Everyone Can Get Into National Parks for Free on Veterans Day

free national park veterans day
Arches National Park. |
Arches National Park. |

It's getting cold out. Soon it will be like the ninth circle of Dante's Hell. For now, take advantage of it not being quite that cold. On November 11, in recognition of Veterans Day, National Parks across the United States won't be charging admission.

That's more than 400 National Parks you can enter for free. It's the park system's last of four free days in 2019. It's pretty simple: Nature is great, and spending time in it is good for you. Go do it. (You might even be able to catch the northern lights late in the evening.) 

Visitors sometimes want to know why National Parks aren't always free. The Parks are underfunded and expensive to care for, preserve, restore, and staff. However, that hasn't stopped loads of them from actually being free or offering free activities. One example: You have to pay for tours of the massive, beautiful caves at Mammoth Cave National Park. But the "surface activities" -- biking and kayaking, hiking and stargazing -- are free every day of the year. That's a hell of a good deal considering what people put into the parks in terms of work and care.

Moreover, the fees aren't steep. Admission on an average day at Zion National Park -- quite easily one of the most beautiful places in the country -- is $35 for an entire carload of people. Pack it up like a clown car. Still $35. Plus, that admission is good for an entire week. Compare that to, say, five minutes at a Disney theme park

By the time you're sick of hibernating in the living room mid-winter, you'll be glad you got out into the wild one last time this fall.

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Dustin Nelson is a Senior Staff Writer at Thrillist. Follow him @dlukenelson.