You Can Get Free Entrance to National Parks on April 21

Travel Destination: Western USA
Getty Images | Sean Gallup

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If you’ve been wanting to take a trip to one of America’s national parks, now is the time to plan it! To kick off the start of National Park Week, admission to all national parks will be free on Saturday, April 21.

There are more than 400 parks that will be free for visitors on that day, so even if you’ve been to one before, it’s a great time to visit a new one—especially one that normally charges an entry fee.

Flickr | iAryeh

Because the parks are free for all visitors, they will likely be busier than usual, so your best bet is to arrive as early as possible. It’s also important to note that only the entrance fee will be waved—not amenity or user fees for things like camping, boat launches, transportation or special tours.

Here are some of the iconic parks you can visit for free on April 21:

Yellowstone National Park

Where it’s at: Wyoming, Montana and Idaho

Yellowstone National Park was the world’s first national park and is a must-see if you’re into nature. Not only will you see mountains, forests and lakes, but you’ll also be able to experience a volcano. This massive park spans an area of more than 3,400 square miles and touches three states.

Flickr | screaming_monkey

Grand Canyon National Park

Where it’s at: Arizona

Grand Canyon National Park features a canyon that is 277 river miles long, up to 18 miles wide and a mile deep, according to the National Park Service. It’s certainly got some of America’s most breathtaking views!

Flickr | D.Taylor in Idaho

Rocky Mountain National Park

Where it’s at: Colorado

You’ll find more than just mountains at Rocky Mountain National Park! You’ll also see more than 300 miles of hiking trails, wildflowers and wildlife.

Flickr | dconvertini

Yosemite National Park

Where it’s at: California

Located in California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range, Yosemite National Park was first protected in 1864 and is best known for its waterfalls. Within its nearly 1,200 square miles, however, you’ll also find valleys, meadows and sequoias.

Flickr | lfarhadi

Isle Royale National Park

Where it’s at: Michigan

Perhaps the ultimate hidden gem of America’s national parks, Isle Royale is an entire island in Lake Superior. If you’re looking for solitude, it doesn’t get much more remote than this in the lower 48! It’s also the only national park that closes entirely for the winter, reopening on April 16, just in time for free entrance day.

Flickr | Corvair Owner

Everglades National Park

Where it’s at: Florida

The third-largest of all the national parks also shows off one of America’s most unique and beautiful ecosystems. If you’re looking to fly south after the cold months in time for free entrance day, Everglades National Park might be the perfect choice for a family trip, especially if you are into botany.

Getty Images | Joe Raedle

If you can’t make it to a park on April 21, admission will also be free on Sept. 22 and Nov. 11.

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. This pass allows 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 $80, or an annual one for $20.

Do you have a favorite national park?

About the Author

Kaitlin Gates

Kaitlin is a freelance multimedia journalist with a background in newspaper and broadcasting. She has a degree in journalism and psychology, enjoys writing, editing, animals, music and movies/TV. When she's not writing, you can usually find her on her yoga mat, whipping up a new vegetarian dish or at a wine tasting with friends. You can email her at or find her on Facebook at Learn More.