April 10 – April 12, 2019.
We just bought a new National Park pass. For $80 we can visit any National Park in the country for no additional cost. Since the entry fee for many of the most popular parks can run up to $30 and we love visiting parks the value of this pass can increase pretty quickly. But even though we love our pass and it greatly enhances our traveling experience, I believe we could roam around the southwest without it and still see amazing things. I don’t know how many times we have visited free spots on public BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land and have seen sights that looked actually the same as those of some super popular National Park we had just been in.
But the appeal of National Parks persists because, unlike many other public lands, they are organized. National Parks have visitors centers, museum displays, ranger talks and tours, and brochures, newsletters, or pamphlets with information about the park and maps of well-designed trails. National Parks just make everything easy.
So with our park pass and all the other free public lands out there, we keep our adventuring dollar down and usually don’t need much more. But every once in a while we hear so much about some state park with a visitor center and organized trails that we decide to spend just a little more to expand our adventuring scope. Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada was one of these.
In reality, our visit to Valley of Fire ended up being super cheap. The entrance fee was only $10 and we were able to snag a camping spot (this park is way popular and camping spots fill up really quick) for just another $10. And the camping came with hot showers! Unless we are visiting friends, hot showers are a bit of rarity for us when we are traveling in the US. We both took showers on the day we arrived and the day we left – 4 showers. If you think about our visit in showers dollars which can cost anywhere from $2 to $7 on the road, we really paid $5 for each shower and got an amazing park and camping for free!