Travel Try This

How to Get A National Park Passport (or a State Passport) and SHOULD You Even Get One?

There's a treasure hunt happening across the United States. Will you be one of the elite to hit all 470+ parks in a year?

If you have one of these, you obviously know my answer. In that case, post a picture of your favorite stamp and link it in the comment section below. On the other hand, if you have NO IDEA WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT, read on.

What is a National Park Passport?

What if there was a way to get a free souvenir from each place you visit? You totally can with an NPS Passport. At National Parks, Battlefields, Wildlife Areas, et cetera, you can find beautiful stamps to add to a notebook. These stamps contain the date of your visit and the name of the site. Some are HUGE and elaborate works of art. Others are the standard name and place. All are free.

To kick it up a notch, you can get a National Park Service Passport. Pick one up on your next trip to a U.S. State Park – you’ll find it in the gift shop for about $10. But remember, you don’t need the passport to get the stamps.  Any regular notebook will do.

How does the NPS Passport work?

Divided into regions, each section of the passport provides a quick introduction to the parks in a particular part of the country.

  1. Flip to a region in the book.
  2. Twirl your finger around the page until you decide which park you want to visit.
  3. Go.
  4. Have fun there.
  5. Before you leave, ask a ranger where the passport station is (usually near the entrance, exit or gift shop).
  6. Stamp your passport.
  7. Celebrate with a cupcake.


So, here’s where things get super awesome. With the popularity of this national passport, other entities have started their own passport systems. Many states (not most, sadly) have a passport for their state parks. Here’s the one from North Carolina.

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These state passport books are often free.

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There are also regional and commemorative passports.

Here’s one for the 350th anniversary of a 1663 Royal Charter (King Charles II) that gave management of both Carolinas to 8 Lord Proprietors. Eventually, these would be broken apart into some 16 modern counties of the Albemarle region.

There’s a passport for stops along the Underground Railroad and even a passport for America’s lighthouses.

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Soooooo next time you so someplace, be sure to ask if they have a passport stamp station. These sites sometimes overlap and you can walk away from a single site with three, seven, or even more stamps…and you know how much I love collecting stuff.

Fun. Free. I’m in.

Happy travels out there!

22 comments on “How to Get A National Park Passport (or a State Passport) and SHOULD You Even Get One?

  1. That’s a fun idea. I had recently learned about the National Park Passport but had no idea that there were others. Thanks for adding to my ideas of places to go.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely idea. Need to get to the US and have a go. We don’t have anything like this for our national parks – maybe we should 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t have a national or state park passport (although maybe I should get one). I do collect the badges from filling in those junior ranger booklets at the national parks though (they’re not just for kids!). Fun and free is the perfect combination.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Greetings – I keep a log of my Roadtrek travels, and stamp the stamp in there. When I’m home again and can take a photo of one of those pages, I’ll post it on kayak2016blog, so you can see it. I’m wandering with the car now, and don’t keep a log boo for that. I have the Passport for the State of Maine; I never got to where I had enough filled in to get the free night of camping, but almost. And we were inspired by that to start a Passport for Quaker Meetings in New England – also fun.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. coffeepjsmom

    Just got one for my daughter! It’s a great way to remember your time there.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a cool idea. I don’t think we have them here in Australia. I’ll have to make my own!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. That’s really neat! I didn’t know they did that.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. We RV’d from Texas to Maine. I forgot my satellite TV setup. I did not forget my Park Passport.
    Acadia NP: stamped.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Definitely going to a get a passport for the NC 100 miles challenge this year! So fun!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. We just ordered the NC passports for our family last week………and then of course we couldn’t be patient and have visited 4 parks and do not even HAVE our books to stamp yet. Luckily, all of the parks we have been to so far have the stickers in addition to the stamps. 🙂


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