MLK Day: Free Entrance to National Parks

Great Falls National Park

Great Falls National Park

The National Park Service is waiving entrance fees at National Parks on Monday, January 20, 2014, in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Not all National Parks are out West:  one of our favorite places to take our dog for a walk is along the Potomac River in Great Falls National Park, in McLean, Virginia.

Additional entrance fee-free dates in 2014 are:

  • February 15-17
    Presidents Day weekend
  • April 19-20
    opening weekend of National Park Week
  • August 25
    National Park Service Birthday
  • September 27
    National Public Lands Day
  • November 11
    Veterans Day

Just 133 of our country’s 401 national parks usually charge an entrance fee.

Kolob Canyons of Zion National Park

Kolob Canyon in Zion National Park

When we were visited Utah last year, we purchased an annual pass which enabled our family to see some of the nation’s crown jewels:  Bryce Canyon; Zion National Park, Arches National Park, and Cedar Breaks National Monument.  

The annual pass provides entrance to all national parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests, and many other Federal lands — more than 2,000 sites in all.  A pass covers entrance and standard amenity fees for a driver and all passengers in a personal vehicle at per vehicle fee areas (or up to four adults at sites that charge per person). Children age 15 or under are admitted free.

The National Park Service and other public lands agencies offer several categories of paid, free and practically free passes for the general public, members of the military, senior citizens, and the disabled.  

The America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass comes in several versions, including:

2014 Annual Pass - Photo by Katherine Hawkins-2012 Share the Experience Photo Contest Grand Prize winner

Annual Pass

  • $80 annual pass
  • Available to everyone.
  • Can be obtained in person at a federal recreation site, or by calling 1-888-ASK USGS (1-888-275-8747), Ext. 3 (Hours of operation are: 8:00 am to 4:00 pm Mountain time), or online. Buy Now
  • Non-transferable.
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Free Annual Pass for U.S. Military
  • Available to U.S. military members and dependents in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard and also, Reserve and National Guard members.
  • Must be obtained in person at a Federal recreation site by showing a Common Access Card (CAC) or Military ID (Form 1173).
America the Beautiful – The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass – Senior Pass

Senior Pass

  • $10 Lifetime pass
  • For U.S. citizens or permanent residents age 62 or over.
  • May be obtained in person at a federal recreation site or through the mail using this application form. The cost of obtaining a Senior Pass through the mail is twenty dollars ($20). Ten ($10) for the Senior Pass and ten ($10) for processing the application. Applicants must provide documentation of age and residency or citizenship.
  • May provide a 50 percent discount on some amenity fees charged for facilities and services such as camping, swimming, boat launch, and specialized interpretive services.
  • Generally does NOT cover or reduce special recreation permit fees or fees charged by concessioners.
The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass – Access Pass<br />

Access Pass

  • Free
  • For U.S. citizens or permanent residents with permanent disabilities.
  • May be obtained in person at a federal recreation site or through the mail using this application form. The cost of obtaining an Access Pass through the mail is ten dollars ($10) for processing the application (the Pass is free). Applicants must provide documentation of permanent disability and residency or citizenship.
  • May provide a 50 percent discount on some amenity fees charged for facilities and services such as camping, swimming, boat launching, and specialized interpretive services.
  • Generally does NOT cover or reduce special recreation permit fees or fees charged by concessioners.

 

5 thoughts on “MLK Day: Free Entrance to National Parks

  1. Great reminder! This makes me think perhaps we should stop at Mt St Helens National Park when we take a quick trip to Seattle/Tacoma that weekend!

  2. Thanks for the information. Always great! Michelle and I are going to visit Glacier National Park this summer. It has been many years since I have visited this beautiful park and Michelle has never been. Even though many of the glaciers are melting away, it is still spectacular and many animals to see.

    TWA44, I have been to Mount St Helens National Park and it is worth the visit. Unbelievable!!!

    • Agreed! We have been there twice before and I am always fascinated. Because the crater can get fogged in, it is different every time we go and I expect there may be more to see in the museum area too. My husband climbed Mt. St. Helens for his 50th birthday!

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