Passport to Your National Parks (U.S.)

Last year, while visiting the Outer Banks in North Carolina, Mrs. Claus, the Subordinate Clauses, and I stopped by the Fort Raleigh NHS (the Lost Colony). One of the friendly rangers there told Subordinate Claus #1 all about the Passport to Your National Parks book. As a result, we bought a Passport for each of us and ever since have been happily collecting cancellation stamps whenever our travels take us anywhere near a National Park Service location. It’s actually quite addictive. We’ve now begun planning our travel to take in as many NPS spots as possible. So far, we’ve collected stamps from Ft. Raleigh NHS, Wright Brothers NM, Cape Hattaras NS, Chickamauga & Chattanooga NMP, and the Great Smoky Mountains NP. In the next couple of weeks, we’ll be visiting the Russell Cave NM, Little River Canyon NPres, and Natchez Trace Parkway, all to see the sights and get our stamps. Eventually, we’d like to get stamped in all 50 states.

Any other Dopers out there fallen victim to this plot to increase visitation to the National Parks sites? If so, how long have you been collecting stamps, how many do you have, and where all have you been? Which were your favorites and least favorites? Which ones are "must see"s? Please tell me I’m not alone in this addiction.


I’m not a stamp collector, but Bryce Canyon is just about the most beautiful place I’ve ever laid eyes on. The colors of the land against the most incredible blue sky are simply breathtaking. If you have a chance, it’s a “must see”.

Yes, I have. I’ve been collecting them for five years now. There is a ride that you can do with the Iron Butt Association, it’s a motorcycle group, where you try and collect at least 50 stamps in at least 25 states in one year. I’m doing it for the fourth time now. I believe I have over 200 different stamps and 36 states and DC.

Try here for a good list of where to find stamps. One day I intend to collect them all from at least the east coast. I’ve done Maryland and I think PA.

Great link, Edward, very helpful. We’ve been talking about hitting the Washington DC area and doing a scavenger hunt kind of thing, but I was curious about where the cancellation stamps would be located for some of the monuments. Most of the larger sites have a visitor’s center which makes it easy, but the smaller ones were giving me some concern. Your link (I’ve bookmarked it) will definitely make that trip much easier.


You should look me up when you want to come down to the DC area. I live here and I know where a good amount of the stamps are. Some can only be gotten during the work week. However, if you’re only coming down for the weekend then just hit The Mall, Lincoln Memorial and Arlington Cemetery and you will get a good amount of them. I can also tell you about the ones in Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.

I am not doing that (yet), but every year, my sister, brother-in-law, nephew and nieces take a road trip and stop at a few national parks on their way, and each of the kids has a passport. It’s really neat to flip through them and see where they’ve been, and to see the dates they re-visited ones they’d gone to before. Some parks, like Yellowstone, are so large that there are different stamps for seeing different areas. I think it’s really cool, and the kids love to show off their passports. Great keepsake.

Thanks for the offer, Edward, we may just take you up on that. Since Ms. Claus is home-schooling the Subordinates, and I’m self-employed, we have a great deal of flexibility in when we go places. We’ll most likely wait at least until the summer tourist season is over before visiting DC, and a mid-week trip might not be out of line, either. I lived in Arlington, VA for a few years when I was in high school 25+ years ago, and DC truly has a different character during the business week as opposed to weekends.


And, Beadalin, most of the larger parks also have a Jr. Ranger program for the kids (ages 5-12, I think) where they can complete a series of activities specific to that park and participate in a ranger led activity. Upon completion they get a badge or patch that they can sew onto a jacket or some such. It’s a great way to learn more about each park and what’s special about it. The kids love it, plus they get a great history/ecology/geology lesson without even realizing it. :slight_smile: