The California State Parks Foundation membership gifts are a great way to support our state park system and give the gift of outdoors.
It used to be that $125 got you an unlimited day pass to all but a few state parks — since the whole fiasco with state park closures and budget cuts, there were changes to the fee schedules in June 2012. But that means there are more options for visitors!
My Membership Picks for best value:
- Parks Sampler ($25 – regularly $40 – for 7 day use passes) — YOU SAVE $80
- Frequent Visitor ($125 – for 14 day use passes) — YOU SAVE $85
- Touring Member ($195 – unlimited access all year) — YOU SAVE LOTS IF YOU GO MORE THAN 14 DAYS/YEAR
Remember, if you want to visit Bolsa Chica State Beach, Huntington State Beach, Doheny State Beach or many other state beaches and parks in Orange County – it’s going to cost you $15/day use. I certainly get my money’s worth out of my annual pass. Here’s the day use fee schedule if you’re wondering about other parks. Annual passes are for day use only – not overnight camping.
About the CSPF
With 130,000 members, the California State Parks Foundation (CSPF) is the only statewide independent nonprofit membership organization dedicated to protecting, enhancing and advocating for California’s magnificent state parks.
Since 1969, CSPF has raised more than $209 million to benefit state parks.
CSPF is committed to improving quality of life for all Californians by expanding access to the natural beauty, rich culture and history, and recreational and educational opportunities offered by California’s 278 state parks—the largest state park system in the United States.
Gift Membership (for New Members Only)
I like to recommend buying gift memberships through the Foundation because:
- You have the option of buying day use passes in smaller bundles ($25 for the Park Sampler, $60 for the Parks Plus, and $125 Frequent Visitor)
- You get all sorts of extras like a state park map, John McKinney’s Day Hiker’s Guide to California’s State Parks and a one-year subscription to Sunset Magazine.
Another Option: Purchase Annual Passes Directly from California State Parks
- Annual passes purchased directly from the California State Parks online store do not include all the extras from the Foundation (as listed above). You can only purchase the annual pass at $195. The discounted $125 GOLDEN POPPY PASS is not a good choice for O.C. residents because many of our beaches and parks are popular, and therefore, excluded (see list of excluded parks).
- However, you can purchase gift certificates through the store in a range of dollar amounts ($25-$250) which can be used for passes or any other gift item in their store.
Orange County State Parks (SP) and State Beaches (SB)
- Bolsa Chica SB
- Chino Hills SP
- Crystal Cove SP
- Doheny SB
- Huntington SB
- San Clemente SB
- NOTE: Corona Del Mar SB (excluded, but free parking along bluffs)