Don’t Forget these Items on your National Park Vacation

Senior National Parks and Forest pass


I’m going to Big Bend National Park in a couple of days. I’ve got all my stuff laying in a corner – the tent, sleeping bag, pad… It’s amazing what’s on the list from our Sierra Club leader. But here are three things that I always take.

America the Beautiful – National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands

In Western North Carolina, our National Parks and Forests are free but that’s an anomaly. Most National Parks charge admission. If you have this pass, you’ll get in for free. It’s $80 a year if you’re under 62. But when you turn 62 years old, it’s only $10 for a lifetime pass. How can anyone turn that down?

Where do you get it? You must get it at a place that charges admission and that is run by the Federal Government, not just at a visitor center. You can’t get the pass online. I got mine when I went to Rocky Mountain National Park. In Western North Carolina, the only place I know that charges an admission fee is the Cradle of Forestry. They sell the passes.

 Great Smoky Mountains Association card.

You get 15% when you buy stuff in the Smokies but you get a good discount in other parks that have cooperating association. I’m sure that Big Bend Natural History Association, the  cooperating association there, will get some of my money.

Postcard stamps

No, I’m not going to give you the link to the U.S. Postal Service. I enjoy sending postcards. Stamps are the most difficult things to get on the road. I’m usually not in civilization when the post office is open, even if I can find one. So I always take a few stamps.

None of these things were on our Sierra Club packing list.

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