Visiting one of the many Kansas state parks is a great way to enjoy time outdoors and experience everything the state has to offer. State park visits can get pricey, though. We found ways you can save money on your Kansas state parks visits!
Kansas state parks offer helpful pass options.
Getting into Kansas state parks is actually really affordable, but if you visit a lot, the price can add up. If you want to get into any of the state parks around the state, you’ll have to pay a $5 vehicle entrance fee. The fee is per vehicle and not per person. You have to pay it each time you enter the park including during the same day. It does not include any extra permits or passes that you might need for some of the state parks (including Prairie Spirit Trail State Park).
If you plan on visiting Kansas state parks more than three times each year, you might benefit from the state parks annual pass. The annual pass only costs $15.50 and gets you access to the parks all year long. The pass is per vehicle and can be shared between two vehicles, but only one can use the pass to get in at a time. For example, if your family has two cars, you only need one pass. You will only be able to put the pass in one car at a time, though. If you want to take both of your cars to the parks, you’ll need to purchase two passes or just an additional day use pass.
Are you a Kansas National Guard member? You’re in luck! Kansas recently passed a law that allows Kansas National Guard members free access to the parks. You must apply for the pass in person at any of the state parks that are staffed. You must provide proof of service and proof of residency to get the pass. The pass is good for one year so you’ll need to apply each year that you want to get a pass. It’s good for your vehicle only.
All Kansas state parks passes are rolling. They expire exactly one year from the day you purchase them.
Ways to save money on Kansas state parks.
Kansas state parks all offer free days that you can get into the park without paying an entrance fee. Twice a year, all the parks do it. Throughout the year, each individual park has free entrance days. These days are great because you not only get free entrance to the parks, but they also offer free activities and learning opportunities for you during the free day celebrations. We even heard they had some great contests last year where visitors could win free annual passes and awesome swag during the free day celebrations!
Each year on National Trails Day, the Prairie Spirit Trail is open for free. This is an extra special event because you normally have to pay an additional fee to use the Prairie Spirit Trail. You can get free admission to the park and enjoy the camaraderie of hiking the trail with others during the celebration. Extra educational opportunities and learning activities are available on National Trails Day.
If you want a Kansas annual pass that is super easy, you can get one with your vehicle registration. The passport is the same price as the annual pass but it comes with a few extra perks. If you apply for it with your vehicle registration, it’s good for the whole year your registration is. You can set up an auto-renew program for the passport to make it easier to remember to renew. Passport holders may also get other fun things like stickers, additional passes and exclusive opportunities to visit the parks.
Seniors can save a little on their Kansas state parks pass! The annual state parks pass is only $13.75 for seniors. You must apply for the pass in person instead of online or by mail. You will need to provide proof of residency and age. The pass is not a lifetime pass and is only good for one year so be prepared to apply and pay again next year!
Activities to do in Kansas state parks.
Kansas state parks all participate in First Day Hikes. At some of the state parks, you can get free admission for the hikes, but you will need to check your local park to find out if they’re offering it. The hikes are held on the first day of the year, but may not be available due to weather conditions. Always check with the state park website to find out if the First Day Hikes are canceled because of weather.
The state parks offer educational programs to visitors. Both adults and children can enjoy the educational options available at Kansas state parks. If you want to learn more about nature, find out about the history of Kansas or learn how you can do your part to make nature better, visit one of the education centers. Some of the parks even have educational museums that are free with your entrance to the parks!
Want to explore more of Kansas? Check this out!
If you’ve seen everything that Kansas state parks have to offer, you can check out the national parks in the state. Don’t have your national parks pass yet? See how you can get a national parks pass for cheap!