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Thread: national parks

  1. Default national parks

    if we take our planned year long road trip, would it be possible to get a membership to national parks(entry and camping fees) that actualy covers everywhere in the US, or do you have to get them state by state. and also is there an organization that covers camping US wide.

  2. Default

    There is one national recreational pass that is valid for all the nationally managed parks. I think it's around $80. I highly recommend it if you are planning to visit all the parks.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
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    Default A most definite Yes

    Hi ferrydreamer,

    I agree with dinesh, for anything over 4 or 5 parks it is worth it. As well as National parks it covers federal recreation lands as well. Here is the N.P.S link that has all the info on every park. The pass can be purchased from one of there shops or at the the entrance to the first park you visit. You will see a link on the N.P.S site I gave you, but if I recall you can not buy on line if you are non resident.

    On each park they have all the camping info as well. Outside the parks I think there are national camping clubs that offer discounts but I tend to think you can find better value at independent sites.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default but not camping fees

    It should be noted that while the National Parks pass is a great deal, it only covers admission charges into the parks. It does not cover additional items like camping fees.

    Most state parks systems also have a year long admission fee. That also isn't something that would cover camping, but if you are planning to stay at parks in that state for than a couple days, it is usually worthwhile to consider the full year option there too.

    There are some chain campgrounds that will have a discount, and there are a couple discount clubs out there that work with a large number of different campgrounds, however, for a year long trip where you are planning to purchase a car, your best bet would probably be to get a AAA membership. In addition to roadside assistance coverage, it will generally get you a 10% or so discount to many motels and campgrounds.

  5. #5

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dinesh75 View Post
    There is one national recreational pass that is valid for all the nationally managed parks. I think it's around $80. I highly recommend it if you are planning to visit all the parks.
    Seconded. On a year-long trip this pass will probably pay for itself 10x over.

  6. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    It should be noted that while the National Parks pass is a great deal, it only covers admission charges into the parks. It does not cover additional items like camping fees.
    Note: This pass, while a great deal, doesn't apply equally to ALL national parks. At MOST parks it pays admission (which, at some parks, is $25/week; you can see that those fees could really add up), while at other parks it's different. For example -- it's been a while since I was there, so I hope this is still true -- visiting Mt. Rushmore is free, but PARKING costs; since you can't reasonably walk to the viewing platform, you have no choice but to pay the parking (unless you arrive at the crack of dawn and know where the few free parking spaces are located). Also, the cave-related national parks have no "admission", but they charge for CAVE TOURS -- and you can't go in without being part of a tour.

    The National Park Service also sells a "National Parks Passport", which is blue and styled after a real US passport. Travelers can get "stamps" at all the national parks -- usually in the gift shop -- and it's a cool souvenier. My kids get a kick out of "collecting" parks.

    The point: This pass is almost certainly a good deal for you, but it never hurts to do the math for your specifics. If nothing else, you should be aware of which parks might still charge you a fee.
    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    your best bet would probably be to get a AAA membership. In addition to roadside assistance coverage, it will generally get you a 10% or so discount to many motels and campgrounds.
    AAA discounts are great. I just saved just over $300 on a two-week car rental with my AAA card. That's about 3Xs the cost of the yearly membership. It's good at hotels, amusement parks, etc. I always ask -- the worst they can say is, "No, we don't take that."

  7. Default

    The Parks pass is great, and while there are a few exceptions (guided tours and parking at Rushmore), the vast vast majority of sites are free. I've been to more than 200 NPS sites and only paid a tour/parking fee at a handful.
    Last edited by AZBuck; 01-31-2009 at 08:22 PM. Reason: New members may not direct users off site.

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