Is The National Parks Passport Worth It?



National Parks Passport Starter Kit Where Are Those Morgans

If you’re heading to any of the US National Parks, you should consider purchasing a national parks passport to help document your adventure. This is a great way to support the parks and its completely free to collect the popular ink stamps at each park you visit.

In this guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to know including what we like and don’t like about the passport.

2024 Update: Use code ‘WHEREARETHOSEMORGANS‘ to receive 15% off your entire oder at America’s National Parks. However, this discount can not be used for any order with the National Park Pass.

Disclaimer: We received a National Parks Passport in order to share our opinion about this product but this is not a sponsored post.

Our Passport Experience

Woman stamping a national park passport book at Shenandoah
Kristen getting a stamp at Shenandoah National Park

We’ve driven around the US twice visiting as many national parks as possible. And unfortunately, we didn’t know about the cancellation stamps until half way through our second trip. But it’s never too late to start collecting so no matter where you are on your national park journey, you can still purchase a passport book.

Personally, we think it’s incredibly fun to collect the stamps. But there are four different kinds of passports so we highly recommend you read our entire guide first before purchasing one because one may work better for you compared to the others. Read more about us.

What Is A National Parks Passport?

Passport to your National Parks collectors edition book
Our Classic Edition passport

A National Parks Passport is a small guidebook with blank spaces that allows visitors to add various ink stamps and stickers for every park visited. We always like to compare it to a travel passport because it works in a very similar way.

In 1986, the non-profit Eastern National, now known as America’s National Parks, created the Passport To Your National Parks® program. Their goal with this program is to help visitors preserve memories and experience the beauty of the US National Parks.

The idea is extremely simple because there is only one initial cost of the passport book and the stamps are completely free to collect. However, there are commemorative stamp sets released every year and these are an additional cost.

However, all net proceeds from the passport system are donated back into the educational programs managed by the NPS. So not only are you able to document your travels, but you’re also supporting the national parks with every purchase.

READ: 20 best National Parks in the US

What Are Cancellations Stamps?

Close up view of a Shenandoah national park passport stamp
Example of a Shenandoah National Park cancellation

Cancellations are round 32mm ink-based rubber stamps that record the name of the national park including the date of your visit. These are similar to the stamps used by the modern day post office on a piece of mail to show that the stamp has already beed used.

Most national park cancellations list the park name across the top with the park location, city and state along the bottom of the stamp. However, you can change the date which is often found in the center of the stamp.

So to stamp your passport at a park, you need to find the passport cancellation station. They are often located near the bookstore, visitor center or you can just ask a ranger.

Travel Tip: Make sure you always check the date on the stamp before using it in your book!

READ: National park quotes

How Many Stamps Can You Collect?

Map featuring 400+ national park service units located in the United States
Detailed map featuring the US national park service units

In total, there are over 400 national park service units including parks, monuments and historical sites. Once you purchase a passport, you’ll receive a detailed map like the one above showcasing all of these park units across the United States. We highly recommend using this map as a starting point.

Every national park will have at least one cancellation stamp with many of the larger parks offering numerous stamps for different sections in that park. For example, Yellowstone National Park has 20 official stamps including stamps for regions such as Mammoth, Old Faithful, Tower Falls, etc.

After researching many databases online, we found varying numbers on how many national park stamps currently exist. But we can conclude there are over 3,000 official national park cancellation stamps and about 490 anniversary stamps. If you have a Junior Ranger, there are another 485 stamps to collect.

If you’re looking for a specific stamp location, the best way to find it is through the America’s National Parks website.

This link will give you the official list to every cancellation stamp supplied by the Passport To Your National Parks® program. The list is updated every month and new listings are highlighted in red.

Planning to camp? Use our exclusive free trial of The Dyrt PRO to snag a reservation at sold out campgrounds in US national parks by using Dyrt Alerts.

Types Of Passport Books

There are four different national park passports. Depending on how many parks you plan to visit, a certain edition may suit your needs so we’ll go over each option in detail.

1. Classic Edition

This is the smallest passport available with 112 pages. It’s a spiral-bound soft cover book featuring park sites color-coded by region. This is the first book we started with and we liked the addition of the color coded regional map.

  • Dimensions: 6″ x 4″
  • Price: $12.95
Classic edition of National Parks passport

Here are a few pros and cons to the Classic edition:


  • Lightweight postcard size is perfect for travel
  • The soft cover is durable and pages are firmly attached
  • Spiral bound spine makes it easy to add extra pages
  • It’s the cheapest edition option


  • 112 pages only gives you 4-5 pages for each individual region
  • Expander packs will be required if visiting many national parks
  • Would need about 4 books if collecting from every national park
  • Limited information about the national parks

>> Buy the Classic edition here

2. Collector’s Edition

The Collector’s edition is a larger passport book with 192 pages. It’s a spiral-bound option with a dedicated space for each national park stamp. We think this is a great option for those who frequent the national parks.

Park sites are divided by region with each area showcasing a colored map with specific locations. This edition also includes official pages for annual National Stamps though 2029.

  • Dimensions: 7.5” W x 10” H
  • Price: $29.95
Collector's edition of National Park passport

Here are a few pros and cons to the Collector’s edition:


  • More information about each park compared to the classic edition
  • Extra space for cancellation stamps in each region
  • Dedicated area for each national park stamp
  • Weather resistant cover makes it durable for travel


  • Bigger and more bulky compared to the classic edition
  • Only room for two stamps and sticker per national park
  • Will eventually run out of room if planning to visit many parks
  • Depending on time of publication, this edition may not be up to date

>> Buy the Collector’s edition here

3. Explorer Edition

The Explorer edition is best for those who plan to visit many national parks. We like this edition because it’s jammed packed with information about each park and allows for the most creative freedom.

This edition is different from the others because it’s a 3 ring binder making it very easy to add and arrange the pages anyway you want. There are also two mesh pockets in the front and back so you can keep your collectables safe.

  • Dimensions: Binder with 3 rings about 11’’ x 8’’
  • Price: $69.95
Explorer edition of National Park Passport

Here are a few pros and cons to the Explorer edition:


  • Best for frequent travelers and road trippers
  • Extremely durable due to the weatherproof portfolio
  • Includes space for all 400+ national parks
  • Extremely customizable


  • Most expensive edition option
  • Large size is bulky and not as travel friendly compared to other editions
  • Will still need a few expander packs if visiting all 400+ parks
  • Can be heavy if loaded with collectables and pages

>> Buy the Explorer edition here

4. Junior Ranger Edition

The Junior Ranger edition was specifically designed for kids so this passport book makes a great gift for any little explorer. It was designed in collaboration with the NPS and is filled with vibrant illustrations by Dave Klüg.

This edition includes a free set of stickers and the blank spaces are specially designed for Junior Ranger cancellation stamps which are earned after completing a park’s Junior Ranger program.

  • Dimensions: 9’’ x 7’’
  • Current Price: $14.95
Junior Ranger edition of National Park passport

Here are a few pros and cons to the Junior Ranger edition:


  • Perfect for kids of all ages
  • Incudes educational content created just for kids
  • Passport is small and easy to transport
  • Great way for kids to learn about US national parks


  • Kids may outgrow this edition in time
  • Does not have room for all 400+ parks
  • Can be time consuming to collect with Junior Ranger programs
  • Text may be difficult for younger children

>> Buy a Junior Ranger edition here

How To Buy A National Park Passport

National Parks Passport geographical regions
Nine passport geographical regions of the United States

National park passports can be purchased through America’s National Parks store online or onsite at most park bookstores. We recommend you purchase your passport book online in advance prior to your trip. If you wait to purchase your passport at a park, stock may be limited or sold out.

So in order to guarantee the edition you want, be sure to buy your passport ahead of time online. This way you can also familiarize yourself with the book before heading to any of the national parks. Use code ‘WHEREARETHOSEMORGANS‘ to receive 15% off your entire order!

If the visitor center was closed or you couldn’t access the stamp station during your visit, you can access blank cancellation stamps online at the NPS website so you never miss a stamp. All you need to do is locate the national park on the NPS website and head to the stamp page.

  • Right click the blank image of the stamp
  • Print the image from the webpage
  • Add the date of your visit
  • Cut out the stamp
  • Tape it into your passport

Or if you forget your passport, the stamp station will have extra pieces of paper for you to stamp. You can then just tape this into your passport when you get home.

Travel Tip: Back in the day, you could mail a personal letter to specific national parks to receive a cancellation stamp from the day you visited. However, we do not know if this is still available so if you’ve recently been successful with this method, we’d love to hear about it in the comments!

What Else Can You Buy?

1988 and 2020 collector stamp series
National park stamp series for 1988 and 2020

The verbiage can be confusing because stamps, stamp series and stickers are sometimes used interchangeably. So just to be clear, these are three different items you can collect with your passport. Here’s an explanation:

  • Cancellation Stamps – These are the free stamps you receive at each visitor center and must be physically stamped into the blank sections of your passport.
  • Stamp Series – Every year since 1986, a new series of passport stamp sets are released. This annual set includes 10 stamps with one national and nine regional locations all on one sheet (pictured above). Stamps sets usually run about $5.95.
  • Single Stickers – These are individual self-adhesive stickers featuring a specific park with additional informational text that is not included in the passport or as part of the stamp sets. Stickers typically run about $3.99.

If you want to add more pages to your passport, here are the popular expander packs:

Or if you’re looking to purchase something for a specific national park, click here for a complete list of stores in alphabetical order.

READ: America the Beautiful Pass

The Morgan Conclusion

Collectors Patch for Passport to your National Parks
Passport collector’s patch

We started visiting the US National Parks in 2019 when Mark immigrated to America and didn’t know about the national parks passport system right away. But we started using the classic edition to collect stamps and stamp sets in our passport in 2021.

However, we’ve quickly outgrown this edition because we frequently visit the national parks. So we upgraded to the explorer edition at the end of 2022 and look forward to many more years of exploring our national parks.

The passport books range in price from $12.95 to $69.95 depending on the edition purchased. If you’re on a budget, consider the classic edition which costs $12.95. But if you plan to visit many national parks, the explorer edition is what you need which costs $69.95 and all proceeds go back into supporting the parks.

If you’re not sure which passport book to purchase, here are a few pros and cons to help you make a decision:


  • Cancellations stamps are completely free to collect
  • Passports are compact (or you can travel with just a few pages)
  • Your purchase supports the US national parks
  • Preserve memories with your loved ones by a chronological record
  • A passport stamp cuts down on waste of trinket souvenirs


  • Initial cost of passport
  • You’ll have to remember it for each park you visit

Passport Stamping Tips

Last but not least, here are a few important tips to consider when collecting your stamps:

  • Check the information before you stamp – Make sure you have the appropriate stamp and adjust the date as needed.
  • Complete a test stamp – Before you add the stamp to your passport, utilize the stamp testing area to ensure the stamp and ink are working correctly.
  • Larger parks have many stamps – If you’re visiting a larger park, do your research beforehand so you know exactly where to find all the stamp stations.
  • Be respectful of others – There may be a small line while other people collect their stamps too. Be patient and take this time to compare stamps with others around you.
  • Close the ink pad – This way the ink won’t dry out for others who visit after you.

More US National Park Guides

More National Park Hiking Guides

Want more National Park content? Head over to our US National Park Travel Guides to explore everything the parks have to offer.

We hope this guide featuring the National Parks Passport helps with planning your next adventure!

Please let us know if you have any questions about cancellation stamps or visiting the parks below in the comments and have a great trip.

Happy Travels,

Mark and Kristen

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