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Americans Can Visit U.S. National Parks For Free On These Dates In 2022

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U.S. national parks will remove their entry fees for 5 days in 2022.

During the previous two years, U.S. national parks have witnessed record attendees as Americans look for safe open spaces without restrictions. In 2021, Yellowstone set an attendance record in August, as it attracted over 920,000 recreational visitors. That’s a 5% increase from 2020.

Yellowstone national park 2021

Yellowstone received 4,472,982 recreation visits from January 2021 to September 2021. It’s the first time in history that Yellowstone has topped over 4 million visitors in a year. 

“We will continue working with our teams and partners to develop and implement appropriate short- and long-term actions for managing increasing visitation across the park,” said Superintendent Cam Sholly in a press release.

The Free Dates In 2022

The U.S. National Park Service has removed all entry fees at all U.S. national parks on the following dates:

  • Monday, January 17:  Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • Saturday, April 16: First day of National Park Week
  • Thursday, August 4: Anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act
  • Saturday, September 24:  National Public Lands Day
  • Friday, November 11: Veterans Day

There were 6 free days in U.S. national parks during 2021:

  • January 18: Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • April 17: First day of National Park Week
  • August 4: One-year anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act
  • August 25: National Park Service's 105th Birthday
  • September 25: National Public Lands Day
  • November 11: Veterans Day

The extra day was to honor the National Park Service’s 105 anniversary. The U.S National Park Service offers free days each year to encourage the public to explore America’s stunning natural beauty. 

The Beautiful Annual Pass

Americans who enjoy hiking and want to spend more time outdoors can purchase the Beautiful Annual Pass and save money on entry fees. The pass is $80 for one year and gives free access to all NPS-managed sites in the United States during the year. 

The National Park Service gives a discount for veterans, active military personnel, and people with disabilities. The pass is a ticket to over 2,000 federal recreation sites. 

How to purchase the pass:

  • If travelers are visiting in person, they’ll need to find a location to purchase the pass
  • Travelers can buy the pass online at the USGS store 
  • Travelers can purchase via phone: 888-ASK USGS (1-888-275-8747)

Top 3 Most Visited U.S. National Parks

1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park 

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the ultimate getaway for millions of Americans. Many Americans consider it the crown jewel of eastern U.S national parks. 

Travelers can witness bears, otters, deers, and foxes along the endless hiking trails. It’s the most visited national park in the U.S. 

2. Yellowstone National Park 

Yellowstone is the second-most visited national park in the U.S. In 2021, the national park attracted record visitor numbers. 

Visitors adore the stunning landscapes mixed with a thriving wolf population, thermal works, bison holdouts, and majestic hiking trails such as the Grand Canyon Rim hike. The national park offers resort villages, souvenir shops, and food courts. 

3. Zion National Park 

Zion National Park has become an internet sensation since the emergence of social media. Although many Americans criticize the enormous crowds at the various viewpoints, it’s still utterly breathtaking. 

The national park is easily accessible thanks to an effective public transport system. The best time to visit the national park is during fall, where you’ll avoid the millions of tourists in the summer months. Still, it's the third most-visited national park in the U.S.

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