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By Brad Tuttle
April 21, 2018
Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah.
Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah.
Sean Gallup—Getty Images

You can take advantage of the great outdoors, including America’s national parks, for free this weekend — just in time forEarth Day 2018.

All national parks will have free admission on Saturday, April 21, to kick off National Park Week 2018. Take advantage of the free national parks deal if you can — because park admission fees are rising, and the number of fee-free days at national parks in 2018 is far more limited than it’s been in the past.

Each year, the National Park Service (NPS) announces which days the national parks have free admission for all visitors. In 2015, which was a fairly typical year, there were nine free days. When the National Park Service celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2016, the organization was particularly generous, with 16 free days, including the entirety of National Park Week.

In 2018, the NPS is being stingy with fee-free days. Park visitors get free admission only on the first day of National Park Week 2018 (Saturday, April 21), and there are only four days in total this year with free admission to national parks that usually charge entrance fees. The fee-free days in 2018 are:

• January 15 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
• April 21 – First Day of National Park Week
• September 22 – National Public Lands Day
• November 11 – Veterans Day

What’s more, if you miss out on the scant few free admission days in 2018, you can soon expect to be paying more to get into America’s national parks. Trump administration officials recently announced entrance fees would rise by $3 to $10 at many national parks.

Entrance costs will rise for a total of 117 national parks, and most parks will see a $5 price hike. Admissions fees for a vehicle to popular national parks such as Bryce Canyon, Glacier, Grand Canyon, Rocky Mountain, Yellowstone, and Yosemite, will rise from $30 to $35 as of June 1, 2018.

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The purpose of this disclosure is to explain how we make money without charging you for our content.

Our mission is to help people at any stage of life make smart financial decisions through research, reporting, reviews, recommendations, and tools.

Earning your trust is essential to our success, and we believe transparency is critical to creating that trust. To that end, you should know that many or all of the companies featured here are partners who advertise with us.

Our content is free because our partners pay us a referral fee if you click on links or call any of the phone numbers on our site. If you choose to interact with the content on our site, we will likely receive compensation. If you don't, we will not be compensated. Ultimately the choice is yours.

Opinions are our own and our editors and staff writers are instructed to maintain editorial integrity, but compensation along with in-depth research will determine where, how, and in what order they appear on the page.

To find out more about our editorial process and how we make money, click here.

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