National Park Week 2019 Means Free Entry in the United States — Starting April 20

The United States has some of the most scenic topography in the world. To preserve the diversification of natural settings around the vastness of this country, a system of national parks was created in 1916 currently known as the National Park Service, which is a bureau of the United States Department of the Interior.

National Park Week 2019 Means Free Entry in the United States — Starting April 20

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Photograph ©2008 by Brian Cohen.

Some of the more famous parks and monuments under the auspices of the National Park Service include Yellowstone National Park in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho — considered the first official national park in the world when it was established in 1872 and known for its geysers and abundant wildlife; Yosemite National Park in California, with its giant sequoia trees; Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee and North Carolina; the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Islandin New York, where you can once again visit the crown; and Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona.

At one time, access to these treasures of the United States covering greater than 84 million acres of land and 4.5 million acres of water was free of charge — but the National Park Service started to charge entrance fees a number of years ago to cover costs. The entrance fees range in cost up to 25 dollars for seven days when entering via private vehicle — which is still considered a bargain.

The good news is that 268 of the 401 national parks have no entrance fees at all — ever — but the even better news is that there are times of the year where free access is available to those national parks which do charge an entrance fee. Here is the list of dates in 2019 when free access to all national parks is available, as officially announced by the National Park Service:

  • January 21, 2019 Martin Luther King, Junior Day
  • April 20-28, 2019 National Park Week
  • August 25, 2019 National Park Service Birthday
  • September 28, 2019 National Public Lands Day
  • November 11, 2019 Veterans Day

Summary

Please click on the photograph for my experience at Mammoth Cave National Park. Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

This is a list of the participating national parks whose entrance fees will be waived during the aforementioned list of days. Keep in mind that the fee waiver includes entrance fees, commercial tour fees, and transportation entrance fees. Other fees such as reservation, camping, tours, concession and fees collected by third parties are not included unless stated otherwise.

If you plan on visiting multiple national parks within one year, consider purchasing the America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass for $80.00. Other passes are available as well.

June 17, 2015 was the 130th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty. Please see this article for additional information and photographs. All photographs ©2007, ©2008 and ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

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