National Park Service

It's the First National Parks Free Day of 2020

Visit an iconic destination in honor of the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.

David McNew/Getty Images

JANUARY JOURNEY: Of all the months of the year, January is the most journey-ready of all. Well, true: We're busy, and we're back in school, after the holiday break, and many of us are back at work, too, and the weather doesn't always make an on-the-road adventure possible. But our inner journeys? They're in full flower as the first month powers up, thanks to our year-starting reflections, our resolutions, and our desire to connect with larger ideas, places, and emotions. Connecting with the very first free day on the National Park Service calendar is a good bridge to deeper places, thanks to the fact that it honors the legacy of a person who inspired millions to live their higher ideals: Martin Luther King, Jr.

MONDAY, JAN. 20... is the day we'll come together to observe the birthday of the civil rights leader in 2020, and all fee-charging national parks will join in, inviting visitors inside, for free. That means if you'd like to call upon Joshua Tree National Park, or Death Valley National Park, or the valleys and higher reaches of Yosemite, you can do so on that day without pausing at the gate to hand over cash (but do, of course, gather the good-to-have information the gate staff provides). Keep in mind, and moreover in your heart, that many visitors will serve as volunteers in the parks during this free day, as the occasion is observed as a day of service.

CAN YOU PARTICIPATE... in an improvement project at your favorite park? Start here and learn more about what's happening on Jan. 20, and the other National Park Service free days to come in 2020.

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