Out of the 423 units in the National Park Service, only 108 parks regularly charge an entrance fee (ranging from $5 to $35 per vehicle), but if you want to visit a popular park for free that normally does charge, now is your chance. The fee waiver includes entrance fees, but not charges for reservations, camping, tours, concessions and fees collected by third parties. Once you arrive, make your first stop the park visitor center to pick up maps and guides and for the latest information on everything from road conditions and ranger programs to hiking trails and campgrounds.
If your summer plans are already committed, there will be two more opportunities to get free admission to national parks this year:
September 25: National Public Lands Day
National Public Lands Day is the nation's largest hands-on volunteer effort to improve America's public lands. NPLD began in 1994 with three federal agencies and 700 volunteers. Since then thousands have volunteered to lend a hand across the nation.
November 11: Veterans Day
Veterans Day was originally known as Armistice Day, marking the anniversary of the ending of World War I at the eleventh hour, on the eleventh day, of the eleventh month in 1918. On June 1, 1954, the name of the holiday was changed to Veterans Day to honor those who died in all American wars.
As you might expect, millions of people visit national parks each year, and especially in 2021 now that folks are traveling again following Covid-19 lockdowns and closures. If you’re looking for travel ideas (or want to avoid crowds), these are the top 10 most visited national parks as of 2020: