Free National Park Access for Veterans and Gold Star Families

Free National Park Access for Veterans and Gold Star Families
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Free National Parks access for Veterans and Gold Star Families applies regardless of their healthcare status, offering veterans and their families a fantastic opportunity to explore and enjoy the great outdoors.

Enjoying National Parks and Federal Lands

Veterans and Gold Star Families can enjoy free entrance to National Park Service land, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service locations, and standard amenity recreation sites managed by the Bureau of Land Management and the Bureau of Reclamation. All this gives free access to approximately 2,000 public locations spread across more than 400 million acres of public lands.

Veterans Eligibility and Required Identification

To qualify for free National Park access Veterans must present one of the following forms of identification:

  • Department of Defense Identification Card
  • Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC)
  • Veteran ID Card
  • Veterans designation on a state-issued U.S. driver’s license or identification card

Qualifying Situations for Gold Star Families

Gold Star Families should present a printed voucher upon arrival. The voucher can be obtained from the National Park Service website. To qualify for free National Park access, Gold Star Families includes the immediate family members of a U.S. Armed Forces member who lost their life in:

  • Combat operations
  • Training accidents
  • International terrorist attacks
  • Military operations outside the United States

How to Obtain Free National Parks access for Veterans and Gold Star Families

Veterans and Gold Star Families do not need to apply for a pass to enjoy this benefit. Simply presenting one of the qualifying forms of identification at the entrance station of a national park or federal recreation site will grant them free access.

Resources for Planning Your Visit

For those planning a visit, resources such as the National Park Service website provide valuable information on park locations, available amenities, and current conditions. Many parks also offer ranger-led programs and educational activities that can enrich the visit.

Make the Most of Your Free National Parks Access

Before heading out, take some time to plan your visit. Check the National Park Service website for information on park locations, operating hours, and any seasonal activities or events. Some parks require reservations for popular attractions or limited-capacity activities, so booking in advance can ensure you get all the benefits.

Ranger talk at Rocky Mountain National Park

Take Advantage of Ranger Programs

Many national parks offer ranger-led programs, including guided hikes, educational talks, and wildlife viewing tours. These programs can enhance your visit by providing expert insights into the park’s natural and cultural resources.

Explore National Park Visitor Centers

Many national parks offer visitor centers with exhibits, films, and interactive displays that provide valuable information about the park’s history, geology, and ecology. Take some time to explore these resources for a more enriching visit. Get Tips for Visiting National Parks

By planning ahead, engaging in ranger programs, visitor center and enjoying outdoor activities you can create unforgettable experiences in some of the most beautiful places in the United States. Whether you’re on a family outing or a solo adventure, the breathtaking landscapes and rich history of national parks await you.

Important Note on Access to State Parks

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