Once again in 2015, entry to America’s 401 national parks will be FREE on specific days and weekends. So circle the calendar and plan your getaways for these dates:
The 2015 entrance fee-free days are:
- Monday, January 19: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
- Friday-Monday, February 14-16: Presidents Day weekend
- Saturday/Sunday, April 18-19: National Park Week’s opening weekend
- Tuesday, August 25: National Park Service’s 99th birthday
- Saturday, September 26: National Public Lands Day
- Wednesday, November 11: Veterans Day
America’s national parks welcome more than 280 million visitors a year, to world-famous destinations such as Yellowstone and Yosemite, and to national landmarks operated by the National Park Service, including the Statue of Liberty. Or, the moment at Central High School that your child suddenly understands what civil rights are all about.
America’s national parks are important both to the economy and the environment. They protect and preserve the places we most value, and add enormous economic value to the small towns and family-owned businesses near the parks. It’s a $30 billion annual benefit to the national economy and supports more than 250,000 jobs, according to the National Park Service.
With more than 84 million acres of spectacular scenery, 17,000 miles of trails, 5,000 miles of shoreline, 27,000 historic and prehistoric structures, and 100 million museum items and an infinite number of authentic American stories to tell, America’s national parks are true superstars. They include:
- the country’s highest point, in Denali National Park
- and lowest point, in Death Valley National Park
- deepest lake, Crater Lake National Park
- longest cave, Mammoth Cave National Park
- tallest trees, Redwood National Park
- highest waterfall, Yosemite National Park.
Normally, 133 national parks charge an entrance fee that ranges from $3 to $25. The entrance fee waiver does not cover amenity or user fees for things like camping, boat launches, transportation, or special tours.
Four passes are available:
- free annual pass to current military members and their dependents
- free lifetime pass for people with permanent disabilities
- $10 lifetime senior pass for those aged 62 and over
- $80 annual pass for the general public.