Every Kid in a Park


Free National Park Pass

Oh my, fall has finally arrived in Virginia! The temperatures are cooler, leaves are starting to fall, and pumpkins are everywhere. This weekend we picked over 15 pounds of apples at one of our favorite orchards, Carter Mountain. The trip was long since everyone around wanted to enjoy a beautiful fall day at Carter Mountain, but the trip was worth it and we now have apples to last us awhile!

Fall, to me, ignites the desire to get out and explore. Some of the greatest places to explore in our country are the National Parks. Did you know every 4th grade student has the opportunity to get a FREE National Parks Pass? My 4th grade daughter is all signed up and VERY eager to go out and explore.

Who doesn’t like something free? Be inspired by our nations natural treasures. Our National Park system is full of amazing, awe inspiring destinations. As a mom to a fourth grader I think it’s only appropriate to educate as many as possible on the wonderful program the National Park Service has provided for 4th graders. If you don’t have a 4th grader yet, spread the news to others who might. This program was started 3 years ago and I hope it continues!


  • Visit https://everykidinapark.gov

  • The pass is valid September through the following August.

  • The 4th grade student must complete the web based activity in order to obtain the pass. It’s nothing difficult and takes no more than 5 minutes to complete.

  • You must have a paper copy of the pass after completing the form. Keep it in a safe spot.

  • The pass covers the pass owner (4th grader) and 3 accompanying adults ages 16 and older at places where a per person fee is charge. Children 15 and under are free.

  • The pass allows the owner and accompanying passengers in single private vehicle to enter sites that charge a per vehicle fee.

  • The fourth grader must be present in order to use the pass and may not be loaned to others

  • No refunds are given if you have already purchased the pass or forget to bring your pass.

  • If an attendant is not present at a park, place pass on the dashboard.

  • The pass does NOT include the following- fees such as camping, boat launching, parking, special tours, special permits, or ferries.

Don’t just get the pass, use the pass! The pass not only includes parks but also monuments, gardens, memorials and other wonderful sites. I invite you to take a look, I am sure you can find something close or you can start planning a magnificent trip to one of the wonderful National Parks across the country. I will say, some of our best vacations have been to the National Parks where we unplugged, relaxed and explored the beauty and wonder that our country contains. It’s hard to pick a favorite park, each park is completely different and contains endless opportunities to explore. The National Parks system also has a ranger program for kids (5-12) which allows them to learn about the different features of the park. It's a great way to have a self-guided tour through the park while exploring freely. Can you do me a favor? Send this article with anyone with a 4th grade child.

“There is nothing so American as our national parks. The scenery and the wildlife are native. The fundamental idea behind the parks is native. It is, in brief, that the country belongs to the people, that it is in process of making for the enrichment of the lives of all of us. The parks stand as the outward symbol of the great human principle.”

– Franklin D. Roosevelt

A member of the Gifted Travel Network