Five Fee Free Days Announced by the National Park Service for 2019

Mark your calendars! The Department of Interior has announced the five fee free days for 2019! After having just four free days in 2018, the Parks added another day, giving us five fee free days to enjoy the National Parks and lands operated by the Department of Interior. The release of this information is always super exciting for us here at The Outdoor Society, as we get to share the information with you all! This year, head out on one of these days and share your love of public lands with someone new!

These five free entry days means that anyone and everyone can visit a National Park without having to pay the entrance fee. The National Park Service manages 418 individual units covering more than 84 million acres in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and US territories. While there are at least 19 naming designations, these units are commonly referred to as “parks.” The 2019 fee free dates are: 

  • January 21, 2019 (Martin Luther King Jr. Day)
  • April 20, 2019 (the first day of National Park Week)
  • August 25, 2019 (the National Park Service’s birthday)
  • September 28, 2019 (National Public Lands Day)
  • November 11, 2019 (Veterans Day)

On these five days, you’ll be able to enter any of the National Park System’s 418 parks at no cost. There are currently 115 parks that charge an entrance fee, so this helps visitors see the more popular park, free of charge. Of course, it is important to remember that the entrance fee waiver doesn’t include other costs like camping fees, boat launch fees, transportation fees or special tour payments. 

While these five free days are great news for those hoping to make the expensive trip to a National Park a little more affordable, we want to share a great idea on how to get the most for your money when visiting America’s National Parks. Known as the America the Beautiful Pass, this $80 expense is one of the smartest purchase you can make. For the cost of a movie and popcorn for a family of four, you can have unlimited access to the very best outdoor destinations. We laid out seven reason why you should buy an America the Beautiful Pass in a previous post.

Fee free days to National Parks started in 2003, and for the first half decade, only occurred twice a year at most. Then, according to NPS staff, from 2009 to 2017, the NPS offered between 8 and 17 fee-free national park days per year, including one free weekend of every month during the summer. That all changed in 2018, when the number was reduced to four fee free days. Luckily, another day has been added for 2019, which will hopefully be a growing trend to once again make parks more affordable and accessible for all. 


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By Doug and Mathias on the Olympic Peninsula, Washington State