People flocked to the great outdoors this year. In fact, a study recently found that nearly 60% of Americans reported a new found appreciation for nature due to the pandemic. Nature has been an outlet for many Americans to escape reality in a safe and socially distanced way. As a result, national parks all over the country saw a huge jump in visitors in 2020. The trend is expected to continue into 2021. If you want to look ahead and start planning your trips to nature now, you should know about the free-admission days.

Each year the federal government announces a number of days when entrance fees are waived for all visitors at every single national parks service site. The number of free-admission days actually varies every year. Some years, there has been as many as 16 dates. In 2018, there were just four free-admission days. For 2021, six dates have been designated as fee-free dates.

  • January 18: Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday
  • April 17: First day of National Park Week
  • August 4: One-year anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act
  • August 25: National Park Service's 105th Birthday
  • September 25: National Public Lands Day
  • November 11: Veterans Day

Keep in mind that this only applies to admission fees. These days do not guarantee free cover charges for other amenities such as campsites, parking, special tours, boat launches, transportation, or other activities. Many national parks usually charge a $35 entry fee per vehicle. There are seven national park service sites in Idaho. If you plan to visit more than one of those national parks in the next year, it may be worth it to invest in an annual pass for a one-time fee of $80.


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