During our West Coast road-trip, we planned to visit several National Parks to immerse ourselves into something else rather than just cities in the USA.
As we were driving the entire coast, from Seattle to San Diego, and still making it to some other states like Wyoming and Arizona, there were a lot of parks we could choose from, including a great variety of landscapes.
We were a little worried at first thinking that this would slash down a major chuck of our budget, as there is an admission fee for most of the national parks. But with a little research we came across a card called America The Beautiful issued by the National Parks Service.
America the Beautiful is an admission card that grants access to all the national and federal parks in the USA, for a flat yearly fee of USD 80.
What are the advantages?
- entrance to 2000 national parks, national wildlife refugees and national forests all over the country;
- 1 card covers one non-commercial vehicle and ALL its passengers (up to 4 adults);
- cards are available for nationals and tourists alike and can be purchased at the park’s entrance or online.
Considering the individual cover charges, if you plan to visit several parks and there is at least 2 of you, chances are the card is worth it!
Let’s look into all the money we saved during our trip:
Grand Canyon NP: USD25 per vehicle (valid for 7 days)
Grand Teton NP: USD25 per vehicle (valid for 7 days)
Yellowstone NP: USD25 per vehicle (valid for 7 days)
Glacier NP: USD25 on Summer or USD15 on Winter, per vehicle (valid for 7 days)
Redwoods NP: FREE
Yosemite NP: USD20 per vehicle (valid for 7 days)
Total expenses if we would have paid individually = USD 120
Total spent with America The Beautiful card = USD 80
Savings = USD 40
Although in this case we saved a total of USD40 for the both of us, imagine the kind of savings one can enjoy if you stay all year inside the US and plan to visit different parks or vacation (camp, hike..) inside one of them for more than 7 days in a row!
That is one of the things we appreciated the most during our trip around the USA: we noticed these kind of measures are meant to inspire people to go and spend time in nature, enjoying the beautiful places the country prides itself in protecting. No wonder seniors can get an admission card for only USD 10 for life-time and military or handicapped individuals’ admissions are completely free!
Everyone should be able to enjoy America The Beautiful, the admission card and the actual place!