Here’s when you can visit a national park for free in 2024

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Grand Canyon National Park
Jacobs Stock Photography | Photodisc | Getty Images

The National Park Service is offering free admission to U.S. national parks on six days in 2024.

There are more than 400 national parks in the U.S. Most of them offer free entrance all the time.

However, 109 parks don’t — including some of the most popular, like Grand Canyon, Zion, Rocky Mountain, Acadia, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Joshua Tree and Glacier national parks.

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Their entrance fees typically range from $20 to $35 per vehicle. (Some may charge per person instead of per vehicle, and there may also be different fees for motorcycles.)

All parks that generally charge an entrance fee will waive them on the following days next year:

  • Jan. 15: Birthday of Martin Luther King Jr.
  • April 20: First day of National Park Week.
  • June 19: Juneteenth.
  • Aug. 4: Anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act.
  • Sept. 28: National Public Lands Day
  • Nov. 11: Veterans Day

It may make sense to buy an annual pass

Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park.
Ignacio Palacios | Stone | Getty Images

Even if you’re planning to visit a park during one of the 2024 free entrance days, it may make financial sense to buy an annual pass ahead of your trip, depending on the itinerary, said Mary Cropper, travel advisor and senior U.S. specialist at Audley Travel.

The $80 annual pass grants unlimited entrance to national parks and other federal recreation areas. (Some groups can get reduced-price or even free annual passes.)

For example, a pass would likely be a better option if you plan to visit multiple parks in one trip — in which case you may end up paying the standard entrance fee for each park (outside of the free day), Cropper said.

“You want to do the math,” she said.

You may also need a separate reservation

Yosemite National Park.
Kenny Mccartney | Moment | Getty Images

There were nearly 312 million visits to national parks in 2022. While not a record — that title belongs to 2016, the year of the National Park Service centennial — visitation is up about 10% in the last decade.

Many parks broke visitor records in the pandemic era as Americans sought domestic outdoor trips due to health fears and closed international borders.

“National parks are just booming right now,” Cropper said. “I think we’ll be witnessing entrance levels climbing.”

Aside from a standard entrance pass, some parks may require a separate reservation to enter in 2024. Those online reservations generally carry a fee of $2 or more.

For example, Yosemite recently announced that visitors will need to buy an advance reservation for weekends from April 13 through June 30, and Aug. 17 through Oct. 27, including holidays. They will also need one every day from July 1 through Aug. 16.

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