In recognition of the National Park System’s 104th birthday, the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission is offering free entrance to state parks on Tuesday, Aug. 25. Day-use visitors will not need a Discover Pass to visit state parks by vehicle.
While Washington State Parks and the National Park Service are different entities, the two agencies share a rich tradition of stewarding the lands they manage. Many state parks are located within an hour’s drive of Washington’s national parks, monuments and historical reserves and sites.
Though most Washington state parks have reopened for day use and many have reopened for camping, the agency encourages visitors to minimize the spread of COVID-19 by recreating responsibly on free days and every day. Visitors can find out which state parks are open here.
Responsible recreation includes:
- Staying close to home.
- Knowing what’s open before heading out.
- Having a Plan B if a certain park is too crowded.
- Keeping a social distance of at least 6 feet between households.
- Bringing personal supplies such as soap, hand sanitizer, toilet paper and face coverings.
- Wearing face coverings in indoor facilities, such as restrooms, and outdoors when social distancing isn’t possible.
- Packing out what is packed in.
The remaining 2020 State Parks free days are:
- Sunday, Sept. 13 – Girls Scouts Love State Parks Day
- Saturday, Sept. 26 — National Public Lands Day
- Saturday, Oct. 10 – World Mental Health Day
- Wednesday, Nov. 11 — Veterans Day
- Friday, Nov. 27 – Autumn Day
About the Discover Pass
State Parks free days are in keeping with 2011 legislation that created the Discover Pass, which costs $30 annually or $10 for a one-day visit. The pass is required for vehicle access to state recreation lands managed by Washington State Parks, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The Discover Pass legislation directed State Parks to designate up to 12 free days when the pass would not be required to visit state parks. The free days apply only at state parks; the Discover Pass is still required on WDFW and DNR lands.
The Discover Pass provides daytime access to parks. Overnight visitors in state parks are charged fees for camping and other overnight accommodations, and day access is included in the overnight fee.