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  • Writer's pictureThe West End Mom

How To Visit Virginia's State Parks for Free

Visiting our Virginia State Parks is one of our favorite places to visit as a family! With 41 state parks and over 500 miles of trails, the Virginia state park system really has somethings for every family. From hiking & biking trails and fishing lessons to nature centers, aquatic centers and water front property, Virginia State Parks are a must visit all year in The Commonwealth!

While state parks are an affordable activity with kids, each one has a parking fee per vehicle. Virginia State Parks cost between $5-10 to visit - this is a parking fee. There are ways to avoid paying this entrance fee!

Here are 5 ways to visit a Virginia State Park for Free with your Children:

1. Check out a nature backpack: The easiest way is to visit your local library and check out a Nature Backpack. You can check out a Nature Backpack for 2 weeks, and it will provide you with everything your family needs to visit a local park! To learn more about the partnership between Virginia's libraries and the state parks, visit this website.

*For Chesterfield County's Nature Backpacks, check here.

*For Henrico County's Nature Backpacks, check here.

*For Pamunkey Regional's Nature Backpacks, check here.

2. Visit for an educational program: All entrance fees are waived for educational programs. Just let the park ranger know at the parking entrance.

*Check here for details on Pocahontas State Park's visitor center!

3. Bring your HEAV or HSLDA card: If you homeschool your kiddos, make sure you bring your HEAV or HSLDA membership card - you get free parking, too!

*Check here for details on my favorite Virginia State Park for family bike rides.

4. Bring your REI receipts: If you've visited REI recently, save your receipt. There's a free parking pass for any VA State Park at the bottom.

5. Visit on a Fee Free Day: If you visit on a Fee Free Day, all entrance fees are covered. The remaining 2023 Fee Free Days in Virginia are: August 4 (Anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act), September 23 (National Public Lands Day), and November 11 (Veterans Day).

Looking for a Virginia State Park to visit this spring or summer? Check out my guide on The Best Virginia State Parks to Visit with Kids!

For details on these Virginia places and more things to do with kids around Richmond, follow our family on @thewestendmom on Instagram!


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