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2021 free entrance days for national parks

Above: Balanced Rock at Arches National Park in Utah. Photo by NPS/Kim DeGrazio⁣. Above left: Joshua trees at Joshua Tree National Park in California. Photo by NPS/ Emily Hassell. Left: A caver exploring an illuminated underground chamber within Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico. Photo by NPS / Dan Pawlak.

Entrance to America’s national parks — including the Grand Canyon — will be free on six days in 2021, starting with Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, Jan. 18. Other free entrance days this year are:

  • April 17: First day of National Park Week
  • Aug. 4: First anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act
  • Aug. 25: National Park Service’s birthday
  • Sept. 25: National Public Lands Day
  • Nov. 11: Veterans Day

The free entrance days are available at more than 400 National Park Service sites nationwide, including 22 in Arizona. Fourth grade students continue to have free access to national parks through the Every Kid Outdoors program (formerly Every Kid in a Park), which offers free admission to national parks for fourth graders and their families. Parents and educators can print passes at everykidoutdoors.gov. The passes admit all children ages 16 and younger and up to three adults per family. Passes are good for the duration of the fourth grader’s school year, expiring Aug. 31.

In 2020, fifth graders were also granted free access to national parks, wildlife refuges and other federal lands managed by the Department of the Interior through the current academic year, because some fourth graders were unable to make full use of the Every Kid Outdoors passes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Gold Star Families and active duty military continue to have free access to national parks.

The National Park Service also runs a Junior Ranger Program. Young visitors (typically ages 5-13, although anyone can participate) complete a series of activities during a park visit, share their answers with a park ranger and receive an official Junior Ranger patch or certificate. Learn more about all these programs at nps.gov/kids


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