This week the National Park Service announced the 2018 fee-free admission days. These dates are a historic tradition, allowing all Americans to access our protected spaces and visit a national park for free. Of the 417 units in the National Park Service just over 100 park units charge some entrance fee.
Visit a national park for free on these dates in 2018:
- January 15: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
- April 21: First day of National Park Week
- September 22: National Public Lands Day
- November 11: Veterans Day
Unsure about where to go?
Check out the links below for our own #parkchasing guides. We have information on the 22 National Parks and over 50 National Park units we’ve visited including:
- A-Z list of parks
- Park unit recommendations by activity, like hiking, camping and history
- Or a list of parks by the state you live in
Fewer Days to Visit A National Park for Free?
Visitors that have taken advantage of fee-free days in the past will notice the 2018 list is much shorter than previous years. In 2017 the National Park Service had 10 free-admission dates. In 2016 visitors had free access on 16 days for the NPS Centennial Celebration.
The dramatic decrease in free admission days comes at the same time that the National Park Service is considering major increases in entrance fees for many national parks including Zion, Yosemite, and Yellowstone.
While NPS officials claim the increases are necessary to address the backlog of projects and maintenance from a chronically underfunded budget at the Department of the Interior, others question if the fee increases will increase inequality in park visitation. Park activists argue decreasing the days Americans can visit a national park for free will likely only worsen the issue.
The National Park Service collected public comments mid-October through November 23, 2017. Any changes in fees would likely go into effect in 2018.