Unlimited Entry to U.S. National Parks with America the Beautiful Pass

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When traveling in the United States, my absolute favorite thing to do is visit national parks.  The amount of variety in natural settings within the USA is mind-blowing: in the past year alone I’ve seen the glow of a volcano, gone rock scrambling in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and driven through desert landscapes.  With 401 sites of the National Park Service, it’s no surprise there’s a lot to see.


Although entrance fees are usually quite reasonable, free is even better.  Unfortunately, my schedule isn’t always flexible and so I’ve invested in the next best thing: the America the Beautiful pass.

Visiting national parks is a wonderful way to explore the USA (especially by roadtrip!). Can an annual pass save you money on vacation or is it a glorified donation to national parks? Read the post to get road trip ideas and lots of tips to plan and prepare for your vacation.

This annual pass is like buying a “membership” to the National Park Service, giving you unlimited entry to all nationwide sites, anytime you want.  As a cardholder, you’ll be granted free admission to all NPS sites and it’s good for up to 4 adults and all children in the group at sites that charge per person or a whole carload of people at sites that charge per vehicle.  Best of all, you can list two names on the card so you can even share the pass with a friend or family member (you do not need to be related or reside at the same address).  Passholders may also qualify for additional savings on tours or campsites.

At $80/year, this is one of the country’s best bargains, and there are further discounts for seniors, members of the military, volunteers of federal agencies, and citizens or permanent residents with disabilities.  Even if you don’t qualify for further discounts (I don’t), it’s still a steal.

Related Reading: 3 Days in Rocky Mountain National Park (For Hikers!)

My Favorite National Park (so far): Denali in Alaska
My Favorite National Park (so far): Denali in Alaska

I’m a little disappointed that I don’t actually have concrete plans to visit a new national park this year and frankly, I think I need to go out of my way to change that.  In the meantime, I thought I’d share my little secret with you in hopes that you can all go out and explore!

Do you have an America the Beautiful pass?  What have been your favorite national parks to visit?

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Keep Reading –> The Complete List of US National Parks

4 thoughts on “Unlimited Entry to U.S. National Parks with America the Beautiful Pass”

    1. @Nicole, In certain parts of the country, it is a fabulous deal – for example, someone traveling through Utah might hit Bryce Canyon, Zion, Canyonlands, Arches, and Grand Canyon National Park, maybe even a few more in other neighboring states. That’s 5 parks for $80 and a full year to travel to other areas for even more savings!

  1. I don’t have the America the Beautiful pass, but you’re absolutely right, we all should do it. There are a few places in MA that do require a an entrance fee, and I’ve been promising myself I’d visit them for ages. I really should do that. Thanks for reminding everyone about the National Parks. There are so many of them, and all of them are beautiful!

    1. @Jolanta, It’s interesting how national treasures can get overlooked. A lot of people think of national parks as the big names out west like Yellowstone and Yosemite, but they’re all over the country and range from historical to nature. Enjoy!

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