Here's a summer pick-me-up for travelers who love the great outdoors: There are two times this month when the National Park Service will offer free admission to all 423 of its sites, and one of those days is Wednesday.
Entrance fees will be waived Aug. 4 at all national parks, national monuments, national recreation areas, national seashores, national battlefields and more in honor of Great American Outdoors Day. That's what the Department of the Interior has dubbed the one-year anniversary of the signing of the Great American Outdoors Act, which authorized up to $1.6 billion annually for five years for maintenance projects on public lands and at tribal schools.
It's one of six free entrance days at national parks this year. Here's what left:
- Aug. 25, the National Park Service's birthday
- Sept. 25, National Public Lands Day
- Nov. 11, Veterans Day
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How do I get into national parks for free?
The only thing visitors have to do is show up on free entrance days, except in places where reservations are required.
To help avoid overcrowding, this summer the National Park Service is requiring reservations at some of its most popular destinations, which include Yosemite National Park and Glacier National Park's Going-to-the-Sun Road. Reservations can be made at Recreation.gov.
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All year long, the park service offers free admission to several groups, including veterans, Gold Star Families, and U.S. citizens and permanent residents with permanent disabilities.
Additionally, fourth-graders and their families can get a year-long entrance pass through the Every Kid Outdoors program. This year, through the end of August, that program also includes fifth-graders who may not have been able to travel during fourth grade because of the pandemic.
What's not included?
While admission is waived on free entrance days, fees remain for camping, tours and other activities.
The Interior Department notes some parks may have restrictions and limited services. Not all sites may be open due to COVID-19 mitigation measures. Visitors can find the latest closures on the park service's active alerts webpage.
You can connect with Arizona Republic culture and outdoors reporter Shanti Lerner through email at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter.