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How Do I Get a Free State Park Pass?

How Do I Get a Free State Park Pass?

Are you eligible for a free state park pass?! We’ve found free passes and discounts coast to coast! Depending on where you live, you may be able to get free admission, free parking, free camping and so much more!


I was so surprised when I discovered that my husband’s disability meant we no longer needed to purchase an annual Discover Pass to visit Washington State Parks! I was even more surprised when I found out we could get a free Oregon parks pass, too!

Since my family loves to road trip, we’ve picked up a free state park pass in at least four different states over the years. It’s been an amazing way to create irreplaceable family memories without breaking our limited budget.

This has been a huge blessing to us because we couldn’t always afford to visit those parks. Early in our marriage, we were turned away at the entrance of a popular park in our area because we hadn’t realized that admission was so expensive. It was heartbreaking and our kids were so disappointed!

After all, some of the most beautiful places in the US are tucked away in state parks. If you can’t afford the entrance fee, a lot of times you’ll feel like you’re missing out.


That’s why we’ve spent so long researching how to get a free state park pass in every state. Even in states that don’t charge admission, we’ve been able to find ways that you can save money on camping and other amenities.

How do I get a free state park pass?

There are several ways that you can get a free state park pass. Some of them are easier than others.

Check for discount programs.

Use the alphabetical state list below to find out what discount programs are available in your state. Often, you’ll find free lifetime passes for seniors or disabled veterans, as well as free or discounted passes for foster families and others.

We’ve thoroughly researched every state to find all of the programs that are available to you, so be sure to check out that list below for details.

Volunteer at the park

Volunteers usually get a free state park pass as a reward for their work. Depending on what parks are available in your area, you may be able to volunteer as a trail guide, janitor, maintenance worker, or educational program assistant.

Here are an example of some state parks volunteer jobs:

  • Trail Maintenance Volunteer: Help maintain hiking trails by clearing debris, repairing erosion, and ensuring safe passage for park visitors.
  • Campground Host: Assist campers by providing information, maintaining campsites, and ensuring a safe and enjoyable camping experience for all.
  • Nature Center Volunteer: Assist with educational programs, lead guided nature walks, and help visitors learn about local wildlife and ecosystems.
  • Wildlife Monitoring Volunteer: Aid in wildlife surveys, tracking animal populations, and collecting data on species diversity within the park.
  • Interpretive Volunteer: Lead guided tours, give presentations, and share knowledge about the park’s history, geology, and cultural significance.
  • Visitor Center Volunteer: Welcome visitors, provide park information, and help with general administrative tasks at the visitor center.
  • Park Clean-up Crew: Participate in park clean-up events to maintain cleanliness, remove litter, and preserve the park’s natural beauty.
  • Junior Ranger Program Volunteer: Assist with organizing and facilitating hands-on activities and educational programs for children and families.
  • Habitat Restoration Volunteer: Engage in projects such as invasive species removal, reforestation, and habitat enhancement to promote ecological balance within the park.
  • Special Events Volunteer: Assist with planning and coordinating special events, such as festivals, races, and concerts, held within the park.

In exchange for volunteering a certain number of hours, you may be able to receive a free pass. This will allow you to spend quality time in the park even when you’re not busy volunteering.


Participate in Events

Some state parks programs offer special events that award participants with a free state park pass. These events often focus on conservation, environmental stewardship, or other skills. Sometimes, these events are focused on helping young children get excited about and involved in the parks system.

To find an event like this, you’ll need to keep a close eye on your state park’s department. Follow them on social media and email so that you can be alerted before any upcoming events or programs happen.

Go on Free Days

State park free days are awesome opportunities for you and your family to enjoy the beauty of nature without paying anything. These special days are organized by each state’s park systems so the dates vary by state.

Regardless, the free days let you explore and experience state parks without any entrance fees. They happen throughout the year, and you’ll need to know about them in advance so you can plan your visits. On these days, you can hike, have picnics, swim, and join educational programs and more. It’s a great way to spend time with loved ones, appreciate nature, and make memories without spending money.

State park free days also help more people get into outdoor activities. The hope is that by not charging entrance fees, more people will want to visit and learn from being in nature. Families, students, and community groups can take advantage of these free days to have fun, learn about plants and animals, and develop a love for the environment. State park free days bring people together, teach us to take care of nature, and inspire us to protect our natural resources for the future.

You can usually find a list of free days on your state park’s department website.

All 50 States for

Which states have free state parks passes?

Obviously, each program varies by state. We have done a lot of research on this to find all of the discounts and deals that you might qualify for!

Select your state from the alphabetical list below to find out what discounts are offered by your state’s state parks service.

Don’t forget your National Park Discount!

If you qualify for a free state park pass, you may also qualify for a free National Parks pass as well! There are so many beautiful parks around the country that you can visit with one of these passes.

If you think you might be eligible, you can contact the National Parks service or read this guide.


No matter where you live, you may be able to get a free state park pass, discounts on amenities and more! We have spent countless hours researching every state’s park system to uncover all of the amazing ways that you can save money while making memories in these beautiful areas. Use the general advice in this article or click through to our state-specific guides for more information about what is available near you.

jimmy waycasy

Monday 3rd of July 2023

Would like to enter state parks for fishing

Catherine Marucci

Wednesday 5th of July 2023

Hi Jimmy. Definitely look into the resources listed above. You can also call the state park or 211 for more advice.