TEXAS (NEXSTAR) — With the fall colors starting to come in, and cooler winter months not long off, you may be trying to get out and enjoy the weather. You’ll have a great opportunity on Saturday, Sept. 23 when all U.S. national parks will be free to enter.
Saturday is one of five days the National Park Service is waiving admission fees for in 2023.
We’ve already had three free days this year: January 16, which is Martin Luther King Day; April 22, which was the first day of National Park Week; and August 4, marking the anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act.
September 23 is the fourth free admission day, which was enacted to recognize National Public Lands Day.
According to NPS, National Public Lands Day was established in 1994 and has been held on the fourth Saturday of September every year. It is, traditionally, the U.S.’s largest single-day volunteer effort, encouraging people to connect with the nature spaces in their community.
In addition to visiting national parks for free, everyone is encouraged to volunteer to restore and preserve public lands around them.
While you won’t need to pay a fee to get into the national parks, fees are still required for overnight camping, cabin rentals, transportation, group day use and use of special areas.
There are 109 national parks that charge an entrance fee, according to NPS. That includes some of the most popular parks, like Zion, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Rocky Mountain, Olympic, Lake Mead, Hawai’i Volcanoes, the Grand Canyon, Denali, and the Everglades.
Park rangers are reminding visitors that Big Bend is a desert park and that midday activity is not recommended, that they should protect themselves from the sun, carry extra water, and check their tires. In the low and mid-elevations, temperatures can reach well over 100 degrees.
Padre Island visitors should also be aware that natural tar balls and patties are washing into the national seashore. You can clean tar off the skin by washing it with soap and water, using baby oil, or using mineral oil.
The next free admission day is November 11 in honor of Veterans Day.
Last year, there were roughly 312 million recreational visits to 395 national parks that track attendance, a 15 million increase over 2021. The most visited park was Blue Ridge Parkway, which received 15.7 million visits last year, edging out the Golden Gate National Recreation Area by slightly more than 72,000 visits.