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Two friends view the Palouse Hills from Steptoe Butte State Park. (Washington State Parks photo)

Washington State Parks are free on these 12 days in 2023

Plus, national parks have five free admissions days in 2023.

State parks free days 2022:

It normally costs $10-11.50 a day or $30 a year to use Washington’s more than 100 state parks. However, the law that established that fee (the money helps to maintain the parks) also mandated the creation of 12 days a year when no fee would be charged.

Here are the free days for 2022, with a couple of changes from the traditional schedule:

Billy Frank Jr.’s birthday has been added in March to honor Frank, an environmental activist and former chair of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission who died in 2014. Juneteenth and World Mental Health Day (Oct. 10) also have been added. In addition, Friday, Nov. 25 will be formally recognized as Native American Heritage Day.

[Related: Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually wildlife refuge is a great place for a walk with kids || Seattle-area state parks we love in fall and winter ]


2023 free days in Washington state parks

Sunday, Jan. 1 – New Year’s Day and First Day Hikes
Monday, Jan. 16 – Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Thursday, March 9 – Billy Frank Jr.’s birthday
Sunday, March 19 – Washington State Parks’ birthday
Saturday, April 22 – Earth Day
Saturday, June 10 – National Get Outdoors Day
Sunday, June 11 – Free Fishing Weekend
Monday, June 19 – Juneteenth
Saturday, Sept. 23 – National Public Lands Day
Tuesday, Oct. 10 – World Mental Health Day
Saturday, Nov. 11 – Veterans Day
Friday, Nov. 24 – Autumn Day

A couple of things to keep in mind: The free days do not apply to Sno-Parks, for which a separate Sno-Park permit is needed. Also, lands managed by the Washington departments of Natural Resources (DNR) and Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) are not free on those days. Here’s more on what the Discover Pass does cover and how to get one.

Also:  Washington State Parks has launched an online store from which you can order guidebooks, passes, art prints and other State Parks merchandise.


National parks free days

In addition, national parks have five free days for 2023, most of which overlap with the state parks free days:

January 16 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
April 22 – First Day of National Park Week
August 4 – Great American Outdoors Day
September 23 – National Public Lands Day
November 11 – Veterans Day

Explore Washington’s 3 amazing national parks


Note: Originally published December 2020

More in Seattle’s Child

Parent review: Beachfront cabins at Cama Beach State Park

Olallie State Park: a year-round family favorite

Deception Pass: What to do with kids in Washington’s most-visited state park

How you can use your library card to enjoy Washington’s great outdoors



About the Author

Julie Hanson

Julie Hanson is a longtime journalist, South King County resident and mom to a 15-year-old girl.