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.
- Flip to a region in the book.
- Twirl your finger around the page until you decide which park you want to visit.
- Have fun there.
- Before you leave, ask a ranger where the passport station is (usually near the entrance, exit or gift shop).
- Stamp your passport.
- Celebrate with a cupcake.
AND THERE ARE DIFFERENT TYPES OF PASSPORTS, Y’ALL.
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.
These state passport books are often free.
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.
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!