Free Entrance Days for Public Lands - 2017

Take in the great scenery of our natural landscapes, learn about our nation’s rich history, and enjoy the great outdoors -- our nation’s public lands have so much to offer!

Every year, the Interior Department and other land-management agencies make it easier to visit these special places by offering free admission to the public lands that charge an entrance fee.

Check out the dates below for a list of the public lands that are free, and start planning your trip today!

Sunset photography at Olympic National Park.
Sunset photography at Olympic National Park. Photo by Yan Li - ShareTheExperience.org

January 16 -- Martin Luther King, Jr., Day

National parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests and public lands managed by Bureau of Land Management will waive their entrance fees.

February 20 -- Presidents Day

National parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests and public lands managed by Bureau of Land Management will waive their entrance fees.

April 15-16 & April 22-23 -- National Park Week Weekends

In celebration of National Park Week, all national parks will waive their entrance fees.

June 10 -- National Get Outdoors Day

*National forests will waive their entrance fees.

August 25 -- National Park Service Birthday

To celebrate the National Park Service’s birthday, all national parks will waive their entrance fees.

September 30 -- National Public Lands Day

National parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests and public lands managed by Bureau of Land Management will waive their entrance fees.

October 8 -- First Sunday of National Wildlife Refuge Week

To celebrate National Wildlife Refuge Week, all national wildlife refuges will waive their entrance fees.

November 11-12 -- Veterans Day Weekend

National parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests and public lands managed by Bureau of Land Management will waive their entrance fees.

A question the Department gets on social media frequently is: Shouldn’t public lands be free every day?

Of the 400+ national park sites, only 120 charge an entrance fee (which range from $3 to $30 per vehicle for an entire week). For the national wildlife system, 31 refuges charge admission (ranging from $3 to $8 per vehicle) to help fund their recreation-related projects.

What are entrance fees to national parks used for? Under the Federal Recreation Lands Enhancement Act, national parks keep 80% of all fees collected and use that money to fund critical projects that improve visitor services and protect natural and cultural resources. For example, at Yellowstone, fees go to repairing roads, upgrading campgrounds and more.

Do you visit public lands that charge entrance fees often? Consider purchasing a public lands pass. There are a number of pass options but they give you access to more than 2,000 national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, grasslands and other federal lands.

These passes are available:

  • Free annual pass to current military members and their dependents.
  • Free lifetime pass for people with permanent disabilities.
  • $10 lifetime senior pass for those aged 62 and over.
  • $80 annual pass for the general public.
  • Free annual pass for volunteers who accrue 250 hours and who do not already have a valid interagency pass.
  • Every Kid in the Park: Free annual pass valid for the school year, September to August, for duration of the 4th grade year. Covers students and their families.

Buy your pass today at Recreation.gov.

*National forests are managed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, not the Interior Department. Learn more about the different types of public lands.