Was one of your New Year’s resolutions to get outside more? If so, now is a great time to start planning your next visit to Zion National Park. The Zion vacation home rentals at Watchman Villas are the perfect basecamp for your outdoor adventure. Spend your days enjoying a stunning hike and making memories with your family. Then, spend your evenings relaxing in style, cooking up homemade meals, or maybe competing in a fun family game night.
If you’re looking to save a little money on your next visit to Zion, or to your local national park site, you’re in luck; there are a few ways to get into a national park for free in 2023. From National Park Free Entrance Days to annual passes, we’re breaking down a few ways to get into a national park for free this year. Keep reading to learn more!
Free Entrance Days in the National Parks
Every year, the National Park Service hosts a handful of Free Entrance Days. These dates usually align with national holidays or dates with a connection to the National Park Service.
On these dates, entrance fees for all 63 national parks are waived for all visitors. Entrance fees are also waived for entrance into other national park sites managed by the National Park Service. This includes national battlefields, military parks, historical sites, memorials, recreation areas, and a number of other sites.
In 2023, there will be five National Park Free Entrance Days. These include:
- January 16: The birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
- April 22: The first day of National Park Week
- August 4: The anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act
- September 23: National Public Lands Day
- November 11: Veterans Day
While entrance fees are waived on these dates, other charges for amenities or activities, like boat launches, camping, or special tours, are not.
National Park Annual Passes
Do you visit several national parks a year or love to travel to new ones? Or maybe you plan to visit the same national park multiple times a year? If so, you can get an annual pass that allows access to every national park site in the country for one year. And for certain visitors, this pass may be free.
Current U.S. Military Members
Current U.S. military members and their dependents are eligible for a free Military Annual Pass. This pass can be obtained at certain federal recreation sites, and online at the USGS Online Store. Ordering your pass online will require you to pay shipping and processing charges. You’ll need a valid photo ID to prove your military service. This pass is valid for one year. It can be renewed each year that a person remains in active military service.
U.S. Veterans and Gold Star Families
Gold Star Families and U.S. military veterans with a valid veteran ID can get a Military Lifetime Pass. This pass can also be obtained at certain federal recreation sites, and online at the USGS Store. This pass does not need to be renewed each year and is instead valid for the cardholder’s lifetime.
U.S. 4th Graders and Their Families
In 2015, the Every Kid in the Outdoors initiative was launched. The program was designed to get children and their families exploring our nation’s national parks and discovering the wildlife, resources, and history found in them.
As a part of this program, every U.S. 4th-grade student is eligible for the free 4th Grade Pass for the national parks. This includes free-choice learners and home-schooled children who are 10 years of age
Students and their parents will need to fill out a paper voucher, which can be found on the Every Kid Outdoors website. This voucher can be exchanged for a pass at certain federal recreation sites, including any that charge an entrance fee or day-use fee. This pass is valid for the student’s 4th grade school year, from September to the following August.
Individuals with Permanent Disabilities
Individuals with a permanent disability, who are either U.S. citizens or permanent residents, may be eligible for an Access Park. This free national park pass provides all of the same benefits as other national park passes, including free entrance to any national park site for one year. The Access Pass also provides a 50 percent discount on many amenity fees, such as swimming fees, boat launches, camping, or specialized interpretive services.
You will need to provide documentation of your permanent disability. Individuals can obtain this pass at a federal recreation site that charges an entrance fee, or online, though shipping and processing fees will apply. You can also order this pass by mail by printing and filling out an application, and paying a $10 processing fee.
Individuals with 250 or more service hours with a federal agency that participates in the Interagency Pass Program are also eligible for a free Volunteer Pass. Contact your volunteer coordinator to learn how to obtain this pass. The pass is valid for 12 months from the time that it is issued.
Booking Your Zion Vacation Home Rentals for Your Next Visit
If you’re planning a stay at Zion vacation home rentals, then you’ll likely want to visit the park at least a few times. In this case, the Free Entrance Days might not be a big deal for you. Instead, a National Park Pass or a Zion Annual Pass might be a great investment during your visit.
Whether you plan to take advantage of one of the National Park Service’s Free Entrance Days, have a national park pass, or plan to pay the entrance fee, the first thing you’ll want to do is book your Zion vacation home rentals for your visit.
A vacation rental from Watchman Villas beats the best hotels in Zion National Park any day. Our spacious villas feature fully equipped kitchens, large bathrooms, comfortable living rooms, and even outdoor living spaces with views of Zion National Park. Whether you’re visiting during the Secret Season or in the middle of the park’s busiest months, our convenient location just a short distance from Zion’s entrance and steps away from a shuttle stop make it easy to maximize your time in the park.
The first National Park Free Entrance Day is fast approaching—and is also a great chance to experience the winter season in Zion National Park. It can also be a great chance to save on your Zion vacation home rentals. Right now, when you book a stay of two or more nights before March 15, you’ll receive a 40 percent discount on your entire booking. Book your stay today to take advantage of these amazing savings.