34 Adventurous Reasons to Get an Indiana State Park Pass

Our family is gearing up for our annual visit to one of our favorite Indiana State Parks. In preparation, we made our yearly purchase of our family gift to ourselves, an annual Indiana State Park pass. Indiana is a state that has numerous state parks, each of which is home to unique features and reasons to visit. Visitors can take in the natural beauty, enjoy outdoor recreational activities, and explore the rich cultural heritage of Indiana.

To make visiting these parks more affordable and convenient for frequent visitors, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) offers an annual entrance permit. Let’s explore what the Indiana State Park pass is, its benefits, and how to purchase one.

Visit any state park for free with an Indiana State Park Pass.

What is an Indiana State Park pass?

An Indiana State Park pass, known as an entrance permit, is a type of pass that allows its holder to enjoy unlimited access to all of the state parks in Indiana for one calendar year. This means that the permit is valid on January 1st of each year and expires on December 31st of that same year, regardless of when it is purchased. The price remains the same, even if you purchase it much later in the year. However, occasionally you’ll see special offers or discounts advertised online.

The entrance permit allows you to get your vehicle with your passengers into all 32 state parks. Indiana State Parks are full of natural beauty, including rolling hills, tranquil lakes, and scenic natural waterfalls. At many locations, there are recreational activities such as hiking, fishing, boating, camping, and much more. Local libraries often have a State Parks Pass borrowing program where you can check out a park pass with your library card.

Hiking in the woods using our Indiana State Park Pass.

Benefits of an Indiana State Park Pass

  1. Unlimited access: With an Indiana State Park pass, visitors can enjoy unlimited access to all Indiana state parks during the calendar year of purchase. This means you can visit any of the DNR properties — parks, state forests, or reservoirs — as many times as you want, without paying any additional fees.
  2. Cost savings: Purchasing an Indiana State Parks pass can be a cost-effective way to visit state parks regularly. The cost of a pass is significantly lower than paying the park entrance fees each time you visit. For instance, the daily entrance fee for most Indiana State Parks and lakes is $7 per vehicle. With a park pass, you can save so much money, depending on how often you visit the parks.
  3. Convenience: An Indiana State Park Entrance Permit offers visitors the convenience of not having to pay each time they visit a park. The permit eliminates the need to wait in long lines to purchase entry tickets, making park visits more efficient.

Use your Indiana State Park pass to visit a variety of properties.

How Much is An Indiana State Park Pass?

The annual vehicle pass is $50 for residents and $70 for non-residents. The Indiana State Parks entrance permit is valid from January 1st to December 31st no matter when you buy it. So, to get the best value for your money, buy it and use it now! You can buy online or in person at any park entrance gate.

We use ours when we go hiking, take the dog for an exploration trip, go on picnics, or bike rides, stay at the inns, and go camping on park property. Generally, it will cost about $7 (Indiana resident) for your vehicle to enter a state park, this baby pays for itself in about 6 visits. Look at all of the Indiana State Parks listed below! All of this can be yours!

If you really love Indiana State Parks, you’ll want to check out the state park pin and patch program, Hooiser Quest.

Indiana State Parks and Reservoirs – 34 Reasons to Get an Annual Pass

The Indiana State Parks system operates 24 state parks, eight reservoir properties, and two state forest recreation areas.

•Brookville Lake
•Brown County
•Cagles Mill Lake (Lieber SRA)
•Cecil M. Harden Lake (Raccoon SRA)
•Chain O’ Lakes
Clifty Falls
•Falls of the Ohio
Fort Harrison
•Hardy Lake
•Indiana Dunes
•J. E. Roush Lake
•McCormick’s Creek
•Mississinewa Lake
Monroe Lake
Morgan-Monroe State Forest
•Mounds (Anderson)
O’Bannon Woods
•Patoka Lake
•Potato Creek
•Redbird State Recreation Area
•Salamonie Lake
•Spring Mill
•Summit Lake
•Tippecanoe River
•Turkey Run
•Whitewater Memorial

Indiana is also home to several parks and sites managed by the National Parks Service. Visiting a National Park requires a different pass or permit.

Along with State Park Passes, many libraries offer passes to popular museums for checkout!

As you adventure around Indiana, stop at these fun and quirky destinations.

14 thoughts on “34 Adventurous Reasons to Get an Indiana State Park Pass”

    1. Hi Ian, this article was written in 2012. Just some advice about using Google, sometimes you’ll come across older articles. Have a great day!

  1. Hi, Katy, this is Ginger Murphy with Indiana State Parks. We appreciate you noting that our Indiana State Parks are great places to be outdoors with kids – indeed they are! We offer lots of programs, places to hike and picnic, playgrounds, nature centers and much more to explore.

    Just one note – our annual passes for in-state vehicles are $50, not $36. We had someone come to one of our offices and they were disappointed because they saw the $36 price here and that is not accurate. The annual pass price has been $50 for several years, so we’re not sure where your number came from. If you’ll let us know where you found that amount, we’ll try to correct it.

    Annual passes are a great bargain – daily entrance is $7/car so if you plan to visit with your kids at least 8 times, you’ve paid for the annual pass.

    People interested in Indiana State Parks and find out more info at http://www.stateparks.IN.gov.

    1. Hi Ginger, Thanks! This article is from 2012 and at that time that was how much it cost. The internet lives forever! 🙂 We do not share or promote old articles so they found it on their own, we have many current articles but this is clearly not one of them.

    2. How stupid DNR officials are. You raised the pass from $36 to $50 and all you did was hurt the ones that live on a tight budget. By raising it to $50 I’m sure now you bring in less money. Now I’m wonder if your going to raise it again because of the inflation, lol. A park pass has nothing to do with inflation. It’s amazing. Now you have to charge people $50 for an annual pass just so they can walk around nature unbelievable

      1. Hi Ron, this change went into place around 2015. Also, you’re barking up the wrong tree. We aren’t DNR, we aren’t associated AND they won’t ever see this.

  2. Hi Katy,

    As you acknowledged, Internet content can live forever, depending on the practices of the host. As such, there’s a couple things that the author / website manager should consider:

    1) Put a date on all articles. Without it, readers won’t know when the article was written.

    2) Remove or update articles that users have found to be misleading.


    1. Hi Mark, The pass is good January – December the year that you purchase it, no matter when you buy it. It will cost the same if you buy it in January or if you buy it in December.

  3. I am so thankful for the yearly park pass, it’s really a wonderful bargain …… that is if…… you use it, as we do, we love going to all the state parks in Indiana.
    Our kids grew up going & they still go now with their kids.
    Thanks to all who work at these parks & keep them nice for our enjoyment.
    I feel 50.00 is not a big amount of money for what you get for it, also it puts money back into the parks for up- keep.

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