The National Parks Pass or interagency pass program is a great way to explore the national parks here in the U.S. and save money in the process.
What is a National Parks Pass?
The National Parks Pass allows the general public, you and me, access to Federal lands that charge an entrance fee.
At sites that charge a per vehicle fee, the pass allows the user and other passengers in her car to enter under one pass. For sites that charge a per person fee, the pass allows the user and three other adults (for a total of 4) into those areas using the pass holders’ pass. Children 15 and under receive free admission.
Why you should consider a National Parks Pass for Your Family
- Passes provide access to over 2000 federal recreation sites. That’s a lot of parks to visit! My family makes it a point to visit at least one national park each time we travel. The parks vary from mountains to volcanoes, to waterfalls to historical attractions. With hiking trails in many parks and nearly all accessible of a tour in your vehicle. There are tons of options, depending on what parks your family is interested in visiting.
- The National Heritage Areas, part of the 400 national parks, tell the stories of American history. These designated areas are where natural, cultural, and historic resources are combined in one location. Plus, you can collect cancelation stamps from parks that participate in the Passport to Your National Parks© program.
- Some parks offer a Jr. Ranger program (an additional fee may apply), allowing you to add to the educational element during your visit. Many programs focus on events that are important to our history.
- With one or more national park in every state, you’re only a few hours away from some of the most fantastic natural areas in the country. Wouldn’t it be cool to visit a park in every state? It’s one of my life goals.
- The proceeds from annual pass sales are used to improve and enhance the federal recreation sites, ensuring that future generations can enjoy the parks as we do.
- When you experience the beauty surrounding you at the parks you visit, you’ll never be more excited to part with your money and give it to the government. How’s that for a plus?
- The travel memories will last a lifetime. Guaranteed.
Where to Purchase Your National Parks Pass?
A summary of passes available from the National Park Service can be found on their website. Free passes are available to active US military personnel, US citizens with permanent disabilities, and volunteers with over 250 hours of service with federal agencies that participate in the Interagency Pass Program. Deeply discounted passes for senior citizens are also available.
You can also purchase the national parks pass through REI. When you purchase through this popular outdoor store, REI will donate 10% of pass sale proceeds to the National Park Foundation.
We’ve used our national parks pass when we spent One Day in Yellowstone, or drove through Theodore Roosevelt National Park, and the Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah National Park. If you’re looking for the best national parks to visit in the fall, our Yellowstone Parking List or are simply planning a trip to Yellowstone National Park, we have resources that will help so make sure you click through to read those articles too.
Do you love our national parks? What park is your favorite?