military free national parks

Active military personnel can visit and explore more than 2,000 U.S. federal parks and recreation lands for free all year long, thanks to America the Beautiful — The National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Pass.

This free pass ($80 value) includes active-duty U.S. military members and their dependents in Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, and most U.S. Reserve and National Guard members.

Unfortunately, military veterans or retirees are not included in this free pass offer at this time, but veterans may have other opportunities to get discounts on a national parks annual pass — those over 62 can get a Senior Pass and anyone with a permanent disability can get a free lifetime pass.

The pass is available at any national park or wildlife refuge that charges a fee when military show their America the Beautiful Pass. The pass includes the active military member and everyone in a non-commercial vehicle at sites that charge admission on a per-vehicle basis. The pass owner must be present when the pass is used and it can not be loaned out to anyone else.

To get your pass, you’ll need to visit a federal recreation site in person and present proof of your active military status. You can see a full list of all the sites around the state (and country) where you can pick up your free military pass at this link.

It’s worth noting that the free annual military pass is only good for admission to these sites, but it does not cover any additional amenities, like camping, parking, guided tours, or boat launching fees.

To learn more about the free America the Beautiful Pass for active-duty military, visit the National Park Service website.

And don’t forget, there are 5 Free National Parks Days this year where everyone can get no-cost admission, even if you aren’t in the military.

Looking for more military deals? Check out our guide to military discounts across Houston.