Free National Parks Admission for Everyone on April 17th

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photo of National Park

Schedule your vacation days and gear up for 2021! 

Mark your calendars for six specific days in 2021 where you can skip the park passes, as the National Park Services will be waiving entrance fees for EVERYONE at national parks that normally charge admission. Check out the following list of fee-free dates:

  • April 17th: First day of National Park Week
  • August 4th: Great American Outdoors Act One-Year Anniversary
  • August 25th: National Park Service Birthday
  • September 25th: National Public Lands Day
  • November 11th: Veterans Day

girl looking at map in national park

These dates fall on different days of the week, which is a bonus for people with non-traditional schedules or for families planning a National Parks field day for remote learning.

It’s much easier to adhere to social distancing in the great outdoors, and the National Parks Service is encouraging you to “Recreate Responsibly“. Be sure to contact the park you’ll be visiting in advance for any pertinent updates or guidance.

winter in a national park

With over 400 National Parks in the United States, adding FREE entrance dates for ALL parks broadens the opportunity for adventurers and nature-lovers alike to visit more locations. Even if you hadn’t planned on touring a National Park in the near future, check out the list of Fee-Free Parks by State and consider adding them to the agenda of a budget-friendly road trip!

Know a Veteran or Gold Star Family? Be sure to pass a freebie along to them!

crater lake national park

Veterans and Gold Star Families receive FREE entrance pass to national parks, wildlife refuges, and other Federal lands managed by the Department of the Interior – no special pass needed!

Active-duty members of the US Military and their dependents already qualify for a free annual pass to these attractions. And from now on, entrance fees for the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and standard amenity recreation fees for the Bureau of Land Management and the Bureau of Reclamation sites, will also be waived for Veterans and Gold Star Families!

For the purposes of this program, a Veteran is defined as an individual who served in the US Armed Forces (including the National Guard and Reserves). Gold Star Families are the next of kin of a member of the US Armed Forces who lost his or her life in a “qualifying situation” such as war, an international terrorist attack, or a military operation outside of the US while serving with the US Armed Forces. Keep in mind that one of the following ID cards will be required:

  • Department of Defense Identification Card
  • Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC)
  • Veteran ID Card
  • Veterans designation on a state-issued U.S. driver’s license or identification card

More ways to save on a National Parks Pass:

man, woman and little girl standing reading a park map

Join The Discussion

Comments 16

  1. ToriSC

    Lovin this. My daughter even texted me to let me know.

  2. Sara

    Is this for their family as well as long as they are with the Veteran? I would imagine if you are paying per vehicle, as long as the veteran is in the vehicle then it would work.

    • riss

      I would think so.

    • Lisa

      Sara, yes, veteran needs to be in the vehicle and the whole vehicle gets in.

  3. Vicki Bousquet

    About time that a veterans can visit the National Parks for free, especially since it is the very land that they have served and protected for.

    • Gramma C

      Veterans should be free for life!

    • riss

      Right? Everytime we go to national /state parks, we always ask : “do you have veterans’ discount?” This is good news!

  4. Sarah

    Thanks for the link for 4th graders to get in free. We’ll be doing a cross country trip this summer and will go to so many national parks. This’ll save so much!

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      How exciting!! You’re so welcome, Sarah! Have a wonderful trip!

  5. allgirlmama

    Just F.Y.I. anyone who is legally disabled gets a free national park pass!! Just take proof of disability to where you get passes or go on the website!!!

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Awesome! Thanks for sharing with us! I do find those details through the link above on more ways to save.

  6. Hipgrandma

    Think there’s still a senior pass too. 60+

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Yes! Those details are listed through the link above on “more ways to save”. Hope that helps!

    • LS

      Their website says a Senior is age 62 or older.

  7. Sheila

    Just curious.. is this worth it? I’ve always been so afraid to try these “free days” thinking it’s going to be mobbed.

    • Christine

      Depends on the park but in my area free day is swarmed. Same with free day at museums and zoos lol

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