You Can Visit Every National Park for Free on These 6 Days in 2021

Woman enjoying view over Observation Point, Zion National Park, Utah

Editor's Note: Those who choose to travel are strongly encouraged to check local government restrictions, rules, and safety measures related to COVID-19 and take personal comfort levels and health conditions into consideration before departure.

If visiting one (or several) of the United States’ impressive national parks is on your travel bucket list this year, we have some good news. The National Park Service (NPS) is offering six days in 2021 when guests can enjoy free admission to national parks, monuments, and sites that typically charge entrance fees. NPS free days are the perfect time to get out and explore some of the country’s most stunning landscapes and important historical attractions without spending a dime. 

Only 108 of the 423 NPS sites and parks currently charge entrance fees, so there are hundreds of places you can visit for free year-round. However, entrance fees range up to $35 per vehicle for some of the country’s most popular destinations, including Grand Canyon, Zion, and Yellowstone national parks. Approximately 80% of the money generated by fees stays in that park for maintenance, habitat restoration, and more, while 20% goes toward parks that don’t collect entrance fees, according to the NPS website. 

These are the six entrance fee-free days in 2021. Keep these dates in mind to save some money during your next adventure in the great outdoors. 

2021 National Park Free Days

January 18: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

April 17: First Day of National Park Week

August 4: One-year Anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act

August 25: National Park Service Birthday

September 25: National Public Lands Day

November 11: Veterans Day

If you’re planning to visit several national parks this year, you might consider investing in an annual pass. With the America the Beautiful — The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands annual pass, you can access hundreds of federal recreation sites for $80 a year. Certain groups even qualify for free annual passes, including current U.S. military members and their dependents, U.S. fourth graders, and U.S. citizens or permanent residents with permanent disabilities. Plus, U.S. citizens or permanent residents ages 62 and up can get an $80 lifetime senior pass or $20 annual pass. 

Elizabeth Rhodes is an associate digital editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her adventures on Instagram @elizabetheverywhere. 

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