Got it all here, free National Park days for 2020.
National Parks offer priceless beauty and for 5 days in 2020 the admission price will be priceless. When the National Park Service will waive the usual park admission. Though only about 100 sites of the 419 National Park Service sites charge admission ($3 to $35) and the remaining sites are free to enter year-round.
With iconic destinations like Mount Rushmore National Memorialor Grand Canyon National Park, your family can explore for free. Throw the tent in the SUV and it’s a budget vacation kids will remember for years. Most camping spots cost less than $30 a night and even gourmet marshmallows are a bargain when toasted over a campfire.
History of the National Park Service
The idea of a national park is an American innovation that the world has adopted. In 1872, Yellowstone National Park was set aside to protect and preserve it for future generations. On August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson created the National Park Service to govern the 35 national parks in the U.S. at the time.
Since then, the National Park Service has blossomed into 419 National Park Service sites. Withnational parks, national historical parks, national monuments, national recreation areas, national battlefields and national seashores, your family can find a site in your state.
Some parks feature vast, iconic scenery like Big Bend National Park in West Texas and Glacier National Park in Montana. Others are recognized for their historical significance like Texas’San Antonio Missions National Historical Park and San Juan Island National Historical Park in Washington.
Free National Park Days in 2020
The National Park Service charges reasonable fees for their parks, a week in Grand Canyon National Park is $30 for seven days. Though the National Park Service offers several fee-free days sprinkled throughout the year.
Note: Fee-free days does not include user fees like camping, boat launches, shuttle buses, ferry rides, parking fees and tour fees.
Free National Parks Day in 2020
|Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday||Monday, January 20, 2020|
|First Day of National Park Week & Junior Ranger Day||Saturday, April 18, 2020|
|National Park Service Birthday||Tuesday day, August 25, 2020|
|National Public Lands Day||Saturday, September 26, 2020|
|Veterans Day||Wednesday, November 11, 2020|
If you plan on visiting several national parks, an annual pass might be for you. I found several options and I’ve been an annual pass holder for years.
National Park Service Passes
Type of Pass
|America the Beautiful Annual Pass||All visitors||$80|
|Military Pass||Current U.S. military members and their dependents||Free|
|Every Kid in a Park Pass||U.S. 4th graders (including home-schooled and free-choice learners 10-years-old) EveryKidinaPark.gov||Free|
|Senior Lifetime Pass||U.S. citizens and permanent residents 62 years and older||$80 Lifetime Pass $20 Annual Pass|
|Access Pass||U.S. citizens and permanent residents with a permanent disability||Free|
|Volunteer Pass||Visitors volunteering 250 hours a year||Free|
More Free Fun in National Parks
Junior Ranger Program
Did you know that your kids could earn a Junior Ranger Badge at most National Park Service Sites for FREE (some parks charge $3 for the program booklet).
Junior Rangers are junior park rangers. Kids from 5 to 13 can join the ranks as they explore, learn and protect our national treasures. Most parks, over 200 national park sites in all, hand out free booklets specially designed for each park (a few parks charge $3 for the booklet). Kids complete educational exercises in their booklet as they experience the national park in a kid-friendly way.
Junior Ranger booklets are available at the park site’s visitor center.As we explore the park the Junior Ranger booklet points out the highlights. With activities like mazes, matching, word searches, my kids complete the majority of the booklet on their own.
After completing the required activities, the kids turn in their booklets to the Park Ranger on duty at the Visitor Center. Then Park Rangers will go over each booklet and discuss important features or history of the park.
Finally kids raise their hands to recite the Junior Ranger Oath promising to explore, learn and protect our parks. Then kids are encouraged to tell their friends at home about their experience. As a memento of their visit, each kid receives a free collectible badge or patch, depending on the park.
When you enter the park stop by the Visitor Center. Along with maps, interpretive displays and current information on hiking, the Visitor Center provides the availability of Ranger Programs. Presented by Park Rangers the free programs highlight the unique features of a National Park Service site.
Some National Park Service sites offer ranger programs especially for kids, Junior Ranger Programs.
Free National Park Souvenirs
After purchasing a National Park Service passport book, stamp your booklet with a free dated park stamp. Find it in the Visitor Center or Ranger Station at each park.
Know Before You Go:
- Since National Parks are popular destinations during school breaks and holidays, make reservations as early as possible.
- Reservations for lodging are available 13 months in advance.
- Parking can be an issue at popular destinations during the middle of the day.
- Watch your children at all times, many features have barricades kids can climb over.