As you settle into the long winter, now is the time to daydream about your 2017 RVing adventures. So, if your bucket list includes any of America’s national parks and you’re a frugal RVer, plan your trips around the 2017 national parks free entry days.
2017 National Parks Free Entry Days
On ten specific days, you can get in free to any of the 124 national parks that charge entry fees. Mark your calendars for these 2017 national parks free entry days and save up to $30 on each fee-free day:
- 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
Even popular national parks like Yosemite and Glacier will waive entry fees on these designated days. National parks with zero entrance fees range from Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to Olympic National Park in Washington state as well as many locations around the U.S.
The complimentary entrance permit for those days is good for the usual amount of time, sometimes as long as 14 days. Remember, payment is still required for campsites and incidentals.
Three Ways to Take Advantage of 2017 National Parks Free Entry Days
Each year America’s national parks set new records. For the last several years, park attendance figures surpassed previous years’ numbers. According to National Park Service visitation statistics, more than 305 million individual visits happened in all of America’s parks in 2015. When officials release 2016 visitation statistics, this figure will likely go even higher. As you plan RV trips around 2017 national parks free entrance days, keep these three key tips in mind:
1. Don’t Visit Popular Parks During the High Season
For example, don’t arrive at Rocky Mountain National Park on the August 25 fee-free day. Instead, plan a Rocky Mountain fall color adventure. Consequently, you can get in free on September 30 and enjoy a wider range of available campsites, less crowds on trails and in town.
2. Mark your Calendar for the First Day you can Reserve Campsites
Most national parks allow visitors to reserve campsites up to six months in advance of arrival. For example, if you want to visit Yosemite National Park on the April 15-16 or 22-23 free entry days, the first day you can reserve a campsite for that time frame is December 15 of this year. Many RV trip planning apps are also a great source to prepare for a trip.
3. Visit Less Popular Parks and Monuments
Simply trek to parks you rarely hear about. Locations like Wupatki National Monument in Arizona and Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve in Idaho offer experiences equal to more popular nearby parks with fewer campers and crowds.
The National Park Service website is a great source to take advantage of the fee-free days. What`s more, the 2015 Annual Park Ranking Report study is another way to discover parks you haven`t visited before. Further, make sure to check out the top five attractions of the National Park Service from this report (there are 368 in total) and start planning for your next RV trip.