Free Admission to National Parks August 14-15

August 4, 2010, 9:27 am

The National Park Service will waive entrance fees on August 14 and 15 to encourage all Americans to visit our national parks.

This means FREE entry to the 146 National Park Service sites across the country that normally charge admission fees, which range from $3 to $25. Many parks across the country will also hold free events on August 14 and 15. A sampling of offerings include:

    • Ranger-led programs with free instruction and equipment loans for those who want to get wet. Enjoy snorkeling at Cape Cod, kayaking at DeSoto, or canoeing in Congaree or Big Cypress. Prefer to simply chill out near the water? Bring your blanket to one of the 50 parks with beaches.

    • Watch history come to life at military encampments and firing demonstrations at Antietam, Gettysburg, Fort Laramie, Fort McHenry, Fort Vancouver, Fort Stanwix, Fort Matanzas, Kings Mountain, Wilson Creek, Kennesaw Mountain, and Yorktown.

    • Dance or tap your toes to the sounds of the Pig War Band at San Juan Island, Cajun music at Jean Lafitte, Ojibwe music at Grand Portage, mountain music on the Blue Ridge Parkway, folk songs at Carl Sandburg, classical music at Saint-Gaudens, or dulcimer music on the Natchez Trace Parkway.

Meanwhile, many park partners including tour operators, hotels, restaurants, gift shops, and other vendors will offer additional discounts and special promotions on those dates. There are also deals to be had that weekend in gateway communities located near the parks.

“I encourage everyone to take advantage of the free admission to visit not only our greatest natural wonders but also our nation’s historic and cultural icons,” said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, who announced the fee-free weekend earlier this month.

In addition to the parks waiving fees on August 14 and 15, there are 246 other parks that do not have entrance fees. The fee free waiver does not include other fees collected in advance or by contractors—such as fees charged for camping, reservations, tours and use of concessions.

A full list of free parks and other discounts is availabe online.