How to Buy a California State Parks Annual Pass

How to Buy a California State Parks Pass

The California State Parks are celebrating their 150th year. Buying a pass is a great way to support our state park system or give someone the gift of outdoors.

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Remember, if you want to visit Bolsa Chica State Beach, Huntington State Beach, Doheny State Beach, or other state beaches and parks in Orange County – it’s going to cost you $15/day use.  I certainly get my money’s worth out of my annual pass. Here’s the day use fee schedule if you’re wondering about other parks which are also around $10 to $12 a day. Annual passes are for day use only – not overnight camping.

Where Can You Play?

There are 20+ family-friendly parks and beaches in the LA/OC/SD area to visit by purchasing this pass.  It gives you the freedom to visit these places multiple times during the week, too! You can just drive in to park at Crystal Cove and see the sunset!  Make this your Year of State Parks!  You get access to ALL of these for your whole carload of people for $195/year.

Orange County State Parks (SP) and State Beaches (SB)

  • Bolsa Chica SB
  • Chino Hills SP
  • Crystal Cove SP
  • Doheny SB
  • Huntington SB
  • San Clemente SB
  • NOTE: Corona Del Mar SB (excluded))

Popular Los Angeles County State Parks (SP) and State Beaches (SB)

  • Antelope Valley CA Poppy Reserve (SNR)
  • Leo Carrillo SP
  • Malibu Creek SP
  • Malibu Lagoon SB
  • Topanga SP
  • Will Rogers SHP

Popular San Diego County State Parks (SP) and State Beaches (SB)

  • Border Field SP
  • Cardiff SB
  • Carlsbad SB
  • Cuyamaca Rancho SP
  • Palomar Mountain SP
  • San Elijo SB
  • San Onofre SB
  • Silver Strand SB
  • South Carlsbad SB
  • Torrey Pines SB & SNR

Why Buy a Pass?

First of all, CA State Parks are such treasures that you’ll want your kids to be able to experience them over and over again! These parks fit all the parameters of the Nature Kids Institute Nature Connection Pyramid. Secondly, see the Monthly block on the pyramid? And how it notes the #1 reason for closures is under-utilization by the public. So you can save a park, just buy visiting it. Lastly, if you join through the California State Parks Foundation and decline all the extra perks – then your whole fee is tax-deductible!


How to Decide Which Pass to Buy If You Want to Visit CA State Parks & Beaches in Orange County

Always consult the CSPF or official CA State Parks site for the final word on pricing.

Three Potential Purchasing Categories – which one are you?

  1. NEW California State Parks Foundation member (best deals)
  2. Returning/renewing California State Parks Foundation member (ability to pay monthly)
  3. Don’t want to buy through Foundation, would rather buy pass directly from CA State Parks

#1 NEW California State Parks Foundation Member

  • Park Sampler (introductory $25 rate for 4 day use passes) — YOU SAVE $35


#2 Returning/renewing California State Parks Foundation Member

  • Park Sampler ($45 rate for 4 day use passes) — YOU SAVE $15
  • Touring Member ($195 for California Explorer level pass)
  • Park Protector Membership (Also $195, but allows you to pay $16.50 monthly!)

#3 Don’t want to buy through Foundation, would rather buy pass directly from CA State Parks

Remember! Many of us who live in Southern California go to the same state beaches multiple times. During summer, state beaches are staffed with lifeguards and have access to restrooms, showers, and picnic areas.

About the California State Parks Foundation (CSPF)
With 130,000 members, the California State Parks Foundation (CSPF) is the only statewide independent nonprofit membership organization dedicated to protecting, enhancing and advocating for California’s magnificent state parks.  Since 1969, CSPF has raised more than $209 million to benefit state parks.  CSPF is committed to improving quality of life for all Californians by expanding access to the natural beauty, rich culture and history, and recreational and educational opportunities offered by California’s 278 state parks—the largest state park system in the United States.



Give the Gift of California State Parks

Park photos: San Onofre State BeachCarpinteria State Beach (top), Crystal Cove State Beach, San Onofre State Beach, Pfeiffer Big Sur, South Carlsbad State Beach

Disclosure: I am a member of the California State Parks Foundation and SPAN: State Parks Action Network, but I am not affiliated with them in any other way. All my views are my own and you should check the linked websites for official information.



  1. says

    Oh no! I’m always worried we are going to lose ours. I’m not an official source of info – just a writer who writes about parks.

    I would contact the State Park Pass Sale Office and ask them. Since it is transferrable, I think they are going to say you have to buy a new pass. But I hope there is another solution!

    Please come back and let us know how it goes by leaving a comment.

    Good luck!

  2. Bob Morano says

    My comment is a question. This pass would be for my wife and I who are retiring. Is there a Senior discount?
    Does this cover other State Parks that are not beaches (on the list)?

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