Is your child in 4th grade? Get a free national parks membership for your whole family

girl stands at the Grand Canyon

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If you have a child in fourth grade and also happen to be looking for a great vacation idea, listen up!

Thanks to the Every Kid Outdoors initiative, fourth-grade students and their families can get into national parks for free.

MORE: You can visit the national parks for free on these days in 2024

Why fourth graders? Those behind the program say research shows that age 11 is when children are becoming more curious about and aware of the world around them. They’re not only open to new ideas, they are also likely to connect to nature and America’s history.

The pass is offered to fourth graders every year, so eventually, every child will get a free pass to explore our national parks, with the goal of letting them all discover wildlife, resources, and history — for free.


Pass Details

The current pass is for fourth graders (or homeschool-equivalent students) for the 2023-24 school year, and it expires Aug. 31, 2024. At that point, the cycle starts over for the next group of fourth graders!

The pass includes free entrance for not only your fourth grader, but also all children under 16 years of age and up to three adults. So, your kiddo gets to be the VIP with the free park admission!

If you visit a park that charges admission per vehicle, the pass admits all children and adults in one passenger vehicle.


Get your free national parks pass today, and then begin planning your outdoor adventures!

Many of the national parks offer the opportunity to explore the great outdoors, while others feature historical sites and monuments.

You may be most familiar with the big names, such as the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone Park. But there really is a national park for every kind of person in every kind of climate.

From Alaska to Maine, from Hawaii to Utah, you can take your pick of visiting glaciers, mountains, geysers, deserts, Sequoia forests, and even volcanoes.

MORE: 10 stunning national monuments you have to visit


Don’t have a child in fourth grade right now? If you’d like to visit the national parks year-round, you can purchase an annual America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass for $80.

The pass will allow unlimited entrance to more than 2,000 federal recreation areas, including all national parks. If you’re at least 62 years old, you can buy a lifetime pass for that same price, or an annual one for $20.


Free Days at National Parks in 2024

Even those who are not currently in fourth grade can enjoy free admission to national parks on certain days throughout the year. Check out the dates below and start planning your trips!

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


Do you have a favorite national park?

MORE: Parents love this piggyback kid carrier so much that it keeps selling out

About the Author

Kaitlin Gates

Kaitlin is a freelance multimedia journalist with a degree in journalism and psychology. Along with Don't Waste Your Money, she also writes for Simplemost, where she covers new product and food launches and overall general news. You can email her at or find her on Facebook at More.

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