The indispensable America the beautiful pass
If you are planning to travel to the USA soon and would like to attack national parks and other federal places, there is a very advantageous pass: the America the beautiful pass.
1The advantages of the America the beautiful pass
This pass provides access to 2,000 National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands and other sites. The complete list of sites accessible with the pass is available at this link: http://store.usgs.gov/pass/PassIssuanceList.pdf
The pass is cost $80 and allows a vehicle of 4 persons over 16 years old to enter freely in the zones concerned for 1 year from the date of purchase. Please note that for the youngest, admission is free.
If you are more than 4 people over 16 years old in a vehicle, you will be charged an additional premium at the entrance.
2How do I know if the pass is profitable?
All you have to do is add up the entrance fees for each park you wish to visit, provided they are included in the list of parks whose entrance is accessible with the pass. If the total exceeds 80$ for 4 people, it's because the pass is profitable! In general, depending on the parks, the pass is often profitable from the 4th or 5th park visited.
To find out the park entrance fees, visit the National Parks website, which will always be up to date: https://www.nps.gov/. Please note that some parks are free on certain days of the year.
3Where to buy it?
It is possible to buy the pass in advance on the Internet: http://store.usgs.gov/pass/index.html but I strongly recommend that you wait until your first visit to buy it directly on the spot (much simpler).
When you enter an eligible park for the first time, ask for a pass directly from the ranger who will greet you in the park's cahute. You will need to enter your name in accordance with the name on your passport.
If, however, there is no storage at the entrance to the park, come forward and stop at the visitor centre, where you can buy the precious sesame. You will then simply have to present it each time you enter an eligible parkwith your passport.
4Any last trick?
It is possible to add a second cardholder's name to the card, so that it could be resold at the end of the trip, or buy a card that was already valid at half price. However, it is clearly stated on the site that the card is not transferable...
It should also be noted that the pass does not allow access to State parks, which must be paid for. Nor will it allow entry into private parks or Indian-controlled parks such as Monuments Valley, or Antelope cayon for example.