Celebrate our glorious national parks and historic sites during National Park Week, Aprll 17-25, with FREE admission and FREE daily themes and programs celebrating our American heritage and Earth Day on April 22.
National Park Week encourages the public to explore the vast network of our national parks, sacred sites, historical landmarks, as well as our shared heritage contained within them.
“Every national park has its own unique story to tell, yet so much of our nation’s shared heritage can be found in the towering forests and vast desert expanses that make up our National Park System,” said Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, the first Native American to hold the job, which includes overseeing Native American lands.
“The outdoors has also proven to be a welcome refuge during the past year of the pandemic. I encourage everyone to enjoy the beauty and wonder of our national parks safely and responsibly.”
To kick off National Park Week, every national park will have a free admission day on Saturday, April 17.
The National Park Service invites everyone to participate in a Twitter chat preview of National Park Week on April 16 at 1 p.m.
Join the conversation and share favorite memories, tips and stories about national parks using the hashtag #NationalParkWeek.
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.
National Park Week 2021 theme days:
Saturday, April 17:
Free Admission and Park Rx Day
Spending time in parks and nature benefits overall physical and mental health and wellness. In honor of the NPS’ century-long collaboration with the Office of Public Health, National Park Week begins with Park Rx Day! Enjoy a free admission visit to recreate responsibly in a national park near you.
Sunday, April 18:
With over 400 national park sites to manage, NPS volunteers play a critical part in helping parks thrive. From clearing trails and providing directions to assisting visitors through museum collections, volunteers help all of us enjoy national parks.
Monday, April 19:
National parks provide military members, past and present, with places for reflection and recreation where they can experience the comradery, solace, and healing that nature offers. In gratitude for their service, free annual passes are available for all those who served in the U.S. Armed Forces.
- Learn more at nps.gov/subjects/military.
Tuesday, April 20:
How have parks changed through the years? How will they change in the future?
Some transformations in national parks have occurred naturally while others are the result of conservation and restoration projects. From restoring buildings to their historical appearance, to rehabilitating ecosystems, to the maturation of wildlife, to incorporating emerging technology, learn how and why parks and their features have transformed through the years.
Wednesday, April 21:
Take a look at some of your favorite parks then and now. How has the view changed? Who else has stood in the same spot in the past? Learn about the living landscapes, historical battlefields, ancient ancestral structures, homes of prominent people, and buildings that are tangible reminders of the ever-evolving U.S. story.
Thursday, April 22:
A global celebration encouraging all people to learn more about and care for the planet, Earth Day is the perfect time to reflect on the natural wonders that the NPS helps to protect.
Friday, April 23:
Caring for our parks is a big job. Park partners have played an important role since the NPS was founded in 1916, and this tradition of generous, committed support continues today with individuals, groups and communities helping preserve and enhance the national park experience.
Saturday, April 24:
The NPS Junior Ranger program provides fun and engaging ways for young people to connect with our country’s heritage and landscapes, both virtually and in-person.
Sunday, April 25:
National parks are fun to share with those we love – including those of the fluffy variety! BARK Ranger principles ensure a pet’s visit to a park is fun and safe.
The public is asked to recreate responsibly when visiting parks, including following rules requiring masks when physical distancing cannot be maintained, or to explore parks virtually through a variety of engaging online activities.
Importance to the economy and the environment
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.