Get free entry to all national parks on Jan. 17 in honor of MLK Day

Entry to national wildlife refuges is also free

(Photo By: Education Images/UIG via Getty Images)

SAN ANTONIO – Entry to all federal public lands is free on Jan. 17 in commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

That means there is no cost to visit national parks and U.S.-owned wildlife refuges.

MLK Day is one of five days that entrance fees will be waived for federal public lands in 2022.

Free entry will also be offered on the following dates:

“Whether on an entrance fee-free day or throughout the year, we encourage everyone to discover their national parks and the benefits that come from spending time outdoors,” said National Park Service Director Chuck Sams. “National parks are for everyone and we are committed to increasing access and providing opportunities for all to experience the sense of wonder, awe and refreshment that comes with a visit to these treasured landscapes and sites.”

Many national parks don’t have entry fees ever, but of the more than 400 national parks, roughly 110 have fees that range from $5 to $35. Daily entrance fees will be waived for all day-use visitors at parks where admission fees are required.

Reserving day passes for state parks ahead of time is still encouraged as some parks are expected to reach their capacity limit.

In 2020, 237 million people visited national parks and spent $14.5 billion in local communities. This supported 234,000 jobs across the country and had a $28.6 billion impact on the U.S. economy, according to the National Park Service.

Free annual passes to more than 2,000 federal recreation areas, including all national parks, are available for military members and their dependents, veterans, Gold Star Families, fourth-grade students, and eligible NPS volunteers. U.S. citizens with a permanent disability can also obtain a free lifetime pass.

About the Author:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.