3 National Parks to Explore on Fee-Free Days

Did you know there are a handful of days every year when the entrance fee is waived at National Parks? Did you know Monday, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, is one of them?


So if you’re looking to enjoy the outdoors this weekend - here are some suggestions (all Northern / Central California local):


Yosemite National Park. The most obvious choice, I guess. It’s probably one of the most well known and has so much to do and see. Consider staying the night before in a small town right outside the park the night before - like Mariposa or Groveland.


Whiskeytown. A great place to check out if you want to be on or near the water. Plus it’s got waterfalls, trails and gold rush history. Stay the weekend in Redding and check out Turtle Bay Exploration Park too.


San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park. Got a kid who likes big ships? If you haven’t been here before - use one of these free days to explore the Maritime Park. When I was in elementary school we got to stay the night on the Balclutha - and it was an amazing experience.


The other days in 2017 that the Park fee is waived are listed below.


  • 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: Veteran’s Day Weekend
So either if you haven’t made plans for your long weekend yet - I hope these three choices spark some ideas. Or plan out a little further with one of the other free dates.
Did I miss your favorite National Park? Share it in the comments!

Ellen Martin

I'm a west-coast mama of two little ones, 15 months apart. This is our family story with reviews and recommendations along the way. Thanks for joining our journey.

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