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Best vacation bargain in 2014: National Park Annual Pass

Looking for an inexpensive vacation this year that is uniquely American? Then the America the Beautiful - the National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass or "Interagency" Annual Pass is the answer. At only $80 for the annual pass, it provides access to more than 2,000 recreation areas including all the US National Parks and the crown jewels such as Grand Canyon (Arizona), Yosemite (California), and Yellowstone (Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho).

The magesty of the Grand Canyon
Karin Leperi

Federal Lands managed by five agencies

The pass covers federal recreational lands managed by five agencies, so there's bound to be a federal land close to where you live. But the idea of a vacation can be to expand your horizons, so why not plan a road trip to a part of America you have not yet seen?

Bureau of Land Management

Bureau of Reclamation

Fish and Wildlife Service

USDA Forest Service

National Park Service

Two owners for the price of one pass

The really nifty aspect of the annual pass is that for the fee of $80, you can have two pass owners and they don't even have to be married or better yet, they don't even have to be related. The only requirement besides paying the fee is that both owners sign the pass.

Annual pass a MUST for motorcyclists

For motorcyclists, this can be quite a bargain. Think about it: If two motorcycles arrive at the entrance gate to Shenandoah National Park - a popular spin for many motorcyclists - and the two people who have signed the annual pass are on separate motorcycles, then both motorcycles and their occupants (think backseat or sidecars) are admitted free under the annual pass. Feasibly that could be a total of four people admitted under one pass!

Baker's dozen adds even more value to the pass

The annual pass is good for one year from the date of purchase and expires at the end of the month from when initially bought. So that's another bargain if you time it right. For example, if you purchase your pass on the 1st of the month, then you technically will get an extra month of free admittance to National Parks and federal recreational lands. That's called a baker's dozen.

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