National Park Service Announces Fee-Free Days For 2013

One of the National Park Service’s more popular programs over the past few years has been the introduction of fee-free days. Each year, the NPS designates a number of dates on which there is absolutely no charge for entry into the more than 2000 national parks, forests and wildlife refuges around the country. Naturally, those days are especially popular with travelers, who often plan their visits to coincide with the free entries.

Recently, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar officially announced the dates of the fee-free days for 2013, giving us all the opportunity to start making our plans early. Here is a complete list of those days for next year:

  • January 21 – Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • April 22-26 – National Park Week
  • June 8 – Great Outdoors Day
  • August 25 – National Park Service Birthday
  • September 28 – National Public Lands Day
  • October 13 – National Wildlife Refuge Day
  • November 9-11 – Veterans Day Weekend

If you’re anything like me you’re probably already thinking about your travel plans for 2013. Knowing which days the parks will be completely free can be important to planning your strategy, as it is always great to take advantage of the lack of an entry fee to your favorite park. On the other hand, crowds tend to be quite large on those days, so some travelers will probably want to avoid visiting on those dates. Either way, the Park Service’s announcement comes at an opportune time and gives plenty of notice for those looking to take advantage of the first fee-free day in January.

[Photo Credit: Kraig Becker]

National Park Service announces fee-free days for 2012

The National Park Service has announced the dates of its fee-free days for 2012, continuing a recent, and very popular, tradition of waiving entry fees to national parks throughout the year. Next year, travelers will have 17 such days during which they can visit their favorite parks while saving a few dollars in the process.

Earlier this week, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced the fee-free days would include January 14-16 (Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend), April 21-29 (National Parks Week), June 9 (Get Outdoors Day), September 29 (National Public Lands Day), and November 10-12 (Veterans Day Weekend).

In addition to those 17 fee-free days for next year, there are still a few free days left for 2011 as well. All of the national parks will once again allow entry to travelers without paying on Veterans Day weekend, which is November 10-12.

For a complete list of the more than 100 parks that take part in the fee-free program click here.

The concept of not charging for entry to the parks was designed to inspire people to visit these amazing destinations. Considering that attendance has been at record levels the past few years, I’d say it has been successful. Announcing the dates this early also helps travelers to plan around these days, both to take advantage of the free entry or to avoid the crowds that inevitably come with them. Either way, it’s a great opportunity to experience a national park, and I’m glad the NPS is continuing the practice again in 2012.