Free Park Days in Federal and Minnesota Park and Recreation Areas

Kathleen Riley

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Labrador retriever and Chinook visiting a park.Kathleen Riley

Free Park Days - All Minnesota State Parks and Recreation Areas

Minnesota state parks are open year-round, and most Minnesotans have a state park within 30 miles. The parks and recreation areas offer a free day in all four seasons, and it's an excellent chance to get outside and explore anytime. Spend a few hours or stay for the whole weekend. You'll be making a lifetime of memories!

No vehicle permits will be required to enter the 75 Minnesota state park and recreation areas on the Free Park Days.

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2022 Free Park Days:

  • Saturday, February 19
  • Saturday, April 23
  • Saturday, June 11
  • Friday, November 25

National Parks also have FREE park days. The free admission days encourage discovery and visitation of the country's variety of national parks. With at least one National Park in every state, national parks are accessible places to visit to refresh body, mind, and spirit.

The free National Park entrance dates for 2022 are:

National parks have something for everyone. You'll be able to be low-key with a relaxing picnic to a thrilling white-water adventure and everything in between, including walking, camping, fishing, stargazing, swimming, and paddling. Some of the parks have demonstrations, and cultural site programs connect us with traditions. You'll have the opportunity to learn about notable people and their contributions to society at historical sites. If you prefer a wilder side, you can view wildlife in their natural habitats and see geological wonders.

National Park visitors are encouraged to begin their trip to a national park with a stop at NPS.gov or the NPS app to help plan and prepare. Online you can find tips to help you Plan Like a Park Ranger and Recreate Responsibly. It is essential to know what is open and available before you go, especially if you are interested in staying overnight. Follow the Leave No Trace principles no matter which activities you are enjoying. National parks belong to all of us, and everyone needs to do their part to help preserve and protect them now and into the future.

The entrance fee waiver for the fee-free days applies only to National Park Service entrance fees. It does not cover amenity or user fees for activities like camping, boat launches, transportation, or special tours.

Most national parks do not have entrance fees at all. Of the more than 400 National Parks, about 110 have an admission fee ranging from $5-$35. All of the money provided by entrance fees remain in the National Park Service, and 80-100% stays in the park where collected.

The funds directly support the visitor experience by providing programs and services, habitat restoration, and building maintenance and repair. In 2020, the National Parks collected $170 million in entrance fees. Entrance fees and other funding sources such as the Great American Outdoors Act, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, Federal Transportation Program, and the Cyclic Maintenance program are part of a concerted effort to address the extensive maintenance backlog in national parks.

In 2020, 237 million people visited national parks and spent $14.5 billion in local communities. These visitors supported 234,000 jobs across the country and had a $28.6 billion impact on the U.S. economy.

Free annual passes to more than 2,000 federal recreation areas, including all national parks, are available for U.S. military members and their dependents, U.S. Military veterans, Gold Star Families, fourth-grade students, and eligible NPS volunteers.

There are other specials available:

  • U.S. Citizens with a permanent disability can obtain a free lifetime pass. U.S. Citizens 62 years and older can purchase an $80 lifetime pass or a $20 annual pass.
  • The annual $80 America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass is an excellent option for those who visit multiple parks each year.
  • Those traveling with pass holders can usually also enter parks for free.

Other federal land management agencies offering their fee-free days in 2022 are the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Forest Service, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 423 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov, and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

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Life is a dog and pony show! Pet Friendly Traveler, Photographer, Videographer, Equestrian, Foodie, Butterfly Wrangler and seeker of dead people.

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