To all you nature lovers, it’s time to dust off them hiking boots and get your cameras ready. The US National Parks Service has listed their free entrance days for 2015! For the dates listed below, it will cost you $0 to visit some of the most beautiful landscapes the U.S. has to offer.
Not that you really need an excuse to visit the National Parks, but if you do need a little incentive, this is a great time to plan a trip and get some miles under your boots. Unfortunately, at the time of this posting, the January 19th date has come and gone, but you still have until November to take advantage of the free days.
US National Parks Entrance Free Days 2015
- January 19 – Martin Luther King Jr. Day
- February 14 to 16 – Presidents Day Weekend
- April 18 to 19 – Opening Weekend of National Park Week
- August 25 – National Park Service Birthday
- September 26 – National Public Lands Day
- November 11 – Veterans Day
The entrance free days waive all entrance and commercial tour fees at any of the paid US National Parks including popular destinations like Yosemite and Yellowstone. You’ll still be responsible for campsite reservations, and any fees charged by third party tours or groups not affiliated directly with the National Parks Service, but entrance into the parks on foot or by car, will cost absolutely nothing.
Be aware though, during entrance free days, expect the crowds to descend in droves. Parks like Yosemite are generally busy all year-round but will be even crazier during the free days. If you want to maintain your Zen, a great alternative is to arrange a backcountry permit in advance for the day or even a few days. You can find out more about how to arrange backcountry permits at the US National Parks site.
Tip – Don’t try to get the backcountry permit the day of. You’ll wake up at an ungodly hour to stand in line forever, only to be disappointed when the permits are sold out.
For campsites, make an advanced reservation. In fact, this is a general rule of thumb all year-round. You can find out how to plan your camping trip and site reservations in my post – Camping 101
If you still wish to see National Parks, but wish to avoid the heavy crowds, consider purchasing the annual pass for $80 and get access to all the . As well, all U.S. military personnel qualify for a free annual pass, while seniors can purchase an annual pass for $10.
Now stop procrastinating and get out there!