20 most beautiful US national parks that can be visited for free all year round - ForumDaily
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20 of the most beautiful US national parks that can be visited for free all year round

The United States is home to some of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring places in the world, many of which fall under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service. A trip to a national park can be quite affordable. Many of the 63 national parks do not charge entrance fees, reports Explore.

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Travelers on a budget can take advantage of free days at national parks that have an entrance fee. In states such as California and Alaska, a significant portion of parks have become free.

Biscayne National Park in Florida

Although admission to Biscayne National Park is free, you will need to own or rent a boat to get to most places in the park. If you plan to camp, there is a $25 fee that can be shared between up to six people. There may be other costs associated with traveling here since Biscayne is actually mostly water. If you don't have equipment for the many activities you can enjoy here, you'll have to either rent or buy it.

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Snorkeling, fishing, canoeing, and kayaking are great ways to explore one of the most extensive marine national parks. No matter how you choose to spend your time here, the park's waters are stunning and unforgettable.

Channel Islands National Park in California

The best way to get to the five islands that make up Channel Islands National Park is by kayak or Island Packers, a boat service. It takes visitors to each island. Prices vary depending on which island you would like to see. Those who want to camp on the island will have to pay for transportation, but the cost is somewhat offset by the lack of entry fees.

Campers will also pay $15 per night when booking a campground. This is necessary for an overnight stay on any of the islands. It's all a small price to pay to see the islands because they certainly are something wonderful.

Congaree National Park in South Carolina

The park not only offers free entry, but also many free tours. The park prides itself on providing a wealth of information for those who want to learn about wildlife and what it takes to conserve the many habitats and species they support.

Although camping in this park is free, there is a small fee to stay at the campground. Those interested in canoeing or kayaking in Cedar Creek Park can rent equipment for an additional fee. Overall, however, the park is incredibly affordable.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio

Nestled between Ohio's two major cities (Cleveland and Akron) is an outdoor destination also known as Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Here travelers will find a scenic railway, various waterfalls and meadows full of wildlife and flowers. There is no camping fee as overnight stays are not permitted within the park.

While there are restaurants and places to eat in and around the park, those looking to spend as little money as possible on their trip may want to consider bringing provisions.

Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve in Alaska

Although admission to Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve is free, it is one of the most difficult national parks to visit. Fewer than 2022 people visited the park in 10. It's the least visited national park in all 000 states, but that fact has nothing to do with how beautiful it is. This is one of the last completely wild places left on Earth. There are no roads here, so be prepared to conquer millions of kilometers of wilderness, valleys and mountains as nature demands - on foot.

Gateway Arch National Park in Missouri

Gateway Arch National Park is by far the smallest national park in the country. Although it has national park status, it is more in line with a national monument since its main feature is a man-made structure somewhat similar to the Statue of Liberty in New York. Although admission to the park is free, the tram ride to the top of the arch costs a few dollars.

Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve in Alaska

Admission to Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve is free. Surprisingly, you can camp and boat for free too - you'll need a permit to do so, but the permit is just a formality. You can get it for free. This is good news for nature lovers because Glacier Bay is truly extraordinary, from its many stunning glaciers and snow-capped mountains to its lush forests.

Like many national parks in Alaska, there's a cost to travel to, but once you arrive, its beauty will put any thoughts of long, expensive plane rides out of your head.

Great Basin National Park in Nevada

For travelers looking for an affordable vacation that's as close to free as possible, Great Basin National Park is a great option. Not only is admission free, but some of the best entertainment there doesn't cost anything either. To go camping in remote areas, a permit is required, which can be obtained free of charge.

Within the park you can also find the stump of one of the oldest recorded trees in the world - the Prometheus Tree was almost 5000 years old, which is a miracle in itself, plus the tragic story that happened to it.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most visited national parks in the country. While each park has something special and impressive to offer, it's still easy to see why people flock to it—the free entry definitely has a bearing on that. The mountains are located on the border of North Carolina and Tennessee, making up only part of the Appalachian Mountains. The ancient mountains are full of wildlife and dense forests, creating a diverse ecosystem for curious travelers to explore. Hiking opportunities are plentiful, but you will have to pay for parking and camping while visiting the park.

Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas

Hot Springs National Park is technically not the first national park in the country; that role belongs to Yellowstone National Park. However, protection of Hot Springs National Park predates Yellowstone by a couple of decades. It is one of the first areas of the United States to be set aside for natural resource conservation. And unlike Yellowstone, it's free to see.

There are no outdoor places where you can bathe in hot springs. Instead, the two bathhouses on Bathhouse Row use naturally heated water for spa purposes. The cheapest way to experience the hot springs is to visit the Quapaw Baths & Spa public thermal pool.

Katmai National Park and Preserve in Alaska

Katmai National Park and Preserve boasts some pretty unique attractions, including brown bears and lava flows left behind by volcanic eruptions. Admission is free, but you will have to pay a small fee to use the campgrounds. As with almost all Alaskan national parks, you'll need plenty of gear to stay warm and navigate the wilderness. This will require additional costs if you are not yet ready for such research.

Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska

Across the bay from Katmai National Park and Preserve is Kenai Fjords National Park, another free national park in Alaska with stunning views and thriving wildlife. Visitors can camp at the park for free, but if you choose to use their charming and comfortable communal cabins, there is a small fee per night. Travelers can see the park by land or water. Hiking is a great way to get close to the stars, and traveling through the park by boat or kayak helps visitors appreciate the Kenai Fjords from different vantage points.

Kobuk Valley National Park in Alaska

While most Alaskan national parks promise huge glaciers and icy waters, Kobuk Valley National Park is partially covered by sand dunes. The park is a wildlife sanctuary and offers an ecosystem that is home to various species of animals and plants. You can enter the park for free, but the cost of getting there increases as airfare can be expensive and there are no roads in the park, which only enhances Kobuk's wildlife.

Lake Clark National Park and Preserve in Alaska

Lake Clark National Park and Preserve has almost everything you could want from nature, and it offers it all to visitors for free. Here you can find volcanoes, mountains, coastlines and much more. Permits are not needed for camping, fishing, but if you want to stay in one of the cabins, you will need to pay a fee and reserve a site. There's plenty to see here, whether it's the thriving bear and salmon populations or the Athabascan Dena'ina culture that has defined this land for generations.

Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky

Despite its name, Mammoth Cave National Park is actually more than just an underground wonder. There are many beauties and attractions above ground. Although there is a cost to tour the cave itself, admission to the park is free.

Hiking, biking and stargazing are just a few of the free activities you can do while visiting the park. While here, marvel at the majestic rock formations as you explore the depths of the park's namesake cave and take advantage of the lush trails that lead into the forest and along the river.

New River Gorge National Park and Preserve in West Virginia

New River Gorge National Park and Preserve is a wonderful, inexpensive park that's worth it. The park is free and they also offer many free, low cost ranger-led programs and activities. While there are plenty of hiking trails that offer great views of the river, the park's biggest attraction is the river itself. Here you can go rafting, fishing and even kayaking.

Camping at North Cascades National Park in Washington

Camping at Camping at North Cascades National Park costs a small amount, although admission to the park is free. The trails starting in the park are completely free to explore. And those that start close to the park and extend into National Forest Service land require a small fee. Hiking is a great way to see the park, while biking, boating, and horseback riding will give you more stunning views of the mountains and forest.

Redwood National Park in California

Redwood National Park is one of the most recognizable and iconic national parks. It is also available free of charge for anyone who wants to see the huge trees. When you think of California, many things come to mind - the glamor of Hollywood or the inviting beaches, as well as the magnificent redwood trees that have stood in the northern part of the state for thousands of years.

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Not only does the park have some of the tallest trees in the world, but you can also spot and appreciate a variety of wild animals. With a free backcountry camping permit or a paid campsite reservation, you can spend the night under a massive redwood canopy, surrounded by the sounds of the forest.

Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota

There's plenty to do at Voyageurs National Park, like stargazing. You might be interested in renting a houseboat or kayak, which has a fee, although admission to the park is free. One of the best ways to see this particular park is from the water. Almost half of the designated area is water, and there are islands scattered throughout the park, many of which you cannot see or notice when traveling on land. However, hiking in Voyageurs offers some pretty impressive views.

Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota

Admission to Wind Cave National Park is free, but you will have to pay to camp or see the cave in question. However, these fees are relatively small, and cave tours cost less than many other similar tours. Even if you decide not to explore underground on one of the park's excursions, the above-ground portion of the park is still worth a visit. Here you can see bison.

 

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