U.S. National Parks, Including Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon, Will Be Free on MLK Day — and 4 Other Days This Year

Wolfgang Kaehler | Getty Images

If you've been looking for an excuse to visit one of America's more than 400 national parks, now is your chance.

The US National Park Service will be offering no-cost admission to all of its parks, including Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon and Zion National Park on Monday, Jan. 16 as part of its 2023 "fee-free days."

Though a majority of the nation's parks are free year-round, roughly 100 of them have entrance fees ranging from $5 to $35 depending on the location.

The Colorado River wraps around Horseshoe Bend in the in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area in Page, Arizona.
Rhona Wise | Afp | Getty Images
The Colorado River wraps around Horseshoe Bend in the in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area in Page, Arizona.

An NPS spokesperson told CNBC Make It that visitors to the parks on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day will not need to do anything to get in for free.

"When they arrive at the park, they simply are not required to pay the fee at an entrance station or visitor center," they said.

The spokesperson said that parks close to large population centers tend to see an increase in attendance on fee-free days, but noted that weather conditions also play a role when it comes to the number of people who come on a given day.

While visitors to the parks will be able to get in at no cost, they will still need to pay any fees associated with camping, boat launching, tours and activities in the park.

The NPS says that the fee-free days are part of an effort to increase access to the parks as well as to "promote the advantages of outdoor recreation" to the public.

"National parks are really amazing places and we want everyone to experience them," NPS director Chuck Sams said in a statement announcing the free 2023 dates. "The entrance fee-free days encourage people to discover the beauty, history and inspiration awaiting them ... throughout the country." 

What days are National Parks free in 2023?

  • Monday, January 16 (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day)
  • Saturday, April 22 (The start of National Park Week)
  • Friday, August 4 (Great American Outdoors Day)
  • Saturday, September 23 (National Public Lands Day)
  • Saturday, November 11 (Veterans Day)

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