FAQs

What is the California State Library Parks Pass and who can use it?

In partnership with the First Partner’s Office and the California State Library, the California State Library Parks Pass program provides a free vehicle day-use entry for one passenger vehicle with capacity of nine people or less or one highway licensed motorcycle at over 200 participating state park units to library card holders.

California public library card holders can check out the vehicle day-use pass at their local public library. They are not available at the California State Library. If you don’t have a library card, you can get one for free at your local public library; find it at library.ca.gov/branches.


Is the pass valid at all 279 state parks?

No. The State Library Parks Pass is valid for vehicle day use at over 200 participating state park units of the California State Park System operated by State Parks. It is not valid at units operated by federal and local government, private agencies or concessionaires. Also, the pass is not valid for per-person entry or tour fees (such as museums), boat use, camping, group use or sites, special events, additional/extra vehicle fees, sanitation disposal use or for supplemental fees. To see a list of ineligible parks click here, and read full terms and conditions here.


Does the pass cover camping fees?

No. The pass entitles the user to a free vehicle day-use entry for one passenger vehicle with capacity of nine people or less or one highway licensed motorcycle at over 200 participating state park units.

Also, the pass is not valid for per-person entry or tour fees (such as museums), boat use, group use or sites, special events, additional/extra vehicle fees, sanitation disposal use or for supplemental fees. To see a list of ineligible parks click here, and read full terms and conditions here.


Can more than one car or a bus use the pass?

No. Below you will find some details on the pass:

  • Valid for entry of one passenger vehicle with capacity of nine people or less or one highway licensed motorcycle at participating state park units.
  • Valid any day of the week, including holidays, if space is available. Pass does not guarantee parking space.
  • Pass does not provide access to state vehicular recreation areas (off-highway vehicles parks).
  • Not valid for per-person entry or tour fees (such as Hearst Simeon State Historical Monument, California State Railroad Museum, etc.), camping, boat use, group use or sites, special events, oversized vehicle fees, additional/extra vehicle fees, swimming pool fees, sanitation disposal use or for supplemental fees.

To see a list of ineligible parks click here, and read full terms and conditions here.


Can the pass be used for national parks or city parks?

No, the pass is only valid for the over 200 participating state park units.


Will all the public libraries in the state have passes to check out?

Yes, passes were sent to the 1,184 public libraries in the state.


What happens if I lose the pass or the pass is stolen?

Please contact your library and let them know your pass was lost or stolen. They will let you know the replacement fee if there is one.


How are these passes funded?

The 2021/22 State Budget included initiatives to advance equitable access to state parks and open spaces for all Californians. A $9.1 million one-time General Fund investment was included in the budget to launch a state parks pilot to expand parks pass distribution, especially for youth in disadvantaged communities. The pilot includes a California State Park Adventure Pass program that provides free day-use passes for fourth graders and their families, a California State Library Parks Pass and the revamped Golden Bear Pass Program with the California Department of Social Services. Under the library pass program, scheduled to launch in April, State Parks will be providing physical passes to every public library in the state for checkout by library patrons.


What are the goals of the California State Library Parks Pass program?

Advance safe and equitable access to state parks and open spaces for all Californians who have a library card at any public library statewide. By removing the economic barrier of vehicle day-use fees and connecting communities with their libraries, the benefits of parks will be expanded. Programming that complements the passes should also meet goals of health, natural resource stewardship and historical and cultural connections through an equity lens.


Will all the public libraries in the state have passes to check out?

Yes, passes were sent to the 1,184 public libraries in the state. The program will provide 5,000 physical passes, with a minimum of three passes at every library location, including mobile libraries and one pass for the state’s law libraries. Library branches in high-population areas of the state and in areas with a higher poverty rate will receive additional passes at their branch location. They are not available at the California State Library. Please contact your local library for availability. Find your local public library at library.ca.gov/branches.


Why not allow free access for anyone with a library card, rather than limiting to the 5,000 passes that are available?

The State of California believes in the right of all Californians to access public outdoor spaces. As such, the California Department of Parks and Recreation offers free or reduced admission through several programs such as the following:

  • State Park Adventure Pass: The FREE pass provides FREE entry to fourth graders and their families at 19 select state parks throughout the state. 
  • Golden Bear Pass: The FREE pass provides FREE day-use vehicle access to 200+ select state park units for any person receiving aid under the CalWORKs Program or any person 62 years of age or older with income limitations. 
  • Disabled Discount Pass: For persons with permanent disabilities, this $3.50 lifetime pass entitles the bearer to a 50% discount for vehicle day use, family camping, and boat use fees at California State Park operated park units. 
  • Distinguished Veteran Pass: The FREE lifetime pass is available for 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 or war by forces hostile to the United States, or recipients of the Medal of Honor. The pass entitles the bearer to the use of all basic facilities (including day use, camping and boating) in California’s state parks at no charge. 

With more than 23 million library card holders in California, the impact of providing free park access to library card holders would have a significant impact to the department’s operating budget and its ability to provide for basic operational needs, such as resource protection, waste removal and public safety. Thanks for your understanding.