Recreational Areas and Activities
Get information on travel in the U.S. during the coronavirus pandemic. Learn how to get passes for national and state parks, wildlife refuges, and other federal recreation sites. Explore a variety of outdoor recreational activities, like camping, fishing, and more.
Coronavirus, Recreation, and Travel in the United States
If you're thinking of traveling within the U.S. during the coronavirus pandemic, be aware of safety guidelines and travel restrictions for the area you want to visit.
Coronavirus Health Considerations for Travel in the U.S.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has created a list of things to consider before traveling within the U.S. during the pandemic.
For the COVID-19 situation in the state you're visiting, check the state government and state health department sites. Some things to look for are:
A coronavirus cases-by-county map
The state’s stay-at-home guidelines
Any restrictions on out-of-state visitors. There may be limits on who can enter and/or a 14-day self-quarantine requirement.
In some states, additional rules are being made at the city or county level, so check the local government website too.
Coronavirus Travel and Recreation Restrictions Within the U.S.
Check the state government website of your destination and any state you're passing through. You may also want to check the state travel and tourism office for things like:
In some cases, you can visit parks and other outdoor recreation areas while minimizing the risks to yourself and others. See this CDC guide for visiting parks and recreational facilities.
National and State Park Passes
The National Park Service and each of the 50 states operates its own park system with different fees and types of passes. National and state parks don't accept each other’s passes.
National Park Pass (America the Beautiful)
With an America the Beautiful National Park pass, you can enter any of 2,000 federal recreation areas. These include national parks, national wildlife refuges, and national forests.
- Note: You can’t use the pass at state parks.
There are several types of America the Beautiful passes:
- The Annual Pass for $80
- A Lifetime Senior Pass for $80 or an Annual Senior Pass for $20
- A free lifetime Access Pass for people with disabilities
- Free annual passes for the military, fourth graders, and volunteers
Visit the National Park Service website for information on how to get each type of pass.
State Park Passes
There are more than 10,000 state parks in the U.S. Most states charge park entrance fees.
Many states sell annual passes for all state parks in their state.
Some sell passes for individual parks or for regions within their state, such as the Lake Tahoe region in California.
Some states don’t charge entrance fees and don’t sell entrance passes.
State park passes can only be used at state parks in the state that issued the pass. They can’t be used at national parks in the state, and they can’t be used at another state’s parks.
Many states offer free or discounted annual passes for groups such as:
People with disabilities
The details are different for every state. Visit the state parks website of the state you’re interested in to learn about its fees and passes.
The United States is filled with nationally- and state-designated recreational areas. These places have special natural, cultural, or historic significance. They offer a variety of activities, and many are free.
Find information and services at Recreation.gov for trip planning, reservations, and more. Learn about parks, forests, monuments, and other public lands across the U.S. and its territories. You can also explore these other options:
Parks and Forests
- National Parks - There are more than 400 national parks protecting treasured landscapes and historic areas. Find a national park in your state or one you're planning to visit.
- State Parks - Each state has its own system of parks with camping, activities, and historic places.
- National Forests - Discover national forests and grasslands, home to 150,000 miles of trails, 57,000 miles of streams, 122 alpine ski areas, 439 wilderness areas, and 122 wild and scenic rivers.
Monuments and Historic Sites
Protected Land Areas, Fishing Sanctuaries, and Wildlife Refuges
- Marine Sanctuaries - Enjoy the beauty and variety of marine life, and the cultural significance of shipwrecks, at 14 marine protected areas in the oceans and Great Lakes. Most permit recreational fishing, diving, surfing, swimming, and kayaking.
- National Wildlife Refuges - You can hunt, fish, and observe nature at these protected habitats. They’re home to more than 700 species of birds, 220 species of mammals, 250 reptile and amphibian species and more than 1,000 species of fish. Find a wildlife refuge near you.
- State and Territorial Fish and Wildlife Offices - Use this list to find more protected areas by state.
- Wilderness Areas - Wilderness areas preserve and protect lands in their natural condition. Find a wilderness area and the visitor rules that apply.
State Tourism Offices and Road Trip Suggestions
- America's Byways - Ready for a road trip? Find maps and information about 150 distinct and diverse roads across America. Each has special archeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational, or scenic qualities.
- State Tourism Offices - State tourism offices can help you with all aspects of your visit. They have information about festivals and events, museums and landmarks, restaurants, lodging, and more.
Where to Go for Camping, Fishing, Boating, and Other Outdoor Activities
Parks, forests, and other public lands across the U.S. offer a wide range of outdoor activities. The federal government manages some sites, while state governments manage others.
National Recreational Areas
Explore things to do in national recreational areas at Recreation.gov. You can search by entering the name of a national park, forest, landmark, or activity.
Find Your Park also has a list of national parks and fun events.
State Recreational Areas
For information on recreational activities in your state:
You can camp at many national sites across the country. They include parks, national seashores, lakeshores, forests, and wilderness areas. Guidelines and fees to visit or use a campsite vary by location. Search Recreation.gov for national camping spots and activities. You’ll get a summary of the campsite, maps, and contact information to make a reservation. Learn National Park Service tips for tent or recreational vehicle (RV) camping, and staying safe. For camping information in your state, contact your state park system or state tourism office.
You can find many national and state fishing locations. These sites include lakes, rivers, and waterways that offer many fishing opportunities. Search for national recreational areas to fish. Learn about the many types of fishing, safety tips, and more. For information on saltwater fishing, visit the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Resources for Fishing or the National Saltwater Angler Registry. Each state grants permits (fishing licenses) based on the season or time of year you can fish. For fishing laws and regulations in your state, contact your state fish and wildlife office. There may be rules on the type of bait and fishing equipment you can use. There may also be limits on the number, size, and type of fish you can keep.
Hunt big game, small game, or go bird hunting based on where and when you visit public lands. Search for national hunting sites and activities. Hunting fees, licensing, and seasonal restrictions vary by location. There are more than 370 national wildlife refuges and protected wetlands in the National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS). Find a map of national wildlife refuges that permit hunting. Everyone age 16 and older who wants to hunt must get a hunting license. Kids under 16 may need a junior hunting license. If you want to hunt waterfowl, you need a Federal Duck Stamp in addition to a state hunting license. For hunting licenses and regulations in your state, contact your state fish and wildlife office.
Boating and Other Activities
Public parks, lakes, and rivers offer a variety of boating activities. If you don’t own a boat, you can find places to rent one. Search national boating sites and activities. You’ll find descriptions of sites, maps, directions, and contact information. Learn from the Coast Guard about boating safety for boat operators and passengers. For state boating laws and regulations, contact your state fish and wildlife office. Licensing, fees, and seasonal restrictions may vary from site to site.
Public lands provide many types of biking activities and trails. Search for national biking trails and cycling activities. Find out about licensing, fees, and seasonal restrictions before planning your bike ride.
You can also explore a wide range of hiking trails at public recreational areas. Many trails are paved to provide wheelchair access. Search for information about national hiking trails and activities. You’ll find trail maps, details about trail conditions, and more. For information about biking or hiking in your state, contact your state park system or state tourism office.
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Last Updated: June 26, 2020