How to Save Money at National Parks

Many National Parks in Canada and US charge admission fees, that are on top of the camping fees. However many do not. Some of the most visited parks such as Great Smoky Mountain in Tennessee or Redwoods National Park in California never charge admission fees.

Buying a pass is a great money-saving option. In the US you can buy an annual pass that admits you and up to 3 additional adults for only $80. Senior’s (62 and older) pass is valid for a lifetime and costs only $10.

In Canada Annual Discovery Pass costs $67.70 for adult (17-64), $33.30 for youth (6-16) or $136.40 for family/ group (up to 7 people arriving in one vehicle). This pass includes entry to 27 participating National Parks and 77 Historic Sites, which include such popular parks as Jasper and Banff in Alberta and Bruce Peninsula National Park in Ontario.

Many national parks offer variety of interesting programs for free or for a nominal fee such as a guided nature walks, star gazing, hiking, lectures about wildlife or other kids programs. They are usually worth your time and effort.

If you do not want to stay at the campground in the park itself, whether you do not have all the required equipment or the campground is full, you can usually find affordable lodging just outside the park. There are many motels and restaurants that cater to park visitors and are quite affordable. Of course nothing beats the camping fees so it is advisable to book your sites early and get your gear in order to avoid disappointment.