How to Get Free Admission to State Parks in California

California Explorer Annual Pass Vehicle Day Use.

The state of California boasts a number of beautiful state parks where you can go hiking, biking and just enjoy great outdoors. Here you can have fun, connect with nature and spend time with those you love. To access these parks you need to pay the vehicle day use fee. How much does a California state park pass cost? California Explorer Vehicle Day Use Annual Pass costs $195 and it has to be renewed each year. In fact, such pass is also known as Golden Bear Pass and yes, you have guessed right that it is named after the symbol of California- the Bear.

Entrance to Crystal Cove State Marine Conservation Area in Newport Coast, California.

What is the Golden Bear Pass and How Does It Work?

Golden Bear Pass provides entry to over 200 California state parks and beach areas. California State Parks partnered with the California Department of Social Services to make applying for a free Golden Bear Pass faster and easier. All CalWORKs families can get this pass for free to have access to state parks and explore great outdoors.

Lush Bushes along the Trail in Crystal Cove State Park, Newport Coast.

What Are the Requirements to Apply forFree Golden Bear Pass?

Everyone who has been approved CalWORKS (a welfare program that provides cash assistance to eligible families and helps adults find employment) can apply for a free Golden Bear Pass. Receiving CalFresh also known as food stamps is not enough to obtain free pass.

Crystal Cove Shoreline, Newport Coast.

How to Get Free California State Park Pass?

It should be noted that you won’t be granted free Golden Bear Pass unless you are receiving welfare benefits. But once you’ve got CalWORKS approved getting your free pass makes no problem. You need to apply online at the official government benefits’ website. Check out and provide some personal information like your name, address, etc. You may include several people in your pass, but it only works for adults.

Cactuses in Crystal Cove State Park, Newport Coast.

In fact, when applying for the pass you don’t need to provide lots of information. They collaborate with the California Department of Social Services, so they will verify all the information about your family and eligibility there anyway. You are going to spend up to 5 minutes to complete the form and you are done. I’m very grateful for such fast and hassle-free application process. I’ve applied for various benefits and the free Golden Bear Pass is the easiest to get so far.

Once you’ve applied online your pass will be mailed to you within 4-6 weeks. It’s easy as pie.


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