Mark the National Park Service's 2022 free days in your calendar now.
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The National Park Service (NPS) announced its free entrance days for 2022, so mark your calendars — you won't want to miss the chance to visit the country's best national parks without having to pay an admission fee. And it's not just wide-open parklands — some national seashores, historic sites, and even battlefields run by the NPS are free to visit on these days, so do a little research to find your perfect park, near or far. NPS free days are the perfect time to explore the beauty, history, and culture right in your own backyard or across the country. 

The view from Big Badlands Overolook at sunrise in Badlands National Park, South Dakota.
Credit: Greg Vaughn/VW Pics/Getty Images

2022 National Park Free Days 

January 17: Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.

April 16: First Day of National Park Week

August 4: Anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act

September 24: National Public Lands Day

November 11: Veterans Day 

Although many are free to visit all year round, others — including the most popular national parks — have increasingly pricey entrance fees. You can find the full list of parks waiving their entrance fees on these five dates on the NPS website. It includes must-visit destinations like Yosemite, Yellowstone, and Grand Canyon. Fees vary from park to park, but those three parks and many others usually charge $35 entrance fees for non-commercial vehicles, so the savings can stack up, depending on which parks you visit. 

Know that parks can get busy on fee-free days, so consider picking a less popular spot to avoid some of the crowds. Plan to visit several national parks in 2022? Consider investing in an annual pass — for $80 per year, you can explore more than 2,000 federal recreation sites. Current U.S. military, veterans, and Gold Star Family members can obtain free annual passes, and fourth graders can get a free pass valid for the duration of the school year plus the following summer. U.S. citizens or permanent residents over 62 years old can opt for the $80 lifetime senior pass or the $20 annual senior pass, and U.S. citizens or permanent residents with permanent disabilities can get a free lifetime pass, too. For more details about the passes available, visit the NPS website

Elizabeth Rhodes is an associate digital editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her adventures on Instagram @elizabetheverywhere.