If 2023 is the year where you finally get around to visiting one of the hundreds of incredible national parks this country has to offer AND you love a good bargain, you can do both, if you do a little advance planning.

The National Park Service has unveiled its entrance fee-free days for the year.


  • January 16: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • April 22: First Day of National Park Week
  • August 4: Great American Outdoors Day
  • September 23: National Public Lands Day
  • November 11: Veterans Day
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Currently, about 100 of the more than 400 national parks charge an admission fee. They range anywhere from $5 to $35 per vehicle.

The top dollar fees are in effect at the most popular destinations like the Grand Canyon (AZ), Yellowstone (WY), Zion (UT), and Yosemite National Parks (CA).

Only one of South Dakota's national parks, Badlands National Park, charges an entry fee ($30 per vehicle). Wind Cave National Park does not.

Minnesota's lone national park, Voyageurs National Park, is free to enter.

In 2021, 297 million people visited national parks and spent $20.5 billion in local communities. This supported 322,600 jobs across the country and had a $42.5 billion benefit to the U.S. economy.

LOOK: Must-do activities at every national park

Stacker lists the must-do activities at every national park ranked by the annual number of visitors. 

RANKED: Here are the most popular national parks

To determine the most popular national parks in the United States, Stacker compiled data from the National Park Service on the number of recreational visits each site had in 2020. Keep reading to discover the 50 most popular national parks in the United States, in reverse order from #50 to #1. And be sure to check with individuals parks before you visit to find out about ongoing, pandemic-related safety precautions at www.nps.gov/coronavirus.

LOOK: Stunning vintage photos capture the beauty of America's national parks

Today these parks are located throughout the country in 25 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The land encompassing them was either purchased or donated, though much of it had been inhabited by native people for thousands of years before the founding of the United States. These areas are protected and revered as educational resources about the natural world, and as spaces for exploration.

Keep scrolling for 50 vintage photos that show the beauty of America's national parks.

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