Yes, it’s true. There is such a thing as a FREE 4th grade national park pass. Every child in fourth grade in the United States can get a pass that grants them, and their family, access to every national park in the country!
This initiative is called Every Kid Outdoors (formerly known as Every Kid in a Park). It began in 2015 to help get kids outside and interacting with nature. This program also ensures that more families have access to our amazing national parks.
Our family has been able to take advantage of the 4th grade national pass several years (child number three is in 4th grade this year). We visited some amazing parks including Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Pinnacles, Crater Lake, Lassen, and Yosemite!
Bonus: FREE Entry for 5th Grade Students, too! Due to COVID travel restrictions, they expanded the free park pass program to include 5th graders for the 2020-21 school year!
How to Get Your 4th Grade National Park Pass
Getting a pass is easy, peasy. With your 4th grader, visit the Every Kids Outdoor website.
Have your 4th grader follow the prompts on the screen to select their own adventure. These prompts don’t actually do anything, they’re just for fun! After a couple of questions, you’ll enter your zip code and a free national park pass voucher will be generated.
Yellowstone National Park
How to Use Your 4th Grade National Park Pass
Print out the pass and take it with you on your next visit to a national park. Electronic copies are not accepted, so you’ll need a paper copy. At the park entrance kiosk, hand the voucher to the ranger.
The ranger will ask to see your fourth grader. Roll down the back window and allow your child to say hi! The ranger will give you a pass made of hard plastic (the size of a credit card) and ask the 4th grader to write their name on the card using a permanent pen or marker. Once you have the pass, you no longer need the voucher. You can simply show the pass at the entrance of the next national park you visit!
The 4th grade national park pass is good for the fourth-grader and everyone traveling in the vehicle with them.
Hiking in Grand Teton National Park
How Long Can I Use My Free Pass?
The Every Kid in a Park pass is good for one year. Access is granted starting September 1st and is good through the end of the school year and summer, expiring on August 31st.
You can use your 4th grade national park pass as many times as you would like, there is no limit as long as your fourth-grader is in the car! If you enter a park on foot or by bicycle, the pass will cover all children under the age of 16 and up to three adults.
Where Can I Use My 4th Grade National Park Pass?
Your free national park pass is actually so much more than a national park pass! The Every Kid Outdoors pass will grant you access to both national parks AND federal recreational lands and waters.
This means you have free access to more than 2,000 recreation sites! 63 of those are national parks.
Grand Canyon National Park
Get Your FREE Pass and Start Planning Your Trip!
Road trips to national parks are one of our favorite ways to enjoy a family vacation. Camping in or exploring national parks is also an affordable way to travel!
We love finding ways to help you SAVE MORE, and getting a free 4th grade national park pass is definitely a bonus!
If you need help planning for your trip, check out our post on creating a foolproof trip budget in 9 steps! Or, if you plan to tent camp for the first time, we can help you get started with A Beginner’s Guide to Tent Camping: 102 Things to Pack.
Where you do plan to use your free park pass? Tell us in the comments below!