Free Entrance to National Parks on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Photo credit: Gideon Haden ChomphosyMonday will be the first day of free entry to national parks in 2016. The National Park Service normally provides free entrance days over the course of the year, but since this year is the NPS centennial, there are more free entrance days than usual.

Altogether, there will be 16 free entrance days in 2016, so if you don’t feel comfortable taking your vacation days in the middle of January, don’t worry. You will have plenty of opportunities to take advantage of free entrance to U.S. national parks throughout the rest of the year.

Free admission means more at some parks than others. For example, the price of admission to enter Grand Canyon National Park or Zion National Park in Utah is thirty dollars per vehicle. However, there is no entry fee for Hot Springs National Park – Arkansas’ only national park – regardless of which day you choose to visit. Entrance fees range from park to park, with the big name attractions like Yellowstone National Park and Yosemite National Park tending to cost more than less frequented attractions.

There are also a number of natural areas, sites, and reserves that are managed by the National Park Service despite the fact that they are not technically considered to be national parks. The Buffalo River (America’s first national river) falls under this category, and is managed by the NPS.

So stop by the store to pick up the gear that you need, take a long weekend, and visit one of our nation’s national parks free of charge!

You might, however, find it difficult or impractical to make a trip to one of our nation’s parks on the tail end of a three-day weekend. If that’s the case, stock up on sick days and take a week long trip for National Park Week. National Park Week runs from April 16th to April 24th, and all national parks are entrance-free for the entire week!

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