The first entrance-fee-free day at national parks this year is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which is Jan. 21. Admission and day-use fees are waived that day. I visited Grand Canyon National Park on a fee-free day in September and saved $25.
Looking for a national park in Arizona? Any of these would make a good weekend trip.
- Canyon de Chelly National Monument, located in northeastern Arizona.
- Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, located in Coolidge, about an hour from Phoenix or Tucson.
- Chiricahua National Monument, 120 miles southeast of Tucson.
- Coronado National Monument, about 20 miles south of Sierra Vista.
- Fort Bowie National Historic Site, about 28 miles from Willcox, 116 miles east of Tucson and 227 miles from Phoenix.
- Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, 3 miles from Page or near Big Water, Utah.
- Grand Canyon National Park, northwestern Arizona. There 215 miles drive from South Rim to the North Rim, which the website says takes about five hours.
- Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site, 60 miles west of Gallup, N.M., or 1 mile west of Highway 191 in Ganado, northeast of Holbrook.
- Montezuma Castle National Monument, about 94 miles north of Phoenix.
- Navajo National Monument, about 283 miles northwest of Phoenix, at the end of Arizona 564 off Highway 160. Its website says cliff dwelling tours are closed.
- Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, south of Tucson and Ajo, 4 miles from Why.
- Petrified Forest National Park, located in northeastern Arizona, 50 miles from New Mexico on I-40 and 259 miles from Phoenix.
- Pipe Spring National Monument, 45 miles east of Hurricane, Utah, 15 miles west of Fredonia.
- Rainbow Bridge National Monument, access by boat from Lake Powell.
- Saguaro National Park, east Tucson.
- Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, less than 20 miles from Flagstaff.
- Tonto National Monument, about a 100 mile drive from Phoenix or 47 miles via the rugged Apache Trail.
- Tumacacori National Historic Park, 50 miles south of Tucson or 18 miles north of Nogales, Ariz.
- Tuzigoot National Monument, about 108 miles north of Phoenix.
- Walnut Canyon National Monument, 7.5 miles east of Flagstaff.
- Wupatki National Monument, 12 miles north of Flagstaff for the junction, then 21 miles.
Of course, there are also national parks and monuments that never charge an entrance fee.
- April 22-26 for National Park Week, which celebrates “84 million acres of the world’s most spectacular scenery, historic landmarks and cultural treasures.”
- Aug. 25 for the National Park Service’s birthday.
- Sept. 28 for National Public Lands Day, which I took advantage of in 2012.
- Nov. 9-11 for Veterans Day weekend.