Here’s When You Can Visit The National Parks For Free In 2017

NPS/Jacob W. Frank

From the crimson-colored, otherworldly hoodoos in Utah’s Bryce Canyon to the rainbow-colored geothermal pools and stunning geysers in Yellowstone, the National Parks are looking good. Especially for 100.

The U.S. National Park system just celebrated its centennial birthday and has been getting a lot of attention. A record number of visitors (more than 305 million people!) visited the parks in 2015, the most recent numbers available.

If all the hubbub around the National Parks has you excited for a visit, we’ve got some good news: As in years past, there will be 10 days in 2017 during which admission to all National Park Services sites and parks will be free, our fave four-letter word.

In all, there are 124 national parks that charge an entry fee, with fees ranging from $3 to $30. The other parks and sites are free year-round.

Whether you’re on a quest to cross off as many parks from your bucket list as possible or are looking for a fun, family escape, you’ll want to go ahead and mark these “park days” on your calendar. (And, yes, the National Parks know how to throw a birthday party. Among the free days is the Service’s birthday in August).

National Park free days in 2017:

  • January 16: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • February 20: Presidents’ Day
  • April 15-16 and 22-23: Weekends of National Park Week
  • August 25: National Park Service Birthday
  • September 30: National Public Lands Day
  • November 11-12: Veterans Day Weekend

Looking to visit a park this year?

Here’s some seasonal adventures worth pursuing that will sync up nicely with those free days.

If you’re visiting the National Parks in the winter, warm up at “America’s spa,” also known as the Arkansas Hot Springs, and soak in one of the Euro-inspired bathhouses.

Come spring, check into a Sunday home (cute cottages built by German settlers) in Fredericksburg, Texas and witness the wildflowers bloom in Texas Hill Country. You can also tour the “Texas White House” at the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historic Park, where you can visit the 36th President’s ranch, a place he often conducted business during his presidency.

In the summer, check into Red Mountain Resort in southern Utah, where guides can lead you on tours of nearby Zion National Park, a cool place to try out river hiking.

By the time fall comes around, get a glimpse of the changing leaves choreographed by Mother Nature at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. The “haunted” Stanley Hotel in Estes Park is a fun base camp.

Happy trails!

H/T: Money Saving Mom

About the Author

Brittany Anas

Hi, I'm Brittany Anas (pronounced like the spice, anise ... see, that wasn't too embarrassing to say, now was it?) My professional writing career started when I was in elementary school and my grandma paid me $1 for each story I wrote for her. I'm a former newspaper reporter, with more than a decade of experience Hula-hooping at planning meetings and covering just about every beat from higher-education to crime to science for the Boulder Daily Camera and The Denver Post. Now, I'm a freelance writer, specializing in travel, health, food and adventure. I've contributed to publications including Men's Journal, Forbes, Women's Health, American Way, TripSavvy, Eat This, Not That!, Apartment Therapy, Denver Life Magazine, 5280, Livability, The Denver Post, Simplemost, USA Today Travel Tips, Make it Better, AAA publications, Reader's Digest, Discover Life and more. Learn More.