many national parks are always free to enter. Only about 100 of the 400+ national parks, areas, and monuments 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 to help fund park infrastructure, restoration, wildlife protection, and visitor programs.

And if you are planning a visit around one of the five fee-free days in 2023, just know you’ll want to get a jump-start on any NPS camping or park accommodations — they fill up fast.

Other federal land management agencies also offer their own fee-free days. For example, in 2023, the Bureau of Land Management is offering free entry at its sites on the following days:

  • Jan. 16: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • Feb. 20: Washington’s Birthday
  • June 19: Juneteenth National Independence Day
  • Aug. 4: Great American Outdoors Day
  • Sept. 30: National Public Lands Day
  • Nov. 11: Veterans Day
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