National Parks Are Free to Visit April 22 – Here’s Where To Go

If the entry fees are what hold you back from visiting more national parks, now is your chance to see all the beauty without any of the cost: On April 22, the U.S. Park Service will be waiving entrance fees to all of its 419 parks, monuments, and other sites to kick off National Park Week to encourage people to spend time in National Parks.

Keep in mind that some parks don't have any charge to access in the first place, so we suggest maximizing the benefit by visiting one that does. Some of the busiest parks, such as Grand Canyon, Rocky Mountain, Zion, and Glacier have entrance fees of up to $35 per vehicle or $20 per person.

(Note: The free entry does not extend to fees for activities such as camping, boat launches, transportation, or special tours.)

So where should you spend the day? It depends on what you want: If you want to pound your feet across a mountain trail with a killer view at the top, there is a park for that. If you want to find serenity and avoid the crowds, there is a park for that too. If you want to take some time to smell the roses, you guessed it, there is a park for that as well.

Bonus: Google Maps just rolled out some great updates designed to make navigating national parks a lot easier.

And remember: While free entry is limited to April 22, National Park Week runs through April 30 this year and parks across the nation will have special programs, events, and activities all week long to celebrate.

For Gorgeous Hikes

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There are national parks across the country that showcase magnificent mountains, unspoiled valleys, alpine lakes, and lush forests with hiking trails for every level of hiker, from beginner to expert.

Glacier National Park in Montana has more than 700 miles of hiking trails that amble along some of the most stunning scenery in the country.

Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas, one of the most under-the-radar sites that's actually very close to Oklahoma, Missouri, Mississippi, and Louisiana, has incredible hikes through the forest, over creeks, and, of course, to amazing hot springs.

We also love Shenandoah National Park in Virginia which has over 500 miles of hiking trails, complete with waterfalls and gorgeous canopies.

For Quiet Places


If solitude is what you are seeking, then try Michigan's Isle Royale National Park. This park, located in the middle of Lake Superior, often sees about 25,000 visitors a year, making it one of the least-visited National Parks. That is probably because it's not exactly the easiest park to access. Getting there requires either a plane or boat. But once you're there, it is 570,000 acres of untamed wilderness filled with a variety of camping options, picturesque inland lakes, extensive hiking trails, and plenty of chances to view wildlife.

One of the least visited National Parks is North Cascades National Park in Washington. North Cascades is unique for being home to the most extensive glacial system in the lower 48, with more than 300 glaciers adorning the top of the park's jagged peaks. Among Cascade's rugged mountainous terrain is an abundance of cascading waterfalls, including Ladder Creek Falls, Gorge Creek Falls, and Colonial Creek Falls, which tumbles 2,566 feet down Colonial Peak.

Also check out Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park of Colorado. As one of the newer parks, it truly is one of the National Park Service's hidden gems.

For Springtime Flowers


Some National Parks are just better to visit in the springtime. The landscape is bursting forth with greenery and fresh flower buds. The birds are serenading park visitors with their songs. The weather is at that pleasant medium between the winter chill and summer scorch.

Try Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio and make sure to visit Brandywine Falls, the parks picturesque 60-foot waterfall; Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado before the summer heat and crowds come; or New River Gorge National Park and Preserve in West Virginia.

More Free Admission Days

Don't worry if a National Parks visit isn't in the cards for April 22. The NPS still has three more free admission days this year, Aug. 4: Anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act, Sept. 23: National Public Lands Day, and Nov. 11: Veterans Day.