If you’re hitting the road this summer, an America The Beautiful Pass could give you some major savings. These annual passes cover the entrance fees and day-use fees at national parks, forests, grasslands, and wildlife refuges. They can also be used on lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
These interagency passes are good for one full year from the month they’re purchased. A few options are available:
- $80 Annual Passes
- Free Military Annual Passes
- Free Lifetime Access Passes (For visitors with a permanent disability. They charge a $10 document processing fee.)
- Free Annual Passes For Fourth Grade Students (“Every Kid In The Park Pass“)
- Free Volunteer Passes (Awarded to volunteers who spend 250 or more hours on federal recreation sites.)
- $20 Senior Lifetime Passes (62 and older)
Each pass allows the owner and accompanying passengers in a personal vehicle to enter federal recreation sites across the country. However, there are exceptions. At places that charge per-person entry fees, the pass only covers the owner and up to three other people who are 16 and older (kids 15 & under are free).
Some things are considered ‘Expanded Amenities’ and aren’t covered by the regular pass. These include campground fees, boat launches, RV hook-ups, and backcountry permits. For Senior and Access pass holders, these extra amenities are discounted.
The passes are well worth the investment if you’re a full-timer, or planning on visiting at least three or four national parks in the next year. Entry fees range anywhere from $0 up to $25, with crown jewels like the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and Yellowstone charging $30 a vehicle.
To get your own ‘America the Beautiful’ pass, you can purchase them online, by phone at 1-888-275-8747 (ext 3), in person at a federal recreation site (see this PDF to find places near you), or from REI.