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National Park Pass
About it, and why you should get one!

I'll share why I love my National Park Pass.  When heading out on a camping, hiking and outdoors trip, my brother and I decided on purchasing the annual pass.  This, I would have to say was one of the best financial decisions that we made on our ENTIRE trip!!! (it was 6 weeks of outdoor adventure fun!)

my national park pass

First off... how much does a National Park Pass cost?

Well, there are three main prices:

  • For most people it costs $80. But, if you visit pretty much any park for a weekend or two, then it will pay for itself. 
  • Free - if you're in the USA military (you dont get the discount if your in the Canadian military) it's FREE!!!
  • $10 lifetime pass if you're over 62 and are a US citizen
  • Free - if you are a US citizen with a disability
  • Free - if you volunteer with federal agencies

Usually to get a regular pass, you can get one when you enter a park and just ask for the annual pass.  For the other reduced rate passes, you can get them at person when you enter a park (with the right ID), or you can apply in advance.
To find out more on how to get one, click here (opens new window)

How does it pay for itself?

Many National parks in the USA cost around $15-25 per day just to visit.  Say, the park you are visiting costs $25 to visit per day, you only need to visit a park for 4 days (2 weekends), and from then on you will be visiting for free. This means that you will visit more parks, and spend more time in the fresh outdoors not afraid that it will cost you lots of money.


What does it cover?


The national park pass covers all park entrance fees or standard amenity fees for a driver and the passengers in the vehicle (up to 4 adults), or just per vehicle (depending on the park) at over 2000 federal recreation sites. There is NO limit to the number of sites you can visit!  That's ALOT of camping!! 

What does it not cover?

The park pass does not cover camping or any passes that you need for overnight camping (such as to hike the half-dome).
Also, if you lose your pass, or it's stolen, you must replace it to get a new one. :(
It also does not cover: overnight camping, developed boat launches and swim sites, parking fees, specialized tours, and a few other things... 

Three great reasons why the national park pass is great!

This is why it's great:  

  1. it lasts for a WHOLE year!!! so... if you buy the pass halfway through the summer season, it means that you can still use it the following first half of the summer season.
  2. Say you live near a park and want to go hiking after work, or on weekends, then you can go ALL year to go hiking.  
  3. You can have TWO different people on the pass (they dont have to be related or married). So, say for example, you and your wife both want to use the pass. You can put both your names on it, and then if your husband wants a guys weekend away, he can use the pass with his buddies, and the next weekend, you can use it with your ladies!! :)  


What does the money go towards?

The money stays in the parks and goes towards many improvements to the parks such as Interpretive displays, additional park guides, repairs at historic sties, environmental education programs and more!! 


So... if you live in the USA, or want to visit the USA and their parks, this is a FANTASTIC way to do it!! :)


Check out some GREAT camping places that I visited when I was in the USA, and visiting National Parks!


Return from National Park Pass to Camping Expert (home)


Or... SHARE your FAVOURITE camping location!!  Is it one of the National Parks in the USA?  We don't care!! We want to hear about it!!!

Where Do You Love To Camp?

Where do you love to camp? A favourite park? Where? What do you love about it? What do you love to do when you're there? Share it!


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