Honestly this would be the shortest blog ever written as the above is the easiest thing to do when you travel in the US: Buy a ‘America the Beautiful’ Annual Pass! Even if you are not in the States as long as we are, here is how long it took us to get the 80 dollars back we invested: 10 days…
So here are the principles: The pass covers access of all occupants of a vehicle that is non-commercial, or 4 people over 16. This means if you travel with your family or even friends, you have got them covered. Not only does it cover National Parks, it basically covers anything ‘National’… so don’t be confused if the guys at the ‘State Park’ refuse to smile and let you through 😉.
Like a good list like we do? Want to tick off all the parks you visited in an ‘official’ way? Add an official NPS Passport of 10 dollars (still covered in 10 days, just watch) to collect stamps at every single site you visit! You know you want to…
What we did to get to the 80 dollars traveling the coast of Washington & Oregon:
- Entrance to Olympic National Park – 30 dollars
- 50% discount on camping in the Olympic National Park – 12 dollars (we only stayed one night, you do the math)
- Entrance to Lewis & Clark National Historic Park – 25 dollars (2 adults, one child)
- Entrance to Yaquina Head National Natural Area – 7 dollars. This was unexpected, but we flashed the card and it turned out to be a National area rather than a state park.
- Entrance Crater Lake National Park – 30 dollars … BOOOOMMMM shredded the 80 dollar bar!
- 50% discount on camping in Crater Lake – 17 dollars (one night)
So there you have it, 121 dollars value within 10 days. Why we see Americans pay for the entrance I can not understand for the life of me… There must be SOMETHING close enough to your place to visit several times a year to make it worth your while??!!
Now here’s another trick: US forest services
So if you think that was it, think again! Forget about the state parks, they are all run by the states you travel through, but the US National Forest areas are actually ALSO covered under your AtB pass! All those beautiful recreational areas that charge a day use fee of 5 dollars? You can go there and you are fully covered by the pass as well…
Check our website for more tips & tricks on travel in the USA. We will keep the tally going on our America the Beautiful Pass!