5 Tips for Enjoying America’s National Parks by RV

Honor NPS rivers and trails during a special centennial

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July 18, 2018

Paddling North Dakota. Photo: North Dakota Tourism National Park RV trips

Tips for fantastic national park RV trips.

Ready to hit the trail? Or do you prefer paddling on a river? Well, you’ve chosen the right time to do either of those things, because 2018 is the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service’s National Trails System and Wild & Scenic Rivers System.

So pack those hiking boots and kayak or canoe in your RV and get ready to celebrate. Here are 5 tips for making the most of your National Park explorations this year.

1. Make your campground reservations now

There are also amazing private campgrounds located just outside of many national parks. These private campgrounds can offer the best of both worlds: fantastic amenities along with easy access to the great outdoors! Book your stay far ahead of time to get a decent spot. Look for RV parks near national parks here.

National Park RV trips

The Tepees at Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. Photo: LarryKnupp/Getty Images/iStockphoto

2. Consider visiting some lesser-known national parks

Huge crowds annually flock to Yellowstone and Yosemite National Park. But with over 400 national parks, lake shores, seashores and historic monuments, you can celebrate the centennial without fighting the crowds.

3. Buy National Parks Annual Pass

Senior Citizens can purchase a lifetime National Parks pass for $10 and everyone else can get an annual pass for just $80. This will get you and a carload of people into any of the National Park sites that charge an admission fee. The best part about the pass is that it may just encourage you to visit a few more places over the course of the year. Of course, the flexibility of RV travel makes this easy as well!

4. Get off the beaten loop road

Many visitors never venture far away from the loop road available at most national parks. Make sure you visit the ranger station and ask the experts for personally tailored advice, so you can experience the hidden gems and escape the crowds. Check the park calendar for ranger programs that will help bring alive the ecology and history of the park.

5. Bring all your toys!

National parks offer endless opportunities for outdoor activities including hiking, biking, fishing, kayaking and rock climbing. One of the best perks of traveling by RV is that you can bring all your gear and toys along for the journey. Fishing poles, canoes, bikes and backpacks will all be safely stored in your RV, just waiting to help you get the most out of your national parks adventure.

Jeremy and Stephanie Puglisi

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  1. Anonymous

    Senior lifetime passes are $80

  2. Anonymous

    Senior Citizens Lifetime passes are now $80 as of August 28, 2017.

  3. Anonymous

    The NPS Senior Lifetime Pass is now $80.

  4. Anonymous

    National Park Service lifetime Senior Pass fee increased to $80 in August 2017.

  5. Anonymous

    On August 28, 2017, the price of the America the Beautiful – The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Senior Pass increased for the first time since 1994. The lifetime Senior Pass increased from $10 to $80.

    The legislation also establishes an annual Senior Pass for $20. That pass is valid for one year from the date of issuance. Four annual Senior Passes purchased in prior years can be traded in for a lifetime pass.

    W. Cummings

  6. Anonymous

    Senior Citizens can purchase a lifetime National Parks pass for $10 and everyone else can get an annual pass for just $80.

    The senior lifetime pass is now $80.

  7. Anonymous

    As I have come to expect, information is not current. Senior pass is no longer $10. Be ready for surprise at new cost.