Free Days at National Parks In 2024


Did you know there are six days throughout the year when you can get FREE admission to national parks? Yep, it’s true. While our own state has mostly national parks with free admission all the time, the Thomas Edison National Historical Park in West Orange, NJ, typically charges a fee, but on the days listed below, you can enter without paying an admission price. But the real deal is if you are traveling, especially out west (hello, Yosemite), when it’s gratis to enter on one of these special days. Find out what days in 2024 are free national park days below, and check out the list of national parks to visit across the country to plan your next trip around them. (featured photo credit: istock/LindaTancs)

When to visit a national park for free

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday – January 15, 2024

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. advocated for racial equality, and the third Monday of January is a federal holiday dedicated to honoring his life and legacy. Not only did he work to change the world, but he also spent time preserving many national parks and local communities around the country. In honor of this, national parks waive the usual fee so you can enjoy nature and honor the sacrifices he made for our country.

First Day of National Park Week – April 20, 2024

Each year, a week is dedicated to the beauty and wonder of our national parks. To kick off this celebration, national parks are free so that everyone can enjoy the outdoors and these spaces. Then, throughout this week, there will be programs, events, and activities to showcase how national parks enhance our lives. This year, the celebration will happen April 20-28.

Juneteenth National Independence Day – June 19, 2024

One of the oldest known commemorations related to the abolition of slavery in the United States, this special day was made into a national holiday in 2021. A great way to spend this day is by getting the family together and spending time in nature at one of the national parks in New Jersey.

Anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act – August 4, 2024

The Great American Outdoors Act, passed in 2020, provides funding to improve infrastructure and expand recreation opportunities in national parks and other public lands. Without funding, these national parks could not offer what they do for our families. On the anniversary of the day this important act was passed, you’re free to enjoy a national park to celebrate. 

National Public Lands Day – September 28, 2024

If you have never heard of this day, it’s the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer event for public lands. It’s meant to bring together individuals, families, students, and groups of volunteers to help maintain and improve our most treasured places. To get involved, look in your area and simply join a scheduled event or plan a small gathering with family and friends to pick up trash or clean up at a park. To celebrate this day, you can visit any of the national parks in our state for free and bring your efforts there.

Veterans Day – November 11, 2024

Did you know that many national parks have a deep connection to the military? In fact, there are dozens of battlefields, parks, and historic sites that commemorate and honor the service of the brave men and women in our country. That’s why one of the ways to celebrate this day and remember all the veterans is to visit national parks. You can bring your loved ones and spend this moving day in nature.

Which national park will you visit for free this year?

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About Author

Karen lives in Central Jersey with her two dogs, one cat, husband and daughter Olivia. Graduating from Seton Hall University with a B.A. in Journalism and Public Relations, she has been writing and working in the social media field for a few years. One of her proudest moments as a writer so far has been interviewing Tim Gunn from 'Project Runway' and subsequently winning Honorable Mention in NJ for Feature Writing. When she is not busy as a mom, she enjoys reading, going to the beach and watching the Real Housewives.