Free Stuff: Weekends at National Parks


Road trippers and vacationing locals alike can spend three free weekends at more than one hundred national parks throughout the summer thanks to a deal from the National Park Service.

Free Weekend Fun
The National Park Service will waive entrance fees, typically between $3 and  $25, at 147 sites including the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, and Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming and Montana. (See here for a full list.) The free days include Father’s Day weekend from June 20 to 21, the weekend of July 18 to 19 and again from Aug. 15 to 16.

“During these tough economic times, our national parks provide opportunities for affordable vacations for families,” Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said last week at a press conference at Cuyahoga Valley National Park. “I encourage everyone to visit one of our nation’s crown jewels this summer and especially to take advantage of the three free-admission weekends.”

Park Goodies and Deals
Parks will also be offering free goodies and deals, like a free reusable shopping bag available at several parks, and free houseboat rides at Lake Mead in Nevada and Arizona and Lake Amistad in Texas. 

Package deals and other promotions will also be available on fee-free weekends. (The Park Service has another handy list here.)

Example: Families going fishing at the Echo Bay Resort at Lake Mead can get a one-day fishing boat rental, a free bag of ice, free bait and a 20% discount on purchases at the Marina Store (except on alcohol and tobacco), an estimated $100 value, for $50.

For more on the attractions available at national parks, visit

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