Annual Passes - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

2021 Annual Pass Program FAQ

What Annual Passes are available for 2021?

As a result of the positive feedback we received from our visitors, the 2021 Annual Pass Program (expiration 2022) is offering the same passes we provided last year.  These passes include the following:

  • "California Explorer" Annual Pass ($195), offering vehicle entrance to 134 state parks, including the high demand Southern California beaches along the Orange, Los Angeles and San Diego Coasts.
  • The popular "Golden Poppy" Annual Pass ($125) is making a comeback, and will include vehicle entrance to 112 state parks including most reservoirs and many popular destination parks and northern California beaches.

  • The "Historian Passport ($50) will include admission to up to four people to State Historic Parks that generally charge a per-person admission fee.  Pass holders will be able to tour a California mission, see where the gold rush happened and experience Native American culture.

  • The "Tahoe Regional" Annual Pass ($75) will include Lake Tahoe State Parks such as D.L. Bliss SP, Ed Z'Berg Sugar Pine Point SP, Emerald Bay SP and Kings Beach SRA, and even includes Donner Memorial SP.

Where are the 2021 Annual Passes available for purchase?

Annual Passes are available for purchase via our online store and in-person at many locations throughout the State Parks system.  Passes are also available for purchase at most District and Sector offices and many Park Units. Call ahead for availability.

For questions or more information, please contact the Park Pass Sales Office via email at PassInfo@parks.ca.gov.


 

General Pass FAQ

What Annual and Discounted Passes are available for CA State Parks?

CA State Parks offers a wide variety of Annual & Discounted Passes. Please check out our Annual & Discounted Passes for more information.

What is the difference between a County Park, State Park, and a National Park? Why do they all have different passes?

There are a wide variety of different parks operated by various agencies. Simply, a County park is operated by the local county, State park by the State, and National Park by the Federal Government. Each agency has their own pass because each agency has their own operation.

Is there a pass that covers all of the County, State and National Parks?

Unfortunately, there is no pass that covers all of the parks.

Does CA State Parks charge a per person entrance fee at its parks in addition to the vehicle day use fees?

CA State Parks does not charge an additional per person entrance fee for its parks that charge a vehicle day use fee. However, this does not apply to any museums that charge per person admission fees or private events that may be held at the CA State Parks.

Do I have to pay a fee if I walk or ride my bicycle into a CA State Park that charges a vehicle day use fee?

No, there are no fees associated with walking or biking into a CA State Park.

Why isn’t my annual or discounted pass accepted at locally operated CA State Parks?

Although CA State Parks operates a majority of its state parks, there are selected CA State Parks that are operated by a third party. CA State Parks operated by a third party have the discretion to accept/ not accept discounted and annual passes. View a list of parks NOT accepting Annual Passes. 

Does the Annual Passes Include Boat Launching?

No. Boat users can purchase a boat sticker to affix to their pass to cover boat launching.  The boat sticker is $100 for each vessel.

Do I need a boat sticker for my kayak?

A boat sticker is not needed for a kayak less than 8ft in length.

Any Special Rules for Oversized Vehicles?

Yes. In the high-demand units of southern California we must charge fees according to the space you occupy. If your recreational vehicle occupies two spaces, we offer an Oversized Vehicle sticker for an additional $75. This fee is designed to recover revenue lost when an oversized vehicle uses more than one space that could have been filled by an additional paying vehicle. The fee will also deter large vehicle owners from expanding their recreational vehicles (RV) in a parking area, limiting space for other paying visitors. If the vehicle’s traveling length and width extend beyond two spaces, additional stickers may be purchased to cover the number of spaces occupied by the vehicle. Additional stickers cannot be purchased to accommodate a vehicle’s extended size. Stickers may only be used to cover the traveling size. Extending a shade canopy or additional equipment into adjoining spaces beyond traveling size will require a day use fee for each additional space used.

How do I show proof of having an annual or discounted pass if there are only self-pay kiosks [iron rangers] present?

For Annual Passes please clearly display the pass on your vehicle’s dashboard where it is visible through the windshield. For Discounted Passes please display the pass and self payment receipt [if applicable] on your vehicle’s dashboard where it is visible through the windshield.

I have an annual or discounted pass, how do I show I have a valid pass if I am parking my motorcycle in a CA State Park?

If there is an open kiosk at the park please see a staff member.  Please show them your annual or discounted pass and they will be able to print you a day use receipt that you can attach to your motorcycle. If there are only self pay stations please fill out one of the self pay envelopes and include your pass information on the envelope. Place the envelope in the iron ranger and attached the receipt to your motorcycle. Always bring your pass with you and have it ready if asked to present it.

Does CA State Parks donate annual passes to qualifying nonprofits/fundraisers?

Unfortunately, as a State Agency we are unable to assist with this type of request because the donation of passes can be considered a gifting of state funds.

How do I reserve a campsite at a CA State Park?

Please visit the ReserveCA website to reserve a camping reservation.


Annual Pass FAQ

Where can I purchase a CA State Parks Annual Pass?

Annual passes can be purchased in person or online. Please see the list of where passes can be purchased in person at our Designated LocationsTo purchase passes online please visit our CA State Parks Online Store.

Where can I use my CA State Parks Pass?

This will depend on the type of pass you have. Please check the Terms and Conditions page for your pass to find out where the pass can be used. The Annual Passes Fact Sheet has links to each pass type. 

Does CA State Parks offer annual camping passes?

No, CA State Parks does not offer an annual camping pass. All camping reservations can be made on ReserveCalifornia.

When does my annual pass expire?

All annual passes are valid for 12 months from the month of purchase. For example, if you purchase a pass in January 2020. The pass will be valid until the last day of January 2021.

How do I purchase an annual pass as a gift?

Annual passes can be purchased as gifts online or in person at our designated pass sales locations. Since annual passes are not tied to an individual, passes can be purchased and then gifted.

Who can I contact if I purchased an annual pass online and have not received it?

Please contact the CA State Parks Online Store at 866-417-2757 or on their Contact Page.

Do you offer discounts for active military, first responders, or state employees?

Unfortunately at this time we do not offer discounts for active military, first responders, or state employees.

My Annual Pass was lost/stolen, how do I receive a replacement?

At this time our departmental policy is that any lost/stolen pass must be repurchased.

The park that I utilize my annual pass at is temporarily closed. Can I receive a refund for my pass?

Current Departmental Policy is that annual passes are not refundable due to: “loss, theft or environmental conditions such as low water levels, fire, park closures or inclement weather.” For more information please see our Terms & Conditions for your specific pass.

I purchased the wrong annual pass, am I able to upgrade my pass?

Yes, annual pass upgrades are available. Please contact the Park Pass Office for more information. All annual pass upgrades are only completed at the Park Pass Office.

Discounted Passes FAQ

Where can I apply for a Discounted Pass in person?

Disabled Discount Passes, Limited Use Golden Bear Passes and Golden Bear passes can be submitted in person at Designated Pass locations. Distinguished Veteran Passes are only issued in person at the Park Pass Office located at 1416 9th Street Room 116 Sacramento, CA 95814, or by mail to Park Pass Office, PO Box 942896 Sacramento, CA 95825. 

Can I apply for a Discounted Pass by mail?

Yes, please mail all Disabled Discount, Distinguished Veteran, Limited Use Golden Bear and Golden Bear Applications to:

CA State Parks

PO BOX 942896

Sacramento, CA 94296- 0001

I mailed my Discounted Pass Application, how long until I receive my pass?

For Distinguished Veteran Pass and Disabled Discount Passes the turn around time can be 8-10 weeks. For Limited Use Golden Bear and Golden Bear Passes the turn around time is about 4-6 weeks. Please keep in mind that pass turn around times can be faster depending on our application seasons. 

Can I submit my Disabled Discount Pass Application or Distinguished Veteran Pass Application online?

No, at this time we only accept applications via mail or in person because the application requires an original signature.

I have the outdated [white cardstock] Disabled Discount Pass or Distinguished Veteran Pass. How do I apply for the updated pass?

CA State Parks is requiring individuals with the old Disabled Discount Pass or Distinguished Veteran passes to completely reapply. For additional information on the reapplication process please contact the Park Pass Sales Office via email passinfo@parks.ca.gov

Do I have to renew my lifetime Disabled Discount Pass or Distinguished Veteran Pass?

Yes, every five years the Disabled Discount Pass and Distinguished Veteran Pass must be renewed. Although the pass is considered to be a lifetime pass, the card does need to be renewed every five years. Pass expiration dates can be found on the front of your pass so you can keep track of when it is time to renew. Additionally, CA State Parks will notify you to update your pass prior to the card expiring.

I just moved, how do I update my address for my Disabled Discount Pass or Distinguished Veteran Pass?

Please email passinfo@parks.ca.gov to request a Change of Address form. Once you submit a completed Change of Address form to the Park Pass Office, we can update your address.

I recently had a name change. How do I update my name on my Discounted Pass?

Please contact the Park Pass Sales Officevia email passinfo@parks.ca.gov to request a Name Change Form.

I qualify for the Disabled Discount Pass and the Distinguished Veteran Pass, can I apply for both passes?

Disabled Discount Passes and Distinguished Veteran Passes are both lifetime passes. At this time, a passholder can only hold one lifetime pass at a time.

How do I receive my discount for camping if I have a Disabled Discount Pass or a Distinguished Veteran Pass?

If you have the updated credit card styled pass, your profile on ReserveCA.com has already been created for you. Just make sure to use the email you provided on your application as your username. If you have not set a password please click the “Reset Password” button and a temporary password will be e-mailed to you. Once you log in you will receive the discount automatically when checking out. If you do not see the discount automatically being applied, please call the Park Pass Office at 916-653-8280 or email Passinfo@parks.ca.gov.

I am not a resident of California, can I qualify for a discounted pass?

The Disabled Discount Pass, Golden Bear and Limited Use Golden Bear Passes DO NOT have residency requirements. However, in order to qualify for a Distinguished Veteran Pass you must be a California resident.

My child has a permanent disability. Are they eligible for the Disabled Discount Pass?

Yes, minors are able to apply for the Disabled Discount Pass. If the child is under the age of 18 a parent/guardian must be listed on the application.

I lost my discount pass, how do I receive a replacement?

At this time our departmental policy is that any lost/stolen pass applicants must completely reapply for the pass. Please email passinfo@parks.ca.gov if you need additional assistance on reapplying.

My discounted pass is completely faded from the sun, how do I receive a replacement?

Please email us at passinfo@parks.ca.gov.

What is the difference between a Golden Bear Pass and a Limited Use Golden Bear Pass?

The Golden Bear Pass is considered to be our limited income pass while the Limited Use Golden Bear Pass is our senior pass. In order to qualify for the Golden Bear pass you must meet the income qualifications listed on the application. For the Limited Use Golden Bear Pass you must be 62 years or older in order to qualify.

The Limited Use Golden Bear Pass asks for my spouse/registered domestic partner. Can their name be on the pass if my spouse/registered domestic partner is not 62 or older?

Yes, as long as the primary applicant is over the age of 62 then the spouse/registered domestic partner does not have to be 62 years or older.