National Parks Ramp-Up Fee-Free Weekends


The nation’s hundreds of scenic national parks will get a bit cheaper this weekend, July 18-19, and again on August 15-16, when the National Park Service ( revives popular fee-free weekends. That means that all of the USA’s 391 national parks will waive entrance fees; about half of the parks normally charge for entry, with fees ranging up to $25 per car in some parks.

In line with the fee-waiver promotion, some in-park concessionaires are offering discounts on goods and services. However, travelers should note that commercial, in-park fees charged by the likes of tour operators and campsite operators not run by the National Park Service are not waived.

Still, the fee-free weekends are a good deal. They further open up spectacular properties such as California’s Yosemite National Park, which ordinarily charges $20 entry per car, and sweeps aside the $15 fee for entering Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park and the $15 for the Lake Powell/Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, in Utah.

At Lake Powell, park concessionaire Aramark Parks and Destinations is offering 50 percent off the second ticket for boat tours of the famous Rainbow Bridge, while at Shenandoah, Aramark is offering 50 percent off the price of a Sunday night room when a Saturday night stay is booked at the regular rate.

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