When most of us think about the great outdoors, we immediately think of camping, hiking, hunting and maybe even whitewater rafting.
One of the best places to do all of these great outdoorsy things is at national parks, but what if you don’t want to trek all the way to a national park? While places like the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone are worth the hike, chances are you don’t have to take a road trip to explore all of the wonders that mother nature has to offer.
Your next great camping trip might just be up the road at any one of the more than 10,000 state parks.
Every state in the union, from Florida to Alaska and Maine to Hawaii has their fair share of gorgeous state parks. Encompassing more than 18 million acres, state parks have something to offer everyone. Whether you’re a ski fanatic, a hobby fisherman or just want to find a quiet place to commune with nature, chances there’s a state park that offers the perfect day off.
And many state parks offer military and veteran discounts.
Most state parks offer day and annual passes, as well as licenses for fishing, hunting and boating. Some require special passes depending on the activities you plan on engaging in at the park (i.e., primitive camping or RV stays).
And almost every park we researched offered a free annual pass for wounded warrior residents of the state, though the percentage of disability required for the annual pass varied by state.
For the rest of us, active duty and veterans, the military discounts vary by state and often are offered at each individual park and for limited time periods or only to residents of that state. When in doubt, contact the individual park.
Here are 4 states we found that offer discounts at their state parks:
Georgia State Parks
Georgia offers dozens of state parks, including Fort Yargo, with its 260-acre lake, multiple RV sites and even lakefront yurts for a little weekend glamping. Active duty and retired military — who are Georgia residents — are entitled to a 25% discount on the daily or annual parks pass. A current military or retiree ID must be shown at time of purchase.
Florida State Parks
With over 150 state parks to choose from, if you crave the sun, you’ll find it here. Florida’s state parks include miles of beaches and all kinds of interesting trails including the Tallahassee-St. Marks Historic Railroad trail, with options for hiking, biking and even horseback riding. Active duty military, National Guard and reservists and retirees can received a 25% discount on all Florida state park entrance fees.
However the passes cannot be purchased online.
Maryland State Parks
Maryland culture has long revolved around the water. Dozens of Maryland state parks offer the chance to experience a landscape rich with marine wildlife and ocean views, including Janes Island State Park where visitors can fish and crab to their heart’s content. With a valid military ID all Maryland state park daily fees are waived. Find out more about this park and many others at Maryland.gov.
West Virginia State Parks
With over 50 state parks, West Virginia is a camping and hunting enthusiast paradise. Included in its many offerings is Seneca State Forest, home to rivers, lakes, miles of trails and its famous 65-foot fire tower that offers an incredible bird’s-eye view of the lush forest and woodland.
Best of all, all West Virginia state parks and services offer active duty and veteran personnel a 10% discount.
Looking for another state or a specific state park? Find links to it all by visiting www.stateparks.org.