Southern California Park Passes

If you plan to spend any time in the parks throughout Southern California, it might be beneficial to obtain a park pass.  Below is a list of the main park passes that can be utilized in SoCal.

California State Park Passes

The “California Explorer” Annual Pass at $195 offers the most value including the popular Southern California beaches along with the Orange, Los Angeles, and San Diego Coasts like Huntington Beach, Leo Carrillo, and Carlsbad State Beaches. This pass is also honored at most parks throughout the state that is operated by California State Parks and charges a vehicle day-use fee. 

The California Explorer Vehicle Day Use Annual Pass is valid for 12 months from the month purchased.  This pass does not provide access to Off-Highway Motor Vehicular Recreation areas (OHV), is not valid for camping, boat use fees, oversized vehicle fees, additional/extra vehicle fees, sanitation disposal use, or other supplemental fees, and is valid only in parks operated by California State Parks. Admittance and use subject to available space.  The pass (photocopies not accepted) must be presented at the entrance station and displayed on the rearview mirror or vehicle dashboard (as applicable) when visiting state parks that honor this pass; proof of purchase not accepted for entry.  View the California Explorer Annual Pass Terms and Conditions and complete list of parks accepting and not accepting the pass.

California Parks: Annual and Special Passes

The popular “Golden Poppy” Annual Pass priced at $125, includes many of the premiere “destination” parks in the redwood region, and most of the state reservoirs.  Parks like Julia Pfeiffer Burns and Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park on the Monterey coast are included along with coastal units in San Luis Obispo and the Channel Coast area. 

The Golden Poppy Vehicle Day Use Annual Pass is valid for 12 months from the month purchased.  This pass does not provide access to Off-Highway Motor Vehicular Recreation areas (OHV), is not valid at the high demand Southern California Beach Parks, is not valid for camping, boat use fees, oversized vehicle fees, additional/extra vehicle fees, sanitation disposal use, or other supplemental fees, and is valid only in parks operated by California State Parks. Admittance and use subject to available space.  The pass (photocopies not accepted) must be presented at the entrance station and displayed on the rearview mirror or vehicle dashboard (as applicable) when visiting state parks that honor this pass; proof of purchase not accepted for entry.  

California Parks: Annual and Special Passes

This pass is specifically for one of the jewels of the state, the Lake Tahoe region.  The “Tahoe Regional” Annual Pass at $75 gives Tahoe enthusiasts the ability to frequent their favorite Lake Tahoe State Parks including D.L. Bliss SP, Ed Z’Berg Sugar Pine Point SP, Emerald Bay SP and Kings Beach SRA, and even includes Donner Memorial SP.

The Tahoe Regional Vehicle Day Use Annual Pass is valid for 12 months from the month purchased.  This pass does not provide access to Off Highway Motor Vehicular Recreation  areas (OHV) and is valid only at the units listed above.  This pass is not valid for camping, boat use fees, oversized vehicle fees, additional/extra vehicle fees, sanitation disposal use, or other supplemental fees, and is valid only in parks operated by California State Parks. Admittance and use subject to available space.  The pass (photocopies not accepted) must be presented at the entrance station and displayed on the rearview mirror or vehicle dashboard (as applicable) when visiting state parks that honor this pass; proof of purchase not accepted for entry.  View the Tahoe Regional Annual Pass Terms and Conditions and the list of parks accepting and not accepting the pass.

California Parks: Annual and Special Passes

This pass is valid for passenger vehicles with a capacity of nine persons or less at all State operated Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMVR) areas designated as Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) units where vehicle day use fees are collected. Valid for 12 months from month of purchase. Admittance and use subject to available space,  The pass (photocopies not accepted) must be presented at entrance station and displayed on the rearview mirror or vehicle dashboard (as applicable) when visiting state parks that honor this pass; proof of purchase not accepted for entry. 

California Parks: Annual and Special Passes

The Historian Passport Day Use Admission Annual Pass provides unlimited entry for up to four persons to many State Historic Parks that charge a per-person admission fee or a vehicle day use fee. Visit an authentic California Mission, learn about California’s Gold Rush and discover the stories unveiled by over a million historic artifacts around the Golden State.

The Historian Passport Day Use Admission Annual Pass is valid for 12 months from the month purchased. This pass does not provide access to Off Highway Motor Vehicular Recreation areas (OHV), is valid only at select units and not valid at high demand Southern California beach parks, at California state reservoirs and is not valid for camping, boat use fees, oversized vehicle fees, additional/extra vehicle fees, sanitation disposal use, or other supplemental fees, and is valid only in parks operated by California State Parks. Admittance and use subject to available space.  The pass (photocopies not accepted) must be presented at entrance station and displayed on the rearview mirror or vehicle dashboard (as applicable) when visiting state parks that honor this pass; proof of purchase not accepted for entry.  View the Historian Passport Terms and Conditions and complete list of state historic parks accepting and not accepting the pass.

California Parks: Annual and Special Passes

The Oversized Vehicle Pass sticker is placed on the California Explorer Vehicle Day Use or Golden Poppy Vehicle Day Use Annual Pass hangtag or a separate card for those who already have their passes. Valid for 12 months from date of purchase or through the valid date of the annual pass.  Possession of a valid Oversized Vehicle Pass sticker will waive the oversized vehicle fee as described below

Oversized Vehicle Fees

Oversized vehicles described as 25 feet or over in length or 9 feet or wider in width will be charged an Oversized Vehicle Fee (OVF) equal to and in addition to the park’s vehicle day use fee.  A vehicle pulling a trailer will also be considered an oversized vehicle except as noted below.

Oversized Vehicle Pass Stickers can be purchased to cover the vehicle’s traveling size in lieu of paying the separate Oversized Vehicle Fees. However, extra stickers cannot be purchased to cover extending the vehicle beyond the traveling size.  Any additional spaces occupied by the vehicle will be charged an extra vehicle fee for each whole or partial additional space occupied.

Distinguished Veteran or Golden Bear Pass holders will not be assessed the OVF.  Vehicles towing a boat trailer with a valid Boat Use Annual Pass Sticker or having paid a boat use fee will be not be charged the OVF.  Disabled Discount Pass holders and Limited Use Golden Bear Pass holders must pay the OVF or display a valid Oversized Vehicle Pass Sticker placard.  The Oversized Vehicle Pass will not be required at Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Areas designated as OHV units. The pass (photocopies not accepted) must be presented at entrance station and displayed on the rearview mirror or vehicle dashboard (as applicable) when visiting state parks that honor this pass; proof of purchase not accepted for entry. 

California Parks: Annual and Special Passes

The California Department of Parks and Recreation operates 21 SNO-PARK sites that provide snow-cleared parking lots with sanitation facilities and access to snow play areas, cross-country ski and snowmobile trails. 

A SNO-PARK permit is required for each vehicle parked at a SNO-PARK site from November 1 through May 30 of each year. Permits are sold as Day Permits or Seasonal Permits by permit vendors throughout northern California. Day permits are sold for $5.00 and are valid for one single day. Season permits are sold for $25.00 and are valid for the entire SNO-PARK season from November 1 through May 30. 

California Parks: Annual and Special Passes

For persons with permanent disabilities, this pass entitles the bearer to a 50% discount for vehicle day use, family camping, and boat use fees at California State Park operated units.  

The pass is not valid at units operated by local government, private agencies or concessionaires. It is not valid for per-person entry or tour fees (such as museums), group use or sites, special events, commercial use, oversized vehicle fees, additional/extra vehicle fees, or for supplemental fees and cannot be used in conjunction with any other pass and/or discount. Admittance and use subject to available space.  This is a lifetime pass and is valid for use of the pass holder only.  Although the benefits are lifetime, the pass holder’s passcard will need to be renewed every five years.

California Parks: Annual and Special Passes

Honorably discharged war veterans who are residents of California with an overall / combined rating at 50% or greater service-connected disability, or were held as prisoners of war by forces hostile to the United States, or recipients of the Medal of Honor are eligible to receive the Distinguished Veteran Pass (formerly Disabled War Veteran/Prisoner of War Pass).

Entitles the holder to the use of all basic facilities (including day use, camping and boating) in California State Parks at no charge. The pass is not valid for group use or sites, special events, commercial use, additional/extra vehicle fees, or for supplemental fees and cannot be used in conjunction with any other pass and/or discount. Admittance and use subject to available space.  This is a lifetime pass and is valid for use of the pass holder only.  Although the benefits are lifetime, the pass holder’s passcard will need to renewed every five years. 

California Parks: Annual and Special Passes

Persons 62 years of age or older are eligible to receive the Limited Use Golden Bear Pass.  The pass entitles the holder and spouse or registered domestic partner entry to most California State Park operated units during the non-peak season where vehicle day-use fees are collected at no charge.

The pass must be renewed each calendar year.  It is not valid for use during the peak season from the Friday before Memorial Day through Labor Day at most state parks, and the Friday before Labor Day through Memorial Day at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Picacho State Recreation Area and Salton Sea State Recreation Area.  The pass is not valid at units operated by local government, private agencies or concessionaires. It is not valid for per-person entry or tour fees (such as museums), boat use, camping, group use or sites, special events, commercial use, oversized vehicle fees, additional/extra vehicle fees, or for supplemental fees and cannot be used in conjunction with any other pass and/or discount.  Admittance and use subject to available space.

California Parks: Annual and Special Passes

National Park / Forest Passes

Your national forest lands are a unique and precious resource, yours to enjoy and take care of so that they will always be there…for present and future generations.

  • Forest Adventure Pass Daily Pass—Costs: $5 per day
  • Forest Adventure Pass Annual Pass—Costs: $30 Annually

Many of the facilities and services in San Bernardino National Forest are free. Some areas and facilities do require the Adventure Pass or other fees to help maintain, manage and improve the amenities that you enjoy.

USDA Forest Service – Forest Adventure Pass

America the Beautiful Pass is honored nationwide at all Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, and US Fish & Wildlife Service sites charging entrance or standard amenity fees

  • Valid for 12 months from the month of purchase. Expires the last day of the month punched. 
  • Has two signature lines and any two individuals may sign the pass. Both are considered pass holders.
  • Admits pass holder and any accompanying passengers in a private non-commercial vehicle.
  • At per-person fee sites, admits the pass holder and up to 3 persons. Persons 15 and younger are admitted free of charge.
  • Frequent visitors of multiple federal agency lands may save money by buying an Interagency Annual Pass.

Validation:

The date is validated by the seller at the time of purchase unless it is being purchased for another as a gift. The pass is not valid for use until at least one person signs the pass.

USDA Forest Service: America the Beautiful Pass

Orange County Park Pass

Parking pass permits one vehicle to park on a day at all County of Orange operated regional recreation facilities parking areas with controlled access gates.

Purchase Here

All County Parks and Beaches Parking Pass
Regular: $80

Senior (60yrs+)/Disabled: $50
Distinguished Veteran: No Fee*

Riverside County Park Passes

The Annual Individual Day Use Pass allows free day use access to Riverside County Parks and facilities for the pass holder and accompanying dogs or horses for one year (12 months from the date of purchase). Additional passes may be purchased at a discounted rate, if purchased at the same time.

Riverside County Park and Recreation

Disabled persons residing in Riverside County California may purchase the Annual Day Use Discount Pass for Persons with Disabilities. The pass is valid for one year (12 months from the date of purchase) and grants Day Use entry for the pass holder and up to three accompanying dogs/horses into Riverside County Parks.

Riverside County Park and Recreation

Veterans residing in Riverside County are eligible for the W.A.I.V.E. Pass. This pass is free of charge and grants the following privileges:

  • Free boat launch on both Veterans and Memorial Day
  • Free one-time per year admission to county-operated aquatics facilities
  • Free one-time per year watercraft launching privileges at county-operated boat ramps (applicable to specially-advertised dates)
  • Free day-use admission to Riverside County Parks on an unlimited basis
  • Participating Parks: Hurkey Creek Park, Idyllwild Park, Lake Cahuilla Veterans Regional Park, Lake Skinner Recreation Area, Mayflower Park, McCall Memorial Park, and Rancho Jurupa Park.

Riverside County Park and Recreation

San Bernadino County Park Pass

A regional park annual pass is $125 and is good at any park with the exception of Lake Gregory, Moabi and Calico Ghost Town.  The pass may be used park entry with the exception of holidays and special events.

San Diego County Parking Pass

Family Pass – $40/year for San Diego County residents

Senior (62+) – FREE for San Diego County residents
Disabled – FREE for San Diego County (a current California Disabled placard will be honored in lieu of a pass at all regional day use parks)

Santa Barbara County Park Passes

Purchasing a Park Annual Day Pass is the easiest, most affordable way to regularly enjoy Santa Barbara County’s Jalama Beach Park and Cachuma Lake Recreation Area.

The parks Annual Day Pass is only $100 for County Residents and $120 for non-residents. The Senior Annual Day Pass (ages 62 and older with valid ID) is $50 for Santa Barbara County residents and $60 for senior non-residents.

A discounted Veteran Annual Day Pass is available to all veterans with an honorable discharge for only $10. Proof of service can be verified by presenting Veterans Identification Card (VIC) issued by the Veterans Administration, the California State Parks Distinguished Veteran Pass issued by California State Parks or a California Driver’s License or Identification Card with the Veteran designation issued by the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Veterans may purchase one (1) pass per year (12 month period) at the discounted fee.

Santa Barbara County Parks – Park Passes

Purchasing a Park Annual Day Pass is the easiest, most affordable way to regularly enjoy Santa Barbara County’s Jalama Beach Park and Cachuma Lake Recreation Area.

The parks Annual Day Pass is only $100 for County Residents and $120 for non-residents. The Senior Annual Day Pass (ages 62 and older with valid ID) is $50 for Santa Barbara County residents and $60 for senior non-residents.

A discounted Veteran Annual Day Pass is available to all veterans with an honorable discharge for only $10. Proof of service can be verified by presenting Veterans Identification Card (VIC) issued by the Veterans Administration, the California State Parks Distinguished Veteran Pass issued by California State Parks or a California Driver’s License or Identification Card with the Veteran designation issued by the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Veterans may purchase one (1) pass per year (12 month period) at the discounted fee.

Santa Barbara County Parks – Park Passes

Purchasing a Park Annual Day Pass is the easiest, most affordable way to regularly enjoy Santa Barbara County’s Jalama Beach Park and Cachuma Lake Recreation Area.

The parks Annual Day Pass is only $100 for County Residents and $120 for non-residents. The Senior Annual Day Pass (ages 62 and older with valid ID) is $50 for Santa Barbara County residents and $60 for senior non-residents.

A discounted Veteran Annual Day Pass is available to all veterans with an honorable discharge for only $10. Proof of service can be verified by presenting Veterans Identification Card (VIC) issued by the Veterans Administration, the California State Parks Distinguished Veteran Pass issued by California State Parks or a California Driver’s License or Identification Card with the Veteran designation issued by the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Veterans may purchase one (1) pass per year (12 month period) at the discounted fee.

Santa Barbara County Parks – Park Passes

Ventura County Park Pass

Annual Park Passes are good for 12 months of unlimited Day Use Parking at the below  regional parks in Ventura County only.

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