Lonely Planet Writer

This is when you can visit US national parks for free in 2018

If your New Year’s resolution is to get out and enjoy the Great Outdoors more in 2018, then mark your calendar with the free entry days at all US national parks.

Girls watch the sun set over the Yosemite Valley. Image by Matthew Micah Wright/Getty Images

The National Park Service has announced that the fees at all national parks will be waived on four days in 2018. Normally, 118 of the 417 national parks around the country charge between about $3 and $30, while the other 299 national parks are free all the time.

Eroded rock formations at Badlands National Park. Image by ©Mark Read/Lonely Planet

The first chance to take advantage of the offer is 15 January, or Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The other free days are 21 April to mark the first day of National Park Week, 22 September for National Public Lands Day, and 11 November for Veterans Day.

The National Parks service also offers annual passes, like the $80 America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass, which allows unlimited entrance to all national parks as well as more than 2000 federal recreation areas. Free and discounted passes are available for seniors, members of the military, people with disabilities, and the families of fourth grade students.

Cowboy on horseback near John Moulton Barn in Grand Teton National Park. Image by ©Mark Read/Lonely Planet

There is at least one national park in every state, meaning travellers can see incredible places around the country, like the stunning rock formations in Utah’s Arches National Park or the snow-covered peaks of Denali.

“National parks connect all of us with our country’s amazing nature, culture and history,” said National Park Service deputy director Michael T. Reynolds in a statement. “The days that we designate as fee-free for national parks mark opportunities for the public to participate in service projects, enjoy ranger-led programs, or just spend time with family and friends exploring these diverse and special places.” So start planning your 2018 trip to US national parks now.