Memorial Day

Veterans and military personnel, visit a California State Park for free on Memorial Day

Dozens of stunning destinations will welcome active and reserve military members and veterans with complimentary entry on May 27.

Wet winter weather helped usher in a significant wildflower bloom across the Anza-Borrego Desert.

What to Know

  • Free Memorial Day admission at participating California State Parks for veterans and active and reserve military members
  • Monday, May 27
  • San Diego County's Anza-Borrego State Park, Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, and Carlsbad State Beach are among the 2024 participants

REFLECTION, GRATITUDE, HONOR: There are so many important tenets woven through Memorial Day and how we pay tribute to what it means, each and every year. And finding heartfelt ways to connect with those ideals can be done in so many meaning-filled, sincere ways, from moving parades to flag ceremonies to rousing musical presentations. But locating a quiet and gorgeous place to hike, relax, read, and simply reflect? That, too, is high on the list for many of us as Memorial Day arrives. Few places offer respite, peace, and places to ponder like the California State Parks, the beachy, tree-filled, mountainous, desert-lovely locations that fan across our Golden home, beckoning us daily. And if your favorite state park is beckoning you on Memorial Day, which is May 27 this year, or another state park you've been meaning to explore, the parks department has again proffered an uplifting invitation: Veterans may visit participating California State Parks for free on Memorial Day 2024. Active and reserve military members will also be treated to complimentary admission in a show of gratitude.

Sunset at the rocky intertidal zone beach at Leo Carrillo State Beach, California. (Getty Images/Gary Kavanagh)

143 PARTICIPANTS... are on the 2024 list, including Calaveras Big Trees State Park, Salton Sea State Park, and Gaviota State Park. "State Parks would like to thank these brave people and their families for sacrificing so much for your nation, and for our freedom," said California State Parks Director Armando Quintero. "I'd like to invite those who have served and those who continue to serve to enjoy the beauty, peace, and rich history of your public lands." Be sure to show your military ID, or "proof of discharge other than dishonorable or bad conduct," for free entry. And, of course, confirm that the park you'd like to visit is among those on the list; check it out now.

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