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How to get a FREE National Park Pass in the USA

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Visit national parks for free with your Every Kid in a Park pass

Every Kid in a Park is a Federal Land Management youth initiative "to get all 4th graders and their families to experience the places that are home to our country’s natural treasures, rich history, and vibrant culture." 

The goal of this initiative is to give every 4th grader across the nation a chance to explore and experience our national parks and federal public lands in an up-close and personal way throughout the coming school year.

How and where to get your 4th grader's FREE national park pass

Each and every school year, beginning September 1, all 4th graders can access their very own Every Kid in a Park pass for FREE at

When your 4th grader visits the website, he/she will spend one minute filling out a short adventure journal online. Once finished, he/she enters their zip code and then clicks on GET MY PASS. They will print their paper pass and keep it in a safe place until they  hop on the road with you and your family to explore.

Yes! This pass provides free access to hundreds of parks, lands, and waters for an entire year across the United States. 

NOTE: An Every Kid in a Park pass obtained this school year is good until August 31, 2019. 

Who else can get into USA national parks for free?

Free Annual Passes for U.S. Military

Current U.S. military members and dependents in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard as well as Reserve and National Guard members can pick up a FREE annual pass as well.

Military members can obtain their free annual pass into national parks by showing up in person at a federal recreation site and showing their Common Access Card (CAC) or Military ID. Here is a list of federal recreation sites that issue passes. 

What about Senior Citizens?

While not free, the Senior Pass is a heckuva deal.

Only $80 for a Lifetime Senior Pass (or $20 for an annual pass), my parents have used theirs many times over the past couple of years. 

This Senior Passes are open to U.S. citizens or permanent residents age 62 or over. Applicants must provide documentation of age and residency or citizenship.

Senior citizens can purchase these in person at a federal recreation site, online (add an extra cost of $10), or through the mail. Learn more about buying senior passes here. 

If a fourth grader does not currently live under your roof, or you're not a military person or a senior citizen, then consider buying an America the Beautiful annual pass here. It's worth every penny, when you plan on visiting two or more national parks over the next year.

Fee-free days in our national parks

Looking for fee-free days in our national parks this year?

All National Park Service sites that charge an entrance fee offer free admission to everyone on these four days in 2018:

  • January 15: Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • April 21: First day of National Park Week

  • September 22: National Public Lands Day

  • November 11: Veterans Day

Look for them to offer fee-free days again in 2019!

Know a fourth grader, military person, or senior citizen who loves nature and the great outdoors? Please pass this article on, thanks! 

What's your favorite national park with kids so far? Please let us know below!