Get free admission to all US National Park sites on Saturday, September 24

Get free admission to all US National Park sites on Saturday, September 24

(CNN) — It’s officially fall and the US National Park Service has a great way for people to celebrate the equinox this week and a return to cooler weather.

September 24 marks another free admission day for all National Park Service sites that normally charge an admission fee.

It was established in 1994 and is held annually on the fourth Saturday in September. The NPS says the day is “traditionally the largest one-day volunteer effort in the country.”

So what’s free?


Sunset at Arches National Park, Utah. Normally $30 per vehicle, the park has free admission on Saturdays.

aheflin/adobe stock

All entrance fees. That includes not only those national parks like Great Smoky Mountains, Yellowstone, and Yosemite, but all the other types of sites the NPS manages:

Click here for a full list of each NPS site, which it calls “units.”

One caveat: “The admission fee waiver for free days does not cover amenities or user fees for activities such as camping, boat launches, transportation, or special tours,” the NPS says.

Planning pays off

national park visiting tips boardwalk congaree

If you don’t like crowds, consider sites with fewer visitors, such as South Carolina’s Congaree National Park.

If you’re not much of a planner, it might be a good idea to develop the habit, especially if you want to see a popular NPS site on a day off.

If you have a particular site you want to visit, check the website first. For example, some major roads in Death Valley National Park have recently been closed (yes, desert areas can also suffer flood damage).

Missed this day off? In 2022 there will be one left: Friday 11 November (Veterans Day).

Top image: Badlands National Park in South Dakota. (Bernard Friel/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)


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