North America Off the Grid

Why You Should Buy an America the Beautiful Pass + List of Parks

Taylor at the Grand Canyon

Hell yeah, it’s almost summer again! Are you planning a road trip through the US National Parks? If you’ve got more than 3 National Parks on your radar, the America the Beautiful Pass is a totally worthwhile investment. Here’s everything you should know about the US National Park pass including how much it costs, where to buy it, and a list of parks included.

Just so you know… the links in this post are affiliate links! If you end up buying your America the Beautiful Pass on REI, we’ll get a small commission, but this comes at no additional cost to you.

Everything You Need to Know about Your America the Beautiful Pass

The America the Beautiful Pass is the name for the US National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass that gets you into 2,000 recreation sites across the United States. 

How much does the America the Beautiful Pass cost?

As of 2020, an America the Beautiful Pass is only $80 for unlimited use. That covers entrance, standard amenity fees, and day-use fees for your car (with up to four adult passengers) but excludes things such as parking, RV hookups, camping, shuttles, boat launches, and guided tours.

It’s an annual pass that is valid for one year from the date of issue, and since there’s space for two signatures on the back, it’s possible to share this with another pass holder. When you consider that most of the big National Parks charge $35 per vehicle, this is a seriously affordable way to get some more National Park travel into your year.

America the Beautiful Parks Pass

Good for a year’s worth of visits, the annual America the Beautiful Pass is your ticket to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites across the country, including all of our national parks.

Everyone is eligible for the America the Beautiful pass regardless of age or nationality. That said, there are also annual passes at a greaterdiscount for US citizens and residents who are seniors, permanently disabled, volunteers, military, or 4th graders. More info on those here.

How does it work?

The America the Beautiful Pass is a physical pass. You can order it online or pick it up in person from one of the federal recreation areas where passes are issued. At most National Parks, there will be a ranger station where you’ll hand over your ID and America the Beautiful Pass. They’ll give it back to you, usually along with a park map, and that’s all it takes!

America the Beautiful Pass: List of Parks

The America the Beautiful Pass is accepted at more than 2,000 sites federally-owned lands managed by the Forest Service, National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Reclamation. The list is always changing, but as a general rule, the pass is accepted at everything designated as a “National Park”, “National Forest”, or “National Memorial”. This also includes some “National Historic Sites”.

Sites excluded carry designations like “State Park”, “State Forest”, “County Park” or anything that indicates the land is owned by anyone other than the federal government. Also excluded are Native-owned lands. In most cases, you can buy a supplementary State Park or Forest Pass if you want unlimited entry to parks in a specific region.

List of National Parks

There are currently more than 60 National Parks in the US and all of them are included within the America the Beautiful Pass. Take a look below at this list of parks included in the America the Beautiful Pass. And if you want some help with your trip planning, I’ve linked to our blog posts on the National Parks mentioned!

The Grand Canyon is one of 60+ National Parks included in the America the Beautiful Pass
  • Acadia National Park
  • American Samoa National Park
  • Arches National Park
  • BadlandsNational Park
  • Big Bend National Park
  • Biscayne National Park
  • Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
  • Bryce Canyon National Park
  • Canyonlands National Park
  • Capitol Reef National Park
  • Carlsbad Caverns National Park
  • Channel Islands National Park
  • Congaree National Park
  • Crater Lake National Park
  • Cuyahoga Valley National Park
  • Death Valley National Park
  • Denali National Park
  • Dry Tortugas National Park
  • Everglades National Park
  • Gates of the Arctic National Park
  • Gateway Arch National Park
  • Glacier National Park
  • Glacier Bay National Park
  • Grand Canyon National Park
  • Grand Teton National Park
  • Great Basin National Park
  • Great Sand Dunes National Park
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Guadalupe Mountains National Park
  • Haleakala National Park
  • Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
  • Hot Springs National Park
  • Indiana Dunes National Park
  • Isle Royale National Park
  • Joshua Tree National Park
  • Katmai National Park
  • Kenai Fjords National Park
  • Kings Canyon National Park
  • Kobuk Valley National Park
  • Lake Clark National Park
  • Lassen Volcanic National Park
  • Mammoth Cave National Park
  • Mesa Verde National Park
  • Mount Rainier National Park
  • North Cascades National Park
  • Olympic National Park
  • Petrified Forest National Park
  • Pinnacles National Park
  • Redwood National Park
  • Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Saguaro National Park
  • Sequoia National Park
  • Shenandoah National Park
  • Theodore Roosevelt National Park
  • Virgin Islands National Park
  • Voyageurs National Park
  • White Sands National Park
  • Wind Cave National Park
  • Wrangell – St. Elias National Park
  • Yellowstone National Park
  • Yosemite National Park
  • Zion National Park

NATIONAL PARKS

List of National Forests

There are over 100 National Forest lands included in the America the Beautiful Pass. Here’s a list of some, but be sure to double-check with the forests before visiting as this list is always changing!

  • Allegheny, PA
  • Angeles, CA
  • Angelina, TX
  • Apache-Sitgreaves, AZ
  • Apalachicola, FL
  • Arapaho, CO
  • Ashley, UT
  • Beaverhead-Deerlodge, MT
  • Bienville, MS
  • Bighorn, WY
  • Bitterroot, MT
  • Black Hills, SD
  • Boise, ID
  • Bridger-Teton, WY
  • Caribou-Targhee, ID, WY
  • Carson, NM
  • Chattahoochee-Oconee, GA
  • Chequamegon-Nicolet, WI
  • Cherokee, TN, NC
  • Chippewa, MN
  • Chugach, AK
  • Cibola, NM
  • Clearwater,
  • Cleveland, CA
  • Coconino, AZ
  • Colville, WA
  • Conecuh, AL
  • Coronado, AZ, NM
  • Croatan, NC
  • Custer, MT, SD
  • Daniel Boone, KY
  • Davy Crockett, TX
  • Delta,
  • Deschutes, OR
  • De Soto,
  • Dixie, UT
  • Eldorado, CA
  • El Yunque,
  • Finger Lakes, NY
  • Fishlake, UT
  • Flathead,
  • Francis Marion, SC
  • Fremont-Winema, OR
  • Gallatin, MT
  • George Washington & Jefferson, VA, WV, KY
  • Gifford Pinchot, WA
  • Gila, NM
  • Grand Mesa, CO
  • Green Mountain, VT
  • Gunnison, CO
  • Helena, MT
  • Hiawatha, MI
  • Holly Springs, MS
  • Homochitto, MS
  • Hoosier, IN
  • Humboldt-Toiyabe, NV, NM
  • Huron-Manistee, MI
  • “Idaho Panhandle
  • Coeur d’Alene, St. Joe, Kaniksu, ID, MT, WA”
  • Inyo, CA, NV
  • Kaibab, AZ
  • Kisatchie, LA
  • Klamath, CA, OR
  • Kootenai, MT, ID
  • Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, CA, NV
  • Land Between The Lakes, KY, TN
  • Lassen, CA
  • Lewis and Clark, MT
  • Lincoln, NM
  • Lolo, MT
  • Los Padres, CA
  • Malheur, OR
  • Manti-La Sal, UT, CO
  • Mark Twain, MO
  • Medicine Bow – Routt, CO, WY
  • Mendocino, CA
  • Modoc, CA
  • Monongahela, WV
  • Mount Baker-Snoqualmie, WA
  • Mount Hood, OR
  • Nantahala, NC
  • Nebraska, NE
  • Nez Perce, ID
  • Ocala, FL
  • Ochoco, OR
  • Okanogan-Wenatchee, WA
  • Olympic, WA
  • Osceola, FL
  • Ottawa, MI
  • Ouachita, AK, OK
  • Ozark-St. Francis, AK
  • Payette, ID
  • Pike, CO
  • Pisgah, NC
  • Plumas, CA
  • Prescott, AZ
  • Rio Grande, CO
  • Rogue River-Siskiyou, OR, CA
  • Roosevelt, CO
  • Sabine, TX
  • Salmon-Challis, ID
  • Sam Houston, TX
  • Samuel R. McKelvie, NE
  • San Bernardino, CA
  • San Isabel, CO
  • San Juan, CO
  • Santa Fe, NM
  • Sawtooth, ID, UT
  • Sequoia, CA
  • Shasta-Trinity, CA
  • Shawnee, IL
  • Shoshone, WY
  • Sierra, CA
  • Siuslaw, OR
  • Six Rivers, CA
  • Stanislaus, CA
  • Sumter, SC
  • Superior, MN
  • Tahoe, CA
  • Talladega, AL
  • Tombigbee, MS
  • Tongass, AK
  • Tonto, AZ
  • Tuskegee, AL
  • Uinta-Wasatch-Cache, UT, WY
  • Umatilla, OR, WA
  • Umpqua, OR
  • Uncompahgre, CO
  • Uwharrie, NC
  • Wallowa-Whitman, OR, ID
  • Wayne, OH
  • White Mountain, NH, ME
  • White River, CO
  • Willamette, OR
  • William B. Bankhead, AL

All the rest

With 2,000 sites and a constantly changing list, the best thing you can do ahead of your trip is check directly with the park you’re visiting to confirm it will work. If you’re not sure where you’d like to go, you can see complete listings of federally-owned parks, forests, and protected lands on each of the governing agency websites. But be warned, in some cases, these websites are beasts! They have the most up-to-date information but they’re better approached once you already have a park in mind. There are better tools out there for actually planning your National Park trip.

Bureau of Land ManagementBureau of ReclamationFish & Wildlife ServiceNational Park ServiceU.S. Forest ServiceUS Army Corps of Engineers

Hell yeah, it's almost summer again! Are you planning a road trip through the US National Parks? If you've got more than 3 National Parks on your radar, the America the Beautiful Pass is a totally worth it. Here's everything you should know about the US National Park pass including how much it costs, where to buy it, and a list of parks included.
Hell yeah, it's almost summer again! Are you planning a road trip through the US National Parks? If you've got more than 3 National Parks on your radar, the America the Beautiful Pass is a totally worth it. Here's everything you should know about the US National Park pass including how much it costs, where to buy it, and a list of parks included.

Did you find this post helpful? Have other questions about the America the Beautiful Pass and how to use it? Was the list of parks useful?

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