Going on a road trip in your RV is an awesome way to experience the vast expanse that America has to offer, and it can be made extra special with a national park RV pass. This single ticket to almost all the national parks in the country ensures that you have access to the most marvelous destinations. Having a national park pass takes the stress out of having to book entry tickets to each location every time, allowing you to come and go as you please (according to park schedules, of course).
Many might not be aware that a national park RV pass exists. If going cross-country and exploring national parks is a road trip you've been wanting to experience, a USA state park pass should be part of your travel essentials. Let's talk about what a national park pass is, what the perks are, and how you can get one.
What Is a National Park RV Pass?
The official national parks pass is called America The Beautiful: The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass. For a one-time fee that ranges from $10 to $80, you get one-year access to a select few or all of the over 2,000 participating federal recreation sites across the United States.
Each national park pass covers park entrance fees, standard amenity fees, and day use fees for a driver and all passengers in personal vehicle or RV at per-vehicle fee areas (including up to four adults). Children under 15 years old can enter free of charge. The national parks, national forest refuges, and grasslands are managed by the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Passes may be purchased online.
Types of National Park RV Passes
There are six types of national park passes available, all providing access to federal recreation sites. Here are their rates and inclusions:
1. Annual Pass
- Pricing: $80 for one year use (non-transferable)
- For ages 16 years and up
- Each annual pass can have up to two owners
- Provides access to over 2,000 federal recreation areas
- Admits pass owners and passengers in a private vehicle or RV at per-vehicle fee areas (pass owner plus three adults)
2. Military Pass
- Pricing: Free when purchased in person, $10 processing fee if bought online from the USGS Store
- For current U.S. military members and their dependents in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Space Force, and Reserve and National Guard members
- Also applies to U.S. military veterans and Gold Star family members
- Documentation is required to prove one's status
3. Senior Pass
- Pricing: $20 annual, $80 lifetime
- For U.S. citizens or residents aged 62 years and up. Documentation of age and residency or citizenship will be required upon purchase.
- Aside from access to the national parks, this pass may provide 50 percent discount on some amenity fees and services
4. 4th Grade Pass
- Pricing: Free (throughout the 4th grader's school year)
- For U.S. 4th grade students, including free-choice and homeschooled learners aged 10 years and up and has a valid Every Kid Outdoors paper pass.
5. Access Pass
- Pricing: free for life
- For U.S. citizens or permanent residents who have permanent disabilities
- No age requirement
- Aside from access, this pass also gives the owner additional discounts on certain amenity fees, depending on the location
6. Volunteer Pass
- Pricing: Free for a year
- For volunteers that have logged 250 service hours with federal agencies participating in the Interagency Pass Program
Things To Remember Before Getting a National Park RV Pass
The idea of having full access to any of the more than 2,000 sites covered by a national park pass is enticing, but it comes with a cost. Here are some things to consider before getting any of the national park passes available:
- If you are a great adventurer and plan to visit multiple federal recreation parks in the U.S. within a year, buying a national park pass will give you a greater return on your investment. However, if you don't have much vacation time and plan to visit just two or three in a year, it makes better sense to just pay the individual entrance fees at booking.
- To avail of any of the special passes, you need to provide documentation that proves you're a senior citizen, a veteran, a member of the military, or have a disability. A photo identification is also required upon purchase.
- Passes are non-transferable and non-refundable. In addition, if you lose your national park pass, you will have to purchase a new one as it cannot be replaced.
- Due to COVID-19 restrictions, some parks might be closed or will offer only limited access. Call your destinations ahead to check the park hours and, if you're traveling in an RV, there's a dedicated area for RVs inside or near the parks or if there are RV size limits.
Travel To Your Dream National Park Destinations in Comfort and Style
Cruise America has a huge line of RVs that you can rent for yourself or a group. Hopping from one national park to another is fun but the journey between locations can be tedious. It’s a good thing that Cruise America’s RV units are fully equipped with all the modern amenities and conveniences so that traveling doesn’t feel like a chore. With a Cruise RV, fulfilling your national parks tour will be extra fun and comfortable.
Contact Cruise America to check out the RV rentals, and book your vehicle for your national parks adventure today.