Each year, the National Park Service designates some days as fee-free entrance days for parks that normally charge an entrance fee to make the parks accessible to more people. The National Park Service turns 100 years old in 2016, and to celebrate, they are offering free admission on 16 days. A bunch of national parks don’t charge fees anyway, but there are about 127 that do. This is a great opportunity to get out and enjoy the spring weather.
Here are the fee-free entrance days in 2016:
January 18: Martin Luther King Jr. Day (already passed)
- April 16-24: National Park Week (Find your nearest park here)
- August 25-28: National Park Service Birthday
- September 24: National Public Lands Day
- November 11: Veterans Day
Also, if you have a 4th grader, you can get an annual pass free of charge ($80 value), thanks to a White House youth initiative. Click here for details.
For those in the Northern Virginia or D.C. Metro area, I recommend Great Falls Park (normally $5 fee). For those who have more time, I highly recommend Shenandoah National Park (normally $15 fee), which is about a 1.5-2 hour drive from NoVA. Personally, visiting national parks is one of my favorite things to do. I will probably take a day off from work and try to hit up Old Rag Mountain in Shenandoah National Park, which features an awesome ~9 mile circuit hike.
Hope you can make it out to see some of America’s treasured lands! Remember, you have 9 days in April this year to see them for free: April 16 to April 24.