Michigan state parks often refer to themselves as the big green gym, but that gym comes with an admission price. While you do have to pay to get into Michigan state parks, there are so many ways we found to save money!
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Take advantage of free days.
Throughout the year, Michigan State Parks offer different options for visiting the parks for free. They usually have free admission the day after Thanksgiving and one day during the summer. Anyone can get into the park during those days. Check your local state park for additional free days.
If you have a library card in Michigan, you may get into a state park for free one time. The program works with most libraries in the state but check with your local library to be sure it participates. If not, you can visit another library to find out more about the pass.
Save money on your parks visit.
The yearly pass helps you save money. Residents can get the pass for $16 and non-residents can get the pass for $32. If you visit the parks regularly, the pass pays for itself in two visits. A daily park pass is $9.
Michigan residents can also get their Michigan state parks passport with their vehicle registration. You only have to pay $11 if you purchase it when you renew your registration. You’ll just have to show your sticker each time you visit the park.
Veterans Can Get in For Free
Some veterans can get into Michigan state parks for free. All you need is to have a license plate that establishes you as:
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- An ex-POW
- A disabled veteran
- Medal of Honor recipient
- Congressional Medal of Honor recipient
You do not need to fill out any forms or show any proof other than your license plate.
Things to check out with your Michigan state parks passport
The annual passport not only lets you get into Michigan state parks for free but also gives you perks like discounts. You can show your passport at stores, museums and other areas in Michigan to save money.
While the outdoor adventure center is not technically a state park, you can use your passport to get into it. Otherwise, admission is $2. The outdoor adventure center offers learning opportunities and information on Michigan’s great outdoors.
Michigan state parks also offer visitors centers. The centers are free with your admission to state parks. If you have a state parks passport, you may get special admission and free events at the visitors’ centers.
Activities to Do At Michigan State Parks
The Recreation 101 program is for everyone. If you’re new to the great outdoors, you want to learn more about state parks or you’re interested in other learning opportunities with Michigan state parks, you can enjoy the Recreation 101 program. The program is offered at all Michigan state parks and is free with your admission.
Stepping Stones is for children ages 9-16. It is designed for all children, but those who have never been in the state parks or come from the city may feel more comfortable in this program than in others at the state parks. The program can help your children learn more about what to look for in state parks, conservation and what they can do while visiting.
Each year, on or around August 4th, kids can take an adult fishing. As long as adults and kids are fishing together on this day, they don’t need a fishing license. This applies only to Michigan state parks. The state also offers another free fishing day in the early spring each year.