Traveling Easy: Passes and Planning Ahead

By July 13, 2016Uncategorized

Image result for america the beautiful pass

source

Park fees can be astonishing and add up quickly on road trips. You’ll also find that state parks, National Forests, and other public lands require various donations, fees, and passes. However, there are plenty of ways to lower the cost of traveling to these destinations! Here’s what you need to know:

America The Beautiful

Passes to our federal public lands: National Parks, National Forests, Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife, etc.

Where to get your pass

Annual Pass

The one-size-fits-all 

  • $80 annually – valid for full year from purchase
  • Owner and passengers in their private vehicle may enter federally managed recreation sites for free.
  • Owners need photo ID to use the pass.
  • Purchase at any visitor center or federal land management agency’s office headquarters (typically requires prior inquiry – call first), or affiliated partners.

Purchase online

Senior Pass

Age +62

  • $10 lifetime
  • Owner and passengers in their private vehicle may enter federally managed recreation sites for free.
  • May give up to 50% discount on amenities and fees (campgrounds, boat launch, etc.)
  • Purchase at any visitor center, federal land management agency’s office headquarters (typically requires prior inquiry – call first), or affiliated partners. Mail order increases overall price.

Purchase online

Annual Pass – Military

Current U.S. military members and dependents of deployed military in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard, and most members of the Reserve and National Guard.

  • Free
  • Owner and passengers in their private vehicle may enter federally managed recreation sites for free.
  • Need proper identification: CAC Card or DD Form 1173.
  • Purchase at any visitor center, federal land management agency’s office headquarters (typically requires prior inquiry – call first), or affiliated partners.

Order online

Annual Pass – 4th Grade

4th graders and family, valid September – August

  • Free
  • Must have printed voucher
  • Owner and passengers (up to 3 adults) in their private vehicle may enter federally managed recreation sites for free.

Every Kid in a Park – learn more!

Access Pass

Citizens with permanent disabilities.

  • Free lifetime
  • Must have proper documentation.
  • Owner and passengers in their private vehicle may enter federally managed recreation sites for free.
  • Mail order only – via online checkout.

Order online

Volunteer Pass

Awarded to those who contributed over 250 hours of service on federal land.

  • Free annual
  • Must have proper documentation.
  • Owner and passengers in their private vehicle may enter federally managed recreation sites for free.
  • Contact your coordinator for details on obtaining this pass.

State Parks Passes

Every state has their own pass. These passes can be less cost effective than an America The Beautiful pass, unless you have a habit of visiting state parks.

State Parks Passes all-in-one resource

Free Entry

There are a few special occasions where park entry is waived. Some dates change, but here are the ones you can expect:

  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • National Public Lands Day
  • Veterans Day

Free Entry by State