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Know Your National Park Free Days For 2016

Are you antsy to start planning your next RV vacation? If so, you can kick off your travel planning by adding these national park free days to your 2016 calendar.

Park entry fees aren’t what they used to be!

national park free days

Each year the U.S. National Park Service has a number of free days that let you enter fee-based parks at no charge. But next year is a big deal for the U.S. National Park Service – it’s turning a century old, and to kick off the milestone, parks are waiving entry fees on 16 different days at all 127 sites that charge admission.

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“Fee-free days provide an extra incentive to visit a national park, especially during next year’s centennial celebration,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis in a press release “We added extra fee-free days so that everyone has a chance to join the party. With locations in every state, finding a national park is easy. The hard part might be deciding which ones to visit.”

National Park Free Days in 2016

  • January 18 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • April 16 through 24 – National Park Week
  • August 25 through 28 – National Park Service Birthday (and following weekend)
  • September 24 – National Public Lands Day
  • November 11 – Veterans Day

With over 84 million acres and 409 official sites, from national parks like the Grand Canyon to national seashores like along the Texas’ Padre Island National Seashore, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to experience each notable location and pocket the entry fees – or why not donate it to the National Parks Foundation? You’ll save as much as $20 per visit depending on the park’s fee structure. Keep in mind however that fees are not waived for campsites, lodging, tours, concessions, etc.

Destination Ideas for Fee-Free National Parks

Get your RV gassed up, stocked up and ready to go explore our National Parks during fee free days. Here’s a sample itinerary of great destinations to consider.

January 18, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Escape winter’s wrath by pointing your rig south to the largest subtropical wilderness in the U.S., Florida Everglades National Park. Make camping reservations as soon as possible though – this place is well-loved by snowbirds in the colder months.

April 16 through 24 – National Park Week

Shake off the cold weather chills by jumping into spring at a national park like Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Since kids are still in school, the park won’t be nearly as busy as the summer months, but make a camping reservation to ensure a spot.

See the Smokies without crowds – free!

national park free days

August 25 through 28 – National Park Service Birthday (and the following weekend)

During this monumental week for the Park Service, why not go west to the Colorado Rockies and visit Rocky Mountain National Park? As one of the most popular and spectacular sites in the entire National Park Service, you’ll have over 415 square miles to experience the best high altitude scenery in the U.S.

September 24 – National Public Lands Day

Give back to our nation’s land stewards by pitching in to help keep our parks beautiful on this public awareness day. Since the leaves will be turning in many parts of the country, consider joining a beach cleanup project where fall colors will be blazing at this time of year, like Acadia National Park in Maine.

November 11 – Veterans Day

What better way to thank our veterans than by helping to preserve our national military history at places like Vicksburg National Military Park in Mississippi? This historic spot was a turning point in the Civil War and it makes a great base for deciding where you’ll go in the colder months ahead.

national park free days

Still not sure where to spend those national park free days in 2016? Visit, a project of the National Park Service and National Park Foundation to help pinpoint great places to explore in the U.S.

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