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419 sites across the country are waiting for you — and entrance will cost a grand total of zero dollars

By Hannah Chubb
December 27, 2019 02:20 PM
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Half Dome is viewed from Glacier Point at sunset on October 5, 2019, in Yosemite National Park, California
Credit: George Rose/Getty

Ready to explore all this great nation has to offer but don’t want to break the bank while doing it? You may want to make note of the five special days in 2020 that the National Parks Service have deemed fee-free.

This year, you can enter any of the 419 sites across the country for a grand total of zero dollars on the following days: Jan. 20 (Martin Luther King Jr. Day), April 18 (First day of National Park Week/National Junior Ranger Day), Aug. 25 (National Park Service birthday), Sept. 26 (National Public Lands Day) and Nov. 11 (Veterans Day).

“Across the country, more than 400 national parks preserve significant natural and cultural areas, each one an important piece of our national identity and heritage,” said National Park Service Deputy Director David Vela in a statement. “Free entrance days serve as additional motivation for people to get outside and enjoy these places of inspiration and recreation.”

Joshua trees grow in front of massive rock formations in Joshua Tree National Park in California
Credit: Robert Alexander/Getty

Typically, 110 of the 419 National Park Service sites charge an entrance fee, which ranges from $5 to $35, while the rest are always free to enter. The National Park Service website offers a list of the 110 sites waiving their fees on Free Entrance Days, by state. (Fun fact: there’s at least one national park in every state!)

Amenity and user fees for activities will not be waived on fee-free days (such as for camping, special tours, etc.).

Clouds are reflected in Crater Lake in a view from a scenic overlook on the rim of the lake in Crater Lake National Park in Oregon. The lake, a water-filled caldera of an ancient volcano, was formed 7,700 years ago by the collapse of the volcano Mount Mazama.
Credit: Robert Alexander/Getty

Lovers of the great outdoors can also purchase an annual America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass for $80, which allows unlimited access to more than 2,000 recreation areas across the country — all national parks included.

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Ready to start planning your trip? The National Park Service website also offers a list of activities at each park— such as bird watching, hiking or fly fishing — so you can search by activity and find the park that offers it nearest to you.

South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, located in northwestern Arizona, is the 15th site in the United States to have been named a national park
Credit: Paul Harris/Getty

You can also check out PEOPLE’s guide to making the most of your vacation to a national park, courtesy of an editor who did it himself.