Free Entrance to National Parks for Current Military, Veterans, and Gold Star Families

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The National Park Service in partnership with Operation Live Well would like to thank military personnel and their families for their service and invite them to enjoy their national parks.

The free Military Pass is a way to thank current US military members and their dependents, Gold Star Families, and US military veterans for their support of our country and to encourage them to explore recreational opportunities on their public lands and waters.

A free lifetime Military Pass is available for Gold Star Families and US military veterans. A free annual Military Pass is available for current US military members and their dependents. The passes provide free access to more than 2,000 federal recreation areas, including national parks, wildlife refuges, and forests.

What is the Military, Veterans, and Gold Star Family Free Access Program?

Current US military and dependents, Gold Star Families, and US military veterans are eligible to receive free annual or lifetime passes which cover entrance or day use fees at national parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests, and other federal recreational lands.

Who is eligible to get a free Military Annual Pass?

Current members of the US Armed Forces and their dependents can enter national parks for free with an Interagency Military Annual Pass through the America the Beautiful – the National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass (Interagency) Program. There are a total of eight Interagency Passes available. For more information and to obtain these passes, please visit the USGS Online Store.  

Who is eligible to get a free Military Lifetime Pass as a veteran?

For purposes of this program, a veteran is identified as an individual who has served in the US Armed Forces, including the National Guard and Reserves. There is no application or form to fill out to receive the Military Lifetime Pass. Simply present one of the following forms of identification to get the Interagency Military Lifetime Pass when entering a national park:

  • Unexpired Department of Defense Identification Card (DD Form 2, DD Form 2765, or Next Generation USID replacement)
  • Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC)
  • Veteran ID Card
  • Veterans designation on a state-issued US driver’s license or identification card

Find places to get an Interagency pass, including sites that issue the Military Lifetime Pass.

Who is eligible to get a free Military Lifetime Pass as a member of a Gold Star Family?

Gold Star Families are next of kin of a member of the US Armed Forces who lost his or her life in a “qualifying situation,” such as a war, an international terrorist attack, or a military operation outside of the United States while serving with the US Armed Forces. Eligibility requirements are in section 3.2 of Department of Defense Instruction 1348.36.

How does a member of a Gold Star Family get a free Military Lifetime Pass?

Before visiting a national park site, Gold Star Family members must download and print a voucher to present to park staff, exchange for an Interagency Military Lifetime Pass, or place on the vehicle dashboard at unstaffed sites (representations of the voucher are prohibited; the physical voucher or pass must be present). By downloading and signing the voucher, Gold Star Family members are self-certifying that they meet the required criteria as identified in sections 3.2 and 3.3 of Department of Defense Instruction 1348.36.

View a list of federal locations that issue passes. 

Download the Gold Star Family Voucher.

Gold Star Family members can obtain a free Military Lifetime Pass online through the USGS Online Store. There is a processing fee for passes ordered through the USGS Online Store.

Does the pass include others traveling with the veteran or Gold Star Family member?

The free Military Lifetime Pass admits the veteran or the holder of the Gold Star Family voucher as well as occupants of a single, private non-commercial vehicle OR the veteran or voucher-holder and three persons (16 and older) where per person fees are charged. The passes are non-transferrable and are void if altered.

What agencies are participating in the free Military Pass program?

The program waives entrance or standard amenity fees for the following agencies:

How long will free access be available?

Veterans and Gold Star Families receive free lifetime access.

What is covered by the free Military Pass program?

The Gold Star voucher and Military Lifetime Pass cover entrance fees at national parks and national wildlife refuges as well as standard amenity fees (day use fees) at national forests and grasslands and on lands managed by the National Park Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation and US Army Corps of Engineers.

What is not covered by the free Military Pass program?

The pass does not cover expanded amenity fees such as camping, tours or special recreation permits; reservation fees and fees for organized groups or concession-operated facilities or activities.

Are passes available for disabled veterans or other people with disabilities?

Yes. The Interagency Access Pass is a lifetime pass that is free for any US citizen or permanent resident, including a veteran or Gold Star Family member, who has a permanent disability. An Access Pass may also provide discounts for expanded amenities like camping, guided tours etc. For more information visit USGS Online Store - Access Pass.

What if I have a current Interagency Military Pass or other type of Interagency Pass?

If you already have a Military Pass, Access Pass, or one of the other Interagency Passes, you can simply use that pass for free access.

If you have recently purchased an Interagency Annual or Senior Pass, unfortunately no refunds are permitted.

All Interagency Passes are non-transferable.

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Last updated: November 30, 2023