Want to save money seeing the most beautiful national parks in America?

All 63 national parks in the U.S. are free to visitors on these 5 dates in 2024, along with more than 360 national park sites.

Most national parks and national park sites normally charge an entry fee of as much as $35 for some parks. However, there are several days throughout the year when all national parks are free.

These free days coincide with various holidays and celebrations in the U.S. and they are a great time to visit a national park if you want to save money.

What Dates Are National Parks Free This Year?

Here’s a look at the 5 upcoming free dates for U.S. national parks throughout the rest of the year:

  • April 20, 2024: First day of National Park Week
  • June 19, 2024: Juneteenth National Independence Day
  • August 4, 2024: Anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act
  • September 28, 2024: National Public Lands Day
  • November 11, 2024: Veterans Day
Edith Creek in Mount Rainier National Park

National parks are also free on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which is observed on the third Monday of January each year, but it’s already passed for 2024.

The next free national park day will happen soon, with all parks offering free entry to visitors on Saturday, April 20, 2024, to celebrate the first day of National Park Week.

In addition to free entry on Saturday, there are all kinds of other events happening at national parks across the country throughout the week to celebrate National Park Week.

Turret arch through the North Window at Arches National Park

Do I Need A Reservation?

Although all national parks are free on the days listed above, you still may need a reservation in order to visit a certain national park.

Currently, there are 11 national parks in the U.S. requiring reservations in 2024.

Many of these are among the most popular national parks in the country. Some national parks requiring reservations to visit all or certain parts of the park include Zion National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Acadia National Park, and Yosemite National Park.

Woman in Yosemite National Park

National park reservations carry a small fee ($1 or $2) which you’ll need to pay even if you are visiting on a free entry day.

However, you can visit most of America’s 63 national parks and 360+ national park sites without a reservation.

What Are The Most Visited National Parks?

More than 300 million people visit U.S. national parks each year. These are the most visited national parks in the United States:

Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park (13 million visitors in 2023)
  • Grand Canyon National Park (4.7 million visitors in 2023)
  • Zion National Park (4.6 million visitors in 2023)
  • Yellowstone National Park (4.5 million visitors in 2023)
  • Rocky Mountain National Park (4.1 million visitors in 2023)

Although these national parks are popular for a reason, they actually might not be the best ones to visit on a free national parks day because they will be even more crowded than usual!

Girls looking at Excelsior Geyser in Yellowstone National Park

Underrated National Parks To Visit

Rather than visiting one of the most popular parks on a free entry day, check out one of the more underrated national parks in the U.S. for fewer crowds.

One of my personal favorites is North Cascades National Park.

Although it’s located just a two-hour drive north of Seattle, this is one of the least visited national parks in the U.S., which is crazy to me because it’s incredibly beautiful!

North Cascades National Park in Washington

Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota is another lesser-visited national park that is one of the best places in the U.S. for seeing the Northern Lights!

And in Texas, Big Bend National Park is one of the most underrated places to go.

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