Panoramic view from Bryce Canyon National Park, which has a free national park day a few times in 20...

Take Advantage Of These Free National Park Days To Explore The Great Outdoors

See a little bit of America, the beautiful, admission-free.

by Andrea Hannah
Originally Published: 

If you’ve always wanted to explore some of America’s most iconic landscapes, now’s your chance. Throughout 2022, the National Park Service is offering designated fee-free days where admission to popular parks like Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, and Denali is waived. You’ll want to jot down these free National Park Days for 2022 so you known when you’ll be able to explore the great outdoors without paying a single cent.

With over 400 national parks across the country, chances are there may be one or more close by that you’ve never explored. There’s usually a fee to enter and park, but five special days throughout the year, every single park is open for free admission. That means you can roll right past the park ranger’s hut and out into the wild unknown for as long as you like on those days.

Every park has its own natural beauty to witness, along with many accessible hiking trails that are totally free. That said, many parks also house campsites, boat launches, and other amenities. To use these features, you may still have to pay a small fee. But if you’re saving some cash on the entrance fee, you may want to splurge a little on some of the extra amenities, or even book a tour guide to show you around your favorite national park. Just remember to follow the most up-to-date travel guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and mask up if the hiking trails are crowded.

Ready to hit the road? Here are the Free National Park Days for 2022 so you can plan your next adventure.


Jan. 17: Martin Luther King Jr. Day

In honor of Dr. King, the National Park Service has designated this day as a free national park day. This is also a day of service, and many volunteers will gather at their local national park to spend the day tending to the park. If you’d like to spend your day doing the same, check in with the website of the national park you intend to visit.

Apr. 16: First Day Of National Park Week

During the presidentially-mandated National Park Week from Apr. 16 - 24, parks across the country will host special events, tours, and more. You can take advantage of some of the happenings at your favorite national park and participate. It won’t cost you a dime.

Aug. 4: Anniversary Of The Great American Outdoors Act


The passing of the Great American Outdoors Act continues to provide the National Park Service with essential funding for park restoration. This landmark legislation allows parks across the country to maintain critical facilities and care for forest, wildlife, and Indigenous schools. It only makes sense that you’d want to go out and celebrate the great outdoors on this free national park day.

Sep. 24: National Public Lands Day

Held on the fourth Saturday every September, this free national park day celebrates the connection between people and the natural world. Since it was first established in 1994, this day is America’s largest single-day volunteer effort. You can celebrate by spending time at a national park, cleaning up green space in your own community, or both.

Nov. 11: Veteran’s Day

Many national parks commemorate America’s past and often include a nod to previous battlefield sites and military stations. On top of that, some of the most iconic national parks, including The Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, and The Statue of Liberty serve as reminders to the military of home. On this day, you can head to any of these parks and more to honor the day.

The CDC recommends traveling only after you’re fully vaccinated and your vaccine has become fully effective. If you’re not fully vaccinated and must travel, check the CDC guidelines before you book. Check your destination’s vaccination and testing requirements before you depart.

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