Love spending time in nature and enjoying all the different things Idaho state parks have to offer? Don’t want to keep throwing money you don’t have at vehicle entry fees to get into the park? We found some solutions!
Get into Idaho state parks for free.
Got a fourth grader? They can get into Idaho state parks totally free (along with the family). National parks teamed up for Every Kid Outdoors to give free national park passes to fourth graders. The good news is that Idaho honors these park passes in their state parks. If you haven’t already gotten your Every Kid in a Park pass, you can apply through Idaho state parks or the National Parks website.
If you don’t have a vehicle, you may actually get into the parks for free. Most Idaho state parks only charge an entrance fee for vehicles coming into the park. That means if you live close to one of the state parks or you’re staying close to one, you can get in for free! Not all of the state parks are free to get into. Also, not all of the state parks offer free activities for you to do once you’re in the park.
Each year, Idaho state parks offer free days. The state parks may offer different days each year and the days might even vary from year to year. Many times, the state parks will also offer free activities and other things for you to enjoy. It’s great to plan your trips around these free days to help your whole family save some money!
Save money on Idaho state parks.
Getting into Idaho state parks is cheap compared to some parks. You can get into the state parks for only $7 per vehicle per day. The entry fee applies to most regular passenger vehicles. The entry fee may be more on special occasions or it may be waived during certain times of the year. You must pay the entry fee at all the state parks in cash.
If you’re an out of state visitor, you can get an annual pass for only $40. It’s worth it if you plan to visit the state parks more than eight times. It’s also perfect for people who live in a border state close to an Idaho state park and want to visit on a regular basis. The pass is good for two vehicles and can be used for an entire year. There are some instances where the pass will cost you less if you purchase it during certain times of the year.
In-state visitors can get an Idaho state parks passport for $10 per year. You can purchase the passport with your vehicle registration. Since you can register your vehicle for one or two years in Idaho, you can have your pass match, but keep in mind they are unable to prorate it if you have a two-year registration. For example, you cannot register your car for two years and only purchase a one-year state parks passport.
Want free camping? You might get free camping!
Camping as a host in the state parks is a great way to camp for free, meet new people and learn new skills. Not only will you get free camping for up to an entire summer, but you’ll also receive free training to help you become a better host. You will have to do some work – like offering guests information on the park, refilling restrooms and some maintenance duties around the campground, but many hosts find it worth it. In addition to free camping for anywhere from 30 days to an entire season, you can enjoy a free annual pass to the park!
Low-income families can save on camping in Idaho state parks! Idaho provides a $4 discount to families considered low-income. While you can show tax statements or pay stubs to provide proof of your income status, the easiest way to get camping discounts is providing a SNAP or other federal assistance benefit card. You may also provide proof of need by showing SSI or SSDI benefits.
Veterans who are 100% disabled from 100% service-related issues can camp for free at Idaho state parks. You must provide proof of service-related disability and your status as a 100% disabled veteran. If you qualify, you will also get free entrance into the parks. The free entrance and free camping only apply to Idaho veterans, but if you are coming from out of state you can check with the specific park you’re visiting to find out if they offer discounts to disabled veterans. Each park has different policies concerning veteran discounts.
Seniors can camp for a 50% discount in Idaho state parks. Unless the park is specifically marked as one that does not offer the discount, you can enjoy this benefit at all the Idaho state parks. You must be an Idaho resident. You must also be 62 years or older.
Idaho state parks have a lot to do!
It’s easy to find activities in the Idaho state parks. The parks offer conservation information, interpretive centers and even museums in some areas. At all the state parks, you can learn about nature and the different ecosystems in Idaho. You can also learn about the things the parks have to offer and the history of them. Most activities are free.
Visiting Sacred Encounters is a great way to learn more about history. While the encounter is not included in your state park admission, you can learn more about all the things that happened to make the state park what it is. The cost is only $5 to get into Sacred Encounters.
Each park has different trails and options for people to enjoy while at the state parks. In addition to actually visiting the trails, you can learn more about safety and different hiking options while you’re there. The trails are all marked for different levels of difficulty, from kid-friendly to expert!
There are lots of activities for kids in Idaho state parks!
The official Idaho state parks mascot, Scout the Fox, helps kids navigate the parks and learn more about the things each park has to offer. Scout the Fox has been the mascot for years and often visits Idaho classrooms. When you see Scout at state park events, be sure to visit because there’s almost always free swag!
From stargazing to free classes and special events in between, kids can get great opportunities at the state parks. Many kids activities are free and will always be listed on the calendar of events!