We celebrated a small milestone this past year that put big smiles on our faces. We got our first ever National Parks Pass.  Whoo Who! It’s a small thing, we know, but we could not be more excited. How could such a little card generate all this enthusiasm?

The Backstory

To understand our excitement, it helps to have a little background.   Years before we started to travel in the RV full-time, we began to create a list of places we wanted to see and explore.  No, we don’t have a bucket list. But after visiting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, we were bitten by the National Parks bug. The goal we established was to visit them all one day!

We stayed focused on our goal. We talked to family and friends who had been to many of the National Parks about their experiences and their favorites. YouTube videos highlighted the incredible beauty and wild nature of the National Parks and motivated us to explore them.  The National Park Service website became a great source of information and inspiration as we gazed at photos of Yellowstone, Zion, Arches, Denali and all the rest.  Our desire to visit these incredible places grew stronger each year.

Celebrating a Milestone – Our First National Parks Pass

So, when we started to travel in the RV, we knew the time was right to acquire our National Parks Pass.  We purchased an annual pass, called America the Beautiful/National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Pass.  The purchase of our first National Parks Pass had us jumping for joy!

We also bought a National Parks Passport book.  The passport book lets you record each park you visit with an ink stamp from that park’s visitor center.  These stamps are free. You can also purchase a sticker to add to your passport book.  Kids aren’t the only ones that get excited about collecting stamps and stickers. 🙂

Here is our first National Parks Pass, America the Beautiful.

The Passport book includes information about each of the National Parks by region.

We are getting our book stamped at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

It might seem silly to celebrate our first National Parks Pass.  It is just a small card after all.   To us, it represents a whole lot more. We think of it as our ticket to explore. We can’t wait to learn about all these National treasures. The beauty and grandeur of these wild places are breathtaking, and we are inspired to see them all.

Acadia National Park-Maine

Interested in Obtaining a National Parks Pass?

For information about purchasing a National Parks Pass, there are multiple websites from which you can order your pass;  the National Park Service here the United States Geological Survey, here and Recreation.gov here.  There are several different types of passes.  Review the various types and select the one that applies to you. We purchased an annual America the Beautiful pass here.  The cost is $80.00, and the pass is good for one year starting from the month of purchase. The price is a great value. If you “pay as you go” per park,  fees quickly add up.

What is Covered by a National Parks Pass?

Each pass covers entrance fees at national parks and national wildlife refuges as well as standard amenity fees (day use fees) at national forests and grasslands, and at lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, and U.S. Army Corp of Engineers.  A pass covers entrance, standard amenity fees, and day use fees for a driver and three passengers in a personal vehicle at per vehicle areas (for up to four adults at sites that charge per person). Children under 15 are free.

Funds from Pass sales support the National Parks’ efforts to protect, preserve and maintain these magical places. So support our National Parks and buy a Pass!

We will keep you posted on our progress as we explore these National treasures. Tell us about your favorites!

“Keep close to nature’s heart, and break away once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” John Muir