National Park Week

Photo: NPS/Tobiason

If you love public lands, get ready to celebrate National Park Week.

The national park system has been called “America’s best idea”—it’s that good. And that’s why, every spring, the National Park Service and its nonprofit partner, the National Park Foundation, put on a week’s worth of events, outreach, and inspiration called National Park Week. The celebration encourages Americans to discover their national parks, whether that’s through an in-person visit or by engaging with them virtually and learning about what they protect and preserve for inspiration for a future trip. It’s an excellent opportunity to share your love for your favorite parks—and perhaps find your new favorite. Here’s what you need to know to take part.

When is National Park Week?

In 2023, it runs from April 22 to April 30.

How much does it cost?

In honor of National Park Week, the NPS waives entrance fees on April 22—so a visit to a park is free. On the other days of the week, you’ll just pay the regular entrance fee (which is usually good for seven days). Using the National Park Week online tools is always free.

Wait, a free entrance day? Is this the only one this year?

Nope! The NPS offers several free days throughout the year. For the rest of 2023, these days are: August 4 (the anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act), September 23 (National Public Lands Day), and November 11 (Veterans Day).

When did National Park Week get started?

The very first one debuted in 1991 in honor of the NPS’s 75th anniversary, and proved so popular that it became an annual celebration. The Find Your Park tools and hashtag launched in 2016 for the NPS Centennial, and remain part of the event as well. 

What’s going on this year?

The NPS plans a series of fun and educational events across the country. They might include ranger-led hikes and tours, traditional craft demos, or special boat or wagon rides. The week also traditionally includes National Junior Ranger Day for kids and National BARK Ranger day for dogs. Check the National Park Week website for an up-to-date schedule of this year’s plan. 

What are the virtual elements to National Park Week?

Don’t worry if you can’t make it to a national park in person—there are plenty of ways to participate virtually, too. Check out the Find Your Park tool to plan your next trip by searching for parks by location, activity, and park type. The Find Your “Virtual” Park page features webcams, photo galleries, podcasts, kids’ activities, games, and live presentations. And you can also join the fun via social media by sharing national park photos and memories with the hashtags #NationalParkWeek, #FindYourPark, and #EncuentraTueParque.

This year, National Park Service staff is asking you to share "your park story". Share your special connections with national parks using #MyParkStory and follow the stories of others using #YourParkStory.

All articles are for general informational purposes.  Each individual’s needs, preferences, goals and abilities may vary.  Be sure to obtain all appropriate training, expert supervision and/or medical advice before engaging in strenuous or potentially hazardous activity.