Planning to visit a national park in 2020? Whether you’re planning to take in the impressive beauty of the Grand Canyon or check out the geysers at Yellowstone, you’ll want to mark these dates in your calendar.
Related: More national parks trip ideas
Every year, the National Park Service designates a number of free entrance days, when visitors can access the parks without paying an entrance fee (which normally ranges from $5 to $35 per vehicle). This year, there will be 5 days when you can visit any of the country’s stunning national parks for free.
2020 National Park Free Entrance Days:
- January 20: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
- April 18: First day of National Park Week (a weeklong event held at parks across the country)
- August 25: National Park Service Birthday
- September 26: National Public Lands Day
- November 11: Veterans Day
Park entrance fees have increased over the last several years, with popular parks like Yosemite National Park and Zion National Park now charging $35 per vehicle. Although this may seem a little steep, only 111 out of 419 national parks charge entrance fees — making the remaining 308 free to visit any time of year. Wondering what the parks actually do with the money they collect from these entrance fees? 80% of the money stays in the park where you paid the fee to “enhance the visitor experience,” according to the NPS website, while the other 20% goes to parks that do not charge entrance fees.
If you’re planning to visit several parks in 2020, you might want to consider investing in an America the Beautiful pass. For $80, you can access hundreds of national parks and federal recreational lands for a year without paying entrance fees. You can also purchase annual passes for specific national parks if there’s one park you plan to visit a few times this year — these usually range from $35 to $70.