Blog Post Linda Coutant Apr 2, 2024

Free Entrance Day for National Park Week 2024

Did you know national parks have their own holiday? They do! And this year’s nine-day celebration starts April 20 with waived entrance fees — plus a variety of park events through April 28.

National parks come in different shapes, sizes and naming designations. The National Park Service sponsors National Park Week each year to celebrate all of them — and everything about them.

Here are six ways park supporters can join the celebration April 20-28.

1. Get in parks for free April 20.

Yes, you read that correctly! Saturday, April 20, is a free entrance day at parks that normally charge a fee to enter.

What a great way to explore a new park or an old favorite while kicking off the National Park Service’s annual celebration. Just be aware that visitors still need to pay user fees associated with camping, boat launches and other amenities while in the park.

2. Celebrate ParkRx Day on April 20 — it will do your body good (and mind, too!).

The outdoors offer a healing power, which is why a growing number of healthcare providers refer patients to nature and national parks for their health. Research indicates that spending time in nature lowers cortisol and blood pressure, as well as levels of stress, depression and anxiety.

On ParkRx Day April 20, the Park Service encourages folks to boost their well-being by getting outside. Whether it’s for 10 minutes, 30 minutes or an hour or more, you can fill your “park prescription” in your favorite park with self- or ranger-led activities. The Park Service’s Healthy Parks Healthy People initiative shares more information on how nature benefits us and how to get a dose of it.

3. Join the fun at ‘Camp NPCA’ on social media all week.

NPCA’s National Park Week theme, “Camp NPCA,” will evoke all the nostalgia and fun of summer camp with a national park protection twist. Activities packed into April 20-28 include two free in-person park events (they’re currently full, but you’re welcome to join the waitlist), campfire chats with NPCA’s resident experts, giveaways of camp essentials on social media, and more.

Keep an eye out for a brand-new T-shirt design from NPCA’s Park Store. And if you’re one of the 200 first members to join NPCA during Park Week, we’ll have something extra special for you. Be sure to keep up with the fun on your favorite social media platforms: Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter/X and Facebook.

4. Honor Earth Day and national parks at the same time April 22.

Earth Day is Monday, April 22, and exploring national parks is a natural way to celebrate.

Brandywine Falls in spring

Brandywine Falls is one of the top attractions of Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

camera icon NPS / D.J. Reiser

The first Earth Day was in 1970, created in part because of a pollution-caused fire on the Cuyahoga River the year before. Greater attention to our natural resources since then — thanks to the Clean Water Act, Environmental Protection Agency and ongoing work by environmental organizations, including NPCA — this Ohio river and other waterways in the U.S. are much, much cleaner.

You can see for yourself at Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

You can listen to an NPCA podcast to learn more about restoration efforts at Cuyahoga.

5. Get children involved in National Junior Ranger Day April 27.

The Park Service’s Junior Ranger program gets its own special day Saturday, April 27. Many parks will have special programming for youngsters as part of National Park Week. Check out the activities and events.

6. Volunteer at a national park — or say ‘thank you’ to someone who does.

National Volunteer Week coincides with National Park Week, and there are thousands of volunteer projects and special events April 21-27, whether online, at a visitor center or on a trail.

You can learn more about volunteering with the Park Service or find a volunteer event. If you’re visiting a national park, offer a word of thanks to the volunteers you meet for the work they do to support our parks. If you’re a proud volunteer, the Park Service encourages you to share your experience on social media with the tags #NPSVolunteer, #MyParkStory and #NVW.

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About the author

  • Linda Coutant Staff Writer

    As staff writer on the Communications team, Linda Coutant manages the Park Advocate blog and coordinates the monthly Park Notes e-newsletter distributed to NPCA’s members and supporters.