There are few times in life where you can actually get something for free. Thankfully, this is one of those times.
Two of the six free admission days planned by the National Park Service (NPS) this year are scheduled for August. Admission to any U.S. national park that typically charges a fee is free on Aug. 4 — a commemoration of the one-year anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act — and Aug. 25 — a celebration of the National Park Service’s birthday.
“I invite all Americans to experience the beauty and bounty of our nation’s public lands — not just on Aug. 4 but every day of the year,” U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland said in an announcement last week.
While many national parks are free to visit in the U.S., more than 100 collect an entrance fee to help fund park maintenance. And some of the country’s most popular national parks are among those that charge for admission, including the Grand Canyon in Arizona, Zion in Utah, and Yellowstone, which straddles Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho.
At national parks that do charge a fee, prices can be as high as $35 per vehicle, so picking the right day to visit can make your trip much cheaper.
Can’t make it to your dream national park in August? Don’t worry. Additional free days are planned for Sept. 25 and Nov. 11. And members of the military, fourth grade students, and U.S. citizens or permanent residents with permanent disabilities are also eligible for free national parks passes.
For others with multiple national parks on your wish list, an $80 pass offers access to hundreds of dreamy destinations.
Meena Thiruvengadam is a Travel + Leisure contributor who has visited 50 countries on six continents and 47 U.S. states. Find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.