SWITCHBACKmini: Skip the National Park Entrance Fee
I mentioned last week how one stream of NPS income is is entrance, permit and camping fees . There are currently 409 NPS sites and 127 charge entrance fees that range from $3-$30. Although we believe our money could go to much worse places than the NPS, we like it best when it’s still in our pockets. We never pay the National Park entrance fee and we want to share the two main ways you can skip them too.
1. Buy a parks pass. There are a few variations of a park pass. Ours is the Annual Pass. For $80 we get in free to “more than 2,000 federal recreation sites.” Since the National Parks are usually more expensive (Grand Canyon is $30, Zion is $30, Haleakala is $15) it paid for itself in about 2 weeks after our first few parks. There’s also a free annual Active Military Pass, free annual 4th-grader Pass, free lifetime Access Pass for citizens with permanent disabilities and $10 lifetime Senior Pass for citizens 62 or over. All passes cover the whole car. More details here.
2. Go on fee free days. Since the NPS is turning 100 in 2016, they are celebrating with 16 days this year when entrance fees are waived: 1/16 for MLK Day, 4/16-24 for National Parks Week, 8/25-28 for NPS birthday, 9/24 for National Public Lands Day, 11/11 for Veterans Day. So mark your calendar!
No matter what, #NationalParks are an awesomely economical way to have an awesomely meaningful adventure.