The 418 national parks, national monuments, historical parks and sites that make up the U.S. National Park Service often charge for admission. But there will be six free entrance days in 2019.
The first is Jan. 21 (observed birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.), followed by April 20 (first day of National Park Week), Aug. 25(National Park Service Birthday), Sept. 28 (National Public Lands Day) and Nov. 11 (Veterans Day).
In California, Cabrillo National Monument, Death Valley National Park, Joshua Tree National Park, Lassen Volcanic National Park, Lava Beds National Monument, Muir Woods National Monument, Pinnacles National Park, San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, Whiskeytown National Recreation Area and Yosemite National Park all participate. Learn more at nps.gov/planyourvisit/fee-freeparks.htm.
The above are parks on land. Similar areas in water are called Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), and around 50 of them have been designated in Southern California. Learn more about them during Underwater Parks Day Jan. 12 at Santa Monica Aquarium (healthebay.org/aquarium, $5 ages 13 and up), Cabrillo Marine Aquarium (cabrillomarineaquarium.org, free) and the Aquarium of the Pacific (aquariumofpacific.org, $29.95 adults, $17.95 ages 3-11), which will offer programs and activities spotlighting MPAs and their mission to protect marine life.