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National Park Week is coming – and that means free admission for visitors




National Park Week is coming – and that means free admission for visitors

Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park on August 8, 2020.

Darwin fan | Moment | Getty Images

Visitors to national parks will get free admission on April 20, as the federal government waives entrance fees to commemorate the beginning of the national parks. National Park Week.

National Park Week lasts nine days, from April 20 to April 28.

The National Park Service oversees 429 park places in the U.S. Of these, 63 are national parks. The rest include national monuments, national battlefields, and national historic sites.

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Most always offer free admission. However, 108 parks don’t – including some of the most popular, such as Grand Canyon, Zion, Rocky Mountain, Acadia, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Joshua Tree and Glacier national parks.

Their entrance fees — which typically range from $20 to $35 per vehicle — will be waived on April 20.

Rate structures may vary: some parks may charge per person rather than per vehicle, and there may also be different rates for motorcycles, for example.

Joshua Tree National Park, California

Casey Kiernan | Moment | Getty Images

April 20 is one of them Six days in 2024, when entry to all national parks will be free. They contain:

  • January 15: Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday
  • April 20: First day of National Park Week
  • June 19: Juneteenth
  • August 4: Anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act
  • September 28: National Public Lands Day
  • November 11: Veterans Day

Please take additional admission requirements into account

Yosemite National Park, California, on April 27, 2023.

Mario Tama | Getty Images News | Getty Images

However, there is a caveat. Although all parks are free on these days, some parks still require an additional reservation for entry. These reservations usually incur a surcharge.

For example, Yosemite National Park in California requires reservations to drive into or through the park during rush hours – between 5 a.m. and 4 p.m. local time – on many days this year. This includes, for example, holidays and weekends between April 13 and June 30, and every day from July 1 to August 16.

Yosemite visitors will not be allowed entry without registering reserve online in advance. They cost $2, are non-refundable and are valid for three consecutive days.

National parks are forced to deal with overcrowding

Additionally, it may make financial sense for visitors to purchase an annual pass to the national park even if they plan to visit during a free admission day, depending on the itinerary, Mary Cropper, travel consultant and senior U.S. specialist at Audley Travel, previously on CNBC.

The $80 annual pass grants unrestricted access to national parks and other federal recreation areas. Some groups can get a reduced price or even a free annual pass.

For example, a pass would probably be a better option if you plan to visit multiple parks in one trip, Cropper said.

“You want to do the math,” she said.