2013 National Park Week (April 20-28): Offers Free Admission to 401 National Parks, but Only on Weekdays
2013 National Park Week
I highlight this every year because the U.S. national parks could be the best idea this country ever had.
And… it coincides with Earth Day (tomorrow). So you can:
- Visit a National Park for free (on dates listed below) and and get inspired.
- Take some action on that inspiration (I’ll have a special post tomorrow with some actions you can take).
This year’s National Park Week started Saturday, April 20, and continues through next Sunday, April 28. This year, not all of the days have free admission, however.
With this event, all 401 national parks (apparently we added 4 in the past year because there were 397 last year) do not charge entrance, admission, commercial tour, or transportation fees for Monday, April 22 through Friday, April 26. They actually cut back the weekends this year, probably because traffic was too heavy with the warm weather last year, mixed in with some good ole’ austerity.
268 of the 401 national parks NEVER charge entrance fees, so what’s special about this week? The other 133 high traffic parks usually charge. This week they don’t. Here are a few of the most popular parks where you would otherwise have to pay to get in that are participating:
- Sequoia & Kings Canyon (California)
- Everglades National Park (Florida)
- Yellowstone National Park (Idaho)
- Acadia National Park (Maine)
- Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (Michigan)
- Carlsbad Caverns (New Mexico)
- Glacier National Park (Montana)
- Rocky Mountain National Park (Colorado)
National park week does not cover tours, camping, concessions, or third-party fees, unless the individual park states otherwise. With some national parks, it might be really hard to get camping permits for this week, at this stage.
Also, remember to be careful with high parks that are at a high altitude, suffer from spring-time flash floods, or are in northern locations this time of year. The weather has been very mild this year, but that doesn’t mean it will continue. Check with the park that you’re interested in visiting to identify with roads and campsites may still be closed.
2013 Free National Park Days
If you can’t make it out in April, you can also take advantage of 3 other free national park entrance fee days this year:
- August 25 – National Park Service Birthday
- September 28 – National Public Lands Day
- November 9-11 – Veterans Day weekend
Free Entrance to National Parks from your Library?
Remember that national park passes are often of of the free perks libraries offer. Check with your local library to see if they have a pass and for restrictions on how long you can reserve the pass. You may have to book it far in advance.
National Parks Discussion:
- Have you been to a national park during free National Park Week or on a free day? How was the traffic?
- What is your favorite national park, and why?