Load your camper, plan your route, and grab your park passes ahead of time to experience both the historical and geological wonders our national parks offer. To make your trip more economical, look into a national park pass discount to see if you meet the qualifications. The National Park and Federal Recreational Lands Pass Series provides various purchasing options for passes, while also offering a financial break to older adults and those with disabilities. Maybe an America the Beautiful annual pass or a lifetime pass is the best option for you.
Or if you have a fourth grader in your clan, check out the family-centric free entrance offered to kids of this age. For the best trip planning, look at your options and obtain your pass before you go.
Anyone can purchase an annual park pass (costing around 80 dollars) and it lasts one year from the date of purchase, giving you the flexibility to visit several different national parks and recreation sites in one year. Use the pass as a pre-paid entrance for all passengers in a non-commercial vehicle at per-vehicle fee areas. You can also use it at the entrance to per-person fee areas, too, granting you access for yourself (the pass holder) and three adults. Children under 16 who accompany any annual pass holder are granted free access, as well.
Annual Pass for U.S. Military
U.S. military members—including those in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, National Reserve, and National Guard—can obtain an annual park pass for free for themselves and their dependents. Similar to a regular annual pass, a military pass allows access to national parks and recreation sites that charge an entrance fee. A military pass must be obtained in person at a federal recreation site by showing a common access card (CAC) or a military ID (Form 1173).
Senior Annual and Lifetime Pass
U.S. citizens and permanent residents who are over the age of 62 benefit from a discounted rate on an annual pass (20 dollars) or on a lifetime pass (80 dollars). Just show identification in the form of a U.S. driver's license, U.S. passport, or green card at any park entrance. Or purchase your pass online or by mail. A senior pass works the same way as the regular annual or lifetime pass, but it also provides discounts on some amenity fees within the parks.
Every Kid in a Park Pass
In an effort to get kids outside to explore our nation's wonders, the U.S. Government launched the Every Kid in a Park program, allowing free entrance to all fourth-graders and their families. Just visit their site, complete the adventure diary, print out your pass, and then show it to a park ranger upon admission. The pass is good for the entire school year, is non-transferable, and grants the child and up to three adults free admission into any national park. Teachers can use this option too, for school-led field trips.
Individuals who accrue 250 hours of volunteer time at one or more of the recreation sites managed by a federal agency are granted a volunteer pass as a thank you for their service. This pass is good for one year and offers the same benefits as a regular annual pass.
An access pass is a free, lifetime pass for U.S. citizens or permanent residents with lifetime disabilities. Those who qualify can get the pass in person at a federal recreation site or by mail with required documentation. This pass offers the same benefits as a regular annual pass.