Enjoy Free Entry at the National Parks on the First Day of National Park Week

Roam Yosemite National Park, Joshua Tree National Park, or another favorite destination without paying to enter on April 22.

Chris LaBasco

What to Know

  • Saturday, April 22 is a free day at the fee-charging national parks
  • There are five free days on the national parks 2023 calendar, with four more to go; the April 22 event celebrates the start of National Park Week
  • The extensive system boasts over 400 national parks; several parks offer free entry throughout the calendar

VISITING ALL OF THE NATIONAL PARKS... or returning to one close to your heart, over and over and over again? There are many ways to approach these beautiful, meaningful, and history-rich places, and once we're there? The paths to knowing a park better are plentiful, with opportunities to savor quiet contemplation, guided hikes, ranger programs, stargazing nights, and powerful talks. We can engage with our parks throughout the calendar, but the events of late April take on a different and celebratory feel. That's because National Park Week happens in the days leading up to May, a happy reminder of all the good the parks bring to our worlds and how we can play roles in their continuing health and happiness. And to help us make that important connection? There is a fee-free day on Saturday, April 22.

NOT EVERY PARK... charges a fee at the entry gate on a regular basis of course, but many of the over 400 parks do, including Yosemite National Park and Joshua Tree National Park. Adding to the special joy of this celebration is the weather outlook, which shows an almost summerlike weekend for much of the Golden State, with some of the warmest temperatures we've experienced in some time in the forecast. So where will you go? Starting your adventure here is a smart plan; after all, so many national park journeys begin with a solid itinerary. You can also learn more about National Park Week while perusing that jam-packed and ways to celebrate our spectacular system of tree-riffic, cliff-gorgeous, wildlife-wonderful treasures. Earth Day is April 22, by the by, and many parks will offer volunteer opportunities and other special happenings. And sweet: National Junior Ranger Day is April 29, which is not a fee-free day at the parks but still in the swing of the celebratory week.

FEE-FREE DAYS... at the national parks happen across the calendar. Next up, after the start of National Park Week? Great American Outdoors Day on Aug. 5 is the date to circle on your national parks-themed calendar. National Public Lands Day follows on Sept. 23, with Veterans Day concluding the complimentary entry events on Nov. 11.

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