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Why You Should Consider Purchasing an Annual US Park Pass

How I Saved $150 on National Park Visits with a US Park Pass & Will Save $100s More

For $80

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With what may turn out to be the busiest summer for US National Parks in history, we're guessing many of you are also considering the great outdoors as travel opens back up. If you plan to visit even just a few times this year, the US Parks Pass is probably the single most useful tool available to you that you might not have even realized exists.

For $80 a year from its starting date, this pass gets you access to not just all the US National Parks, but also other federally maintained recreation sites — together they total over 2,000 locations. National park entrance for one vehicle usually costs between $25 and $35, so doing the math, you quickly realize that after 3 or 4 visits you've already saved some cash.

Over at TravelPirates, we've already taken advantage of the pass this year, so keep reading to see how I made use of the pass.


  • United States


Arches National Park — Normally $30

Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park — Normally $30

Rocky Mountain National Park — Normally $25

Canyonlands National Park — Normally $30

Mesa Verde National Park — Normally $30

Great Sand Dunes National Park — Normally $25

Everglades National Park — Normally $30

Out West, You Can Often Visit Many Parks in a Relatively Short Drive:

Without even counting in the seven other visits I made to National Forests and National Wildlife Refuges between parks, I would have spent at least $190 to gain access to the six parks that I visited over the course of a few weeks. What's more is that you're able to have two cardholders on one card, so by sharing the card I was able to cut costs all the way down to $40 for an entire year's access to the most intricate federal lands system in the world. I'll likely visit parks another few times before the pass expires, so my $150 savings could easily turn out to be double or triple that.

Even if you couldn't work out the details of sharing a pass, $80 is an absolute steal and can save you $100s if not $1000s when taken advantage of. A few parks have been using timed-entry systems for at least part of the day because they simply can't handle the amount of visitors they'd receive otherwise. So be sure to plan ahead, especially if you plan on visiting big names such as Yellowstone and Yosemite.

*All photos taken by David Greer

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