Entry to Big Bend, Padre Island National Seashore and other national parks will be free on these days in 2024

The first fee-free day is Jan. 15 for Martin Luther King Jr. Day

An RV camp sits within the Chisos Basin of the Big Bend National Park on October 16, 2016 in West Texas. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images) (John Moore, 2016 Getty Images)

The National Park Service has announced the days when visitors can get into dozens of national parks for free in the new year.

The entrance fee-free days for 2024 are:

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On those days, the entry fee is waived, but fees still apply for camping, boat launches, transportation, special tours or other activities.

“National parks are places that awaken senses, inspire curiosity, encourage reflection, and foster joy,” National Park Service Director Chuck Sams said in a news release. “The entrance fee-free days expand opportunities for people to visit their national parks and experience the beauty and history of our country.”

Not every national park has an entrance fee — more than 300 of 400 national parks are free — but those that do charge can cost between $10 and $35.

The revenue supports park upgrades, ranger programs, the restoration of wildlife habitats, maintenance and more.

There are 14 national parks in Texas, including the popular Big Bend National Park, Padre Island National Seashore and Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

San Antonio is home to the four NPS sites — Missions Concepción, San José, San Juan and Espada, located on the South Side along the San Antonio River. The Missions are also the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Texas.

The Missions have free entry every day of the year. In Texas, the national parks that do have an entry fee are:

People who want to visit national parks several days out of the year can buy the $80 America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass, which covers entry at more than 2,000 federal recreation areas and national parks.

NPS also offers a variety of discounts for certain people, like members of the military, fourth-grade students, individuals with permanent disabilities, and senior citizens.

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About the Author

Rebecca Salinas is an award-winning digital journalist who joined KSAT in 2019. She reports on a variety of topics for KSAT 12 News.

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