(EXPIRED) Free National Park Pass for families w/ 4th graders

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If you have a child in 4th grade in your family, you can get a free National Parks Pass valid for the 2018-2019 school year (until August 31, 2019) good for all of the kids in your family under 16 and up to 3 adults (or 1 passenger vehicle). That’s a nice deal for those who qualify and are looking to explore the great outdoors with the family.

The Deal

  • Free US National Parks Pass for 4th graders (whether in school or home-schooled)
  • Pass is good for the 4th grader and all of your family’s children under 16 plus up to 3 adults
  • Direct link to this promotion

Key Terms

From the website:

  • The pass is for U.S. fourth-grade (or home-school equivalent) students.
  • The pass is for the 2018 to 2019 school year. It expires August 31, 2019.
  • Students can’t transfer the pass to anyone else.
  • We can’t accept electronic versions of this paper for access or to exchange for a pass.
  • No refunds are given for previously purchased passes, or if you forget your pass when you visit.
  • If you lose your pass, get a new one by visiting the website and signing up again.
  • Educators can get one paper pass for each of their fourth-grade students.
  • This program only provides passes for fourth graders.

How it works

  • Show your pass to a ranger when you enter. If there is no ranger, leave it on the dashboard of your car.
  • If you visit a site that charges entrance fees per person— The pass admits all children under 16 and up to three adults for free.
  • If your group visits a site that charges vehicle entrance fees – The pass admits all children under 16 and all adults in up to one passenger vehicle. Commercial vehicles can’t use a pass to get in.
  • If you arrive at a site on bicycle— The pass admits all children under 16 and up to three adults on bicycles.
  • The pass doesn’t cover things like parking fees, camping, boats, and special tours. Also, some sites are managed by private operators. They may not honor the pass. Check with the site ahead of time to find out.
  • The pass doesn’t cover fees for local, city, or state parks and recreation areas unless they say that they accept this pass.
  • Paper passes can be exchanged for plastic passes at certain sites.

Quick Thoughts

“Every Kid in a Park” is apparently a recurring program that happens each year (so that all children will qualify for a free pass at some point), but I hadn’t been aware of the program. If you have a 4th grader and plans to travel domestically this year, this could certainly come in handy. I’ve got a lot of years before Baby Rey is 4th-grade-ready, but hopefully this program will stick around as I’d love to take advantage of it when the time comes. I picked up a National Parks Passport a few years back and hope to help him fill up that passport over the years — this might help.

H/T: Points, Miles, and Martinis

Last updated on August 31st, 2019

About Nick Reyes

Nick Reyes is a (fairly) regular guy with an animalistic passion for maximizing the value of miles and money to travel the world in comfort and style. There is little in life that he loves more than finding a fantastic deal and helping you shop smarter & harder to achieve your travel dreams.

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I”ve got a fourth grader and live near quite a few National Parks! But signing up for it was slick with no 4th grade verification and the terms don’t say how they verify 4th grade status…


We used the pass this past summer with my son, who was in 4th grade last school year. It is simple to get and use, really just based on the honor system. When we entered the parks and showed the park ranger the pass they would usually ask if my son was with us, and we would roll down his window so he could say hi.