With so many amazing locations to explore around the country it is easy to see why National Parks are such popular destinations. There are wonders to be seen and breathtaking vistas which you can only find when in these remote areas.
I have made it a point to visit as many of the National Parks as I can on my travels and find just what differentiates each one from the next. I have been floored time and time again by the beauty of the surroundings, the wonders of nature around me and at times the wildlife which I have been fortunate to see up close and personal.
But visiting these parks can quickly add up as entry can vary from park to park. While admission to parks typically covers multiple days and may allow an entire carload of people $25 to $30 for a single day can seem a bit steep for the traveler which might not be able to dedicated 3 or 4 days to adventuring.
But there is a solution for this if you are an avid traveler which might be interested in visiting multiple parks or locations throughout a single calendar year. The America The Beautiful Pass!!
On my first lengthy adventure I traveled across the southwestern United States with stops at the Tent Rocks, Chaco Culture National Historical Park, Carlsbad Caverns, White Sands National Monument, Grand Canyon and Painted Desert. With each of these stops there was an entrance fee, some by the person and some by the carload. I found that quickly this added up to be several hundreds of dollars, however all of these locations were covered by the single pass for a one time annual fee.
So you might be thinking... How much does this pass cost??
For the average person this pass is going to cost $80 annually. For seniors, 62 and older, this pass is $20 annually or $80 for a lifetime pass. There is also a FREE pass available for those who are permanent residents of the US who are disabled and those who are serving in the military.
What does the pass cover?
The pass covers admission to sites under six different government agencies including the Fish & Wildlife Services, Forest Service, Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service and Corp of Engineers. These sites are the most widely used lands in the nation for those looking to explore and participate in recreation. The pass does not cover camping fees or parking fees related to entry when applicable and also does not apply to tours which might be offered.
How many sites are available for usage?
There are over 2000 sites nationwide which can be accessed through the pass without additional charges. This includes battlefields, caves, forest lands and National Parks.
How many people are covered with a single pass??
The pass is good for a single car load of people. This means if you are traveling as a family up to 4 adults are covered for entry into any of the sites available.
What does buying a pass do other than allow me a discount??
Each pass purchased allows vast improvements annually to public spaces. Fees collected go right back into improvements made to our National spaces which can benefit those visiting these locations for years to come. Currently underway are projects funded by pass fees which include: Restoration of the Kilauea Lighthouse at Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge in Hawaii, Environmental Education Programs at the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge, Law Enforcement Services for New Melones Lake in California, Repair and Maintenance for the Catwalk National Recreational Trail located in the Gila National Forest of New Mexico, Visitor Shuttle Buses at Zion National Park in Utah and Improvement of Visitor Access Routes into Imperial Sand Dunes in California.
Using your pass truly does allow you an opportunity while also assisting others in enjoying the same opportunities in the future through preservation of facilities.
I have found that the pass is by far one of the best investments you can make if you are looking to travel throughout the year. With National Seashores, Wildlife Refuges, Forests, National Parks and several other sites of interest covered by the passes you unlock a great opportunity for exploration at a fraction of the cost.