No-Fee Entry: National Parks Honor MLK

Find your place of peace (and pay nothing to enjoy it).

NPS/Brad Sutton

MANY A CALENDAR... was given and received in the last few weeks, what with the holidays and all. And if it was an old-school calendar, and we mean the really awesomely vintage kind of calendar, then it likely came with a set of small stickers tucked into the last page. Those are the stickers that denote birthdays and anniversaries and other special days, and they're so completely handy, for remembering stuff, that it's a joy to find a calendar that still carries them (not the easy task). But among those birthday and anniversary stickers, it is almost impossible to find those stickers that say "free day at the national parks!" For one, that's a lot of words for a tiny calendar sticker, and, for two, we can only guess that the calender makers out there assume we all memorize, on New Year's Day, which parks will waive their admission fees on which dates throughout the year. And so we should, really; it's a treat to drive into a park that normally carries a fee without paying a thing for the day (unless you count paying attention to the surrounding beauty). Have you got your dates memorized for 2016? As to when your favorite park'll go free for the day? Then you know that...

MONDAY, JAN. 18... is day number one for the year. It's Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and the National Park Service waives all entrance fees in honor of the civil rights leader for the entire day. There are more to come, though not immediately (which you also know, since you memorized the park's free days): Mid-April is next up, in honor of National Park Week (April 16 through 24). And, as is tradition, Veterans Day, on Nov. 11, is the final no-admission-required day of the year at those parks with a fee. Of course, only 127 parks out of the 409 sites do charge a fee, so it is quite likely that your go-to spot is free to see any ol' day of the year. Why not see them all, though? If you've already memorized the fee-free days, best start memorizing every park name out there. It can be done. But can you visit every last one? (Many people are working on it, a fine and noble goal.)

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