National Park Passport Program Basics

Basic Information | How to get started | Where to go

Image of NPS PassportBasic Information

The National Park Service Passport is produced by the Eastern National Park & Monument Association as a means of recording visits to the different NPS sites with a rubber cancellation stamp. It also allows you to collect special adhesive stamps of the different NPS sites (9 are issued each year, 1 being a larger ‘national’ stamp). The purpose of these pages are to assist those seeking to visit, and record their visit with the site’s passport cancellation stamp for the particular site. The cancellation lists the site and the date of visit for the holder.

By aquiring and recording your visits to the different NPS sites, you’ll be able to look back through your Passport and recall the many memories and roads that you have taken. Eventually, visits to different park service sites will start to tie in with one another in a kind of theme. Along the way you’ll learn the history and development of American culture, or at the very least, have travelled to all of the states (except Delaware which doesn’t have any sites) and see every nook and cranny of the U.S.

How to get started

Start out by finding the nearest NPS to your home. There’s one not far from any point in the U.S., so with any luck, you can start out by visiting several sites your first day. Visit our list of sites or the NPS Guide to find the nearest site.

Stamp sampleOnce at the site, enjoy your visit and then stop by the book store at that site. Look for the “NPS Passport” display and purchase your first Passport. They cost under $10. Then ask for the cancellation stamp. Its that easy to get your first stamp and then you’re on your way!

Where to go

Once you have your first stamp, consult the guides listed above and move on to a second site. There are National Historical Sites (NHS), National Parks (NP), Scenic Rivers, Historic Parks, Battlefields, trails, parkways, seashores, lakeshores, and national monuments located throughout the country. There is a map located within the Passport that will list most of the locations, and the others can be foun within this guide.

You can only obtain the stamp cancellations at places that are managed by the National Park Service, not state or any other federal facilities. So, its best to stick to the map and guides to find the sites that will have a stamp for you. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t visit those other state and federal sites, but if you’re on a quest to obtain all of the cancellations within the park service, its best to stick to those sites. Some other state and federal agencies have ‘caught on’ to the popularity of stamps and now offer those at those sites as well. Our guide is focused on NPS sites and not just any site with a stamp. By keeping our focus on the NPS sites themselves you’ll get a lot more out of your journey. You may also find that many sites (including NPS sites) offer extra stamps such as the outline of a special building or a momument.

Also, be sure to visit our Tips section for tips on how to maximize your park touring. Its easy to take a two week vacation and visit over 30 different sites if you know how to do it.