Getting a Texas State Parks Pass has been on my list of things to do for a while but I have put it off because the weather has not been very conducive to outdoor activities. We finally have had a few clear days with sunshine so, recently, I went to Estero Llano Grande State Park. I loved this park and knew it was time to make my purchase. I know in the long run, I will save money at Texas State Parks with the annual pass.
Day use fees at the more than 90 Texas State Parks usually run $2-$8 per person. Since I know I will visit lots of state parks and visit some of them often, I feel that, even for a single person, the pass will be well worth the annual $70 fee. I don’t know how much I will camp in state parks, but the free day use entry and other discounts will add up quickly.
Benefits of Texas State Parks Pass
- Free entry to over 90 state parks for your entire carload
- Entry for up to 14 guests if you enter by bicycle, motorcycle or on foot (for guests entering the same way)
- 50% discount on the second night of consecutive camping days
- 10% discount on most retail and rental items in the park store
- Some parks offer special discounts for programs, activities and events
Example of How Camping Savings Can Add up Quickly
On the surface, camping in Texas State Parks seems expensive. This is especially true for a family since day use fees are per person. But take a look at the savings with a Texas State Parks Pass.
This example is based on fees at Lake Corpus Christi State Park for one person.
Without the pass
- Campsite with sewer, water & electric $25/night
- Daily use fee per person $5
- Total fee for 2 nights $60
With the pass
- First night camping fee $25
- Second night camping fee $12.50
- Total for two nights $37.50
In just two nights of camping, a single person would save $22.50 with the Texas State Parks pass. A family of four would save an additional $30 in daily use fees.On the surface, camping in Texas State Parks seems expensive, but take a look at the savings with a Texas State Parks Pass. #texas #camping Click To Tweet
Texas State Parks Compared to RV Parks
This example is based on rates at Wilderness Lakes RV Resort in Mathis, TX, which is just a few minutes drive from Lake Corpus Christi.
- Full hook-up rate per night $35
- No other fees
- Total for two nights $70
Savings with Passport America
- Rate per night for up to 3 nights $17.50
- No other fees (Passport America costs $40 annually)
- Total for two nights $35
Rates are very comparable at these two locations but amenities are usually quite different in RV parks vs. state parks. You just need to evaluate which things are more important to you.
What if You are Just Visiting?
Should you buy a pass if you are just visiting Texas? That, of course, depends on how long you plan to be here and how many parks you intend to visit. I especially recommend it if you are traveling with a family. It will take no time at all to save money with the Texas State Parks pass.
Where to Get Your Texas State Parks Pass
You can get your pass at any state park you visit. Since benefits start immediately, I recommend this method over ordering through the mail. There is no name on your pass but the card number is associated with your account in the park system. You may be asked to show your ID along with your pass so register your pass in the name of the person who will be checking in at the park.
Do you have a Texas State Parks pass? Do you feel you save money with the pass? What other state park passes would you recommend?
Until next time…