It’s official: the National Park Service is over the hill. At over 100 years old, it has been celebrating the 50 states’ natural diversity from to sea to shining sea for a while now. Luckily for the rest of us, those breathtaking parks are open for free for 10 days in 2017, starting in January with Martin Luther King Jr. Day and rounding out the year on November 12 as part of Veterans Day weekend. The National Parks system is made up of over 400 national parks in the United States and its territories, but 120 of them regularly charge admission. Every year, the Park Service waives those admission fees, which range anywhere from $3 to $30, on select days, like National Public Lands Day (September 30) and National Park Week.
Need inspiration? Yellowstone, Crater Lake, Florida’s Dry Tortugas National Park, Denali National Park, and Joshua Tree National Park will all be free for visitors on these 10 special days and make for great day trips if you live in the area. If you’re looking for a nature-heavy family vacation, try to plan to visit over one of the free weekends, taking a page out of Condé Nast Traveler digital director Brad Rickman’s playbook—Airstream and all.
Mark your calendar now for trips to a local or far-flung national park on these dates in 2017:
- January 16: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
- February 20: Presidents’ Day
- April 15-16 and 22-23: Weekends of National Park Week
- August 25: National Park Service Birthday
- September 30: National Public Lands Day
- November 11-12: Veterans Day Weekend
Have a fourth-grader among the kids? Admission to all national parks is still free for a year and applies to the whole family, thanks to Every Kid in a Park—all you need to do is sign up for a voucher. Active duty military and citizens with a permanent disability can also get free passes year-round.