To Travel. To Write. To Explore.

This journey has taught me many lessons. One of the financially hardest was learning about state park passes.

Due to my lack of traveling outside the state of Michigan, I have only purchased the State of Michigan park pass and the Sleeping Bear Dune National Park annual pass prior to this trip.

The Michigan State Park pass allows me to park at various campgrounds near my (former) home to enjoy several “hiding spots” near a couple of lakes and rivers. The Sleeping Bear Dune National Park allows me to park my vehicle at their various destination points to enjoy hiking and biking on their lengthy trail system, and watch the sun set over Lake Michigan at my favorite beaches.

On the road, I had no idea I could purchase a state park pass for the states I am not a resident. None of the registration staff at the state parks asked, nor mentioned the option, in Arkansas, Oklahoma or Texas.

It was after I’d been in Texas for a month that I asked if I was eligible to purchase the pass to save money on the day use fee. The woman I spoke with said, “Of course you can. The annual pass costs $70.”

By this point in my travels within the state of Texas, I’d already spent double that amount in day use fees. I wondered why I hadn’t asked this simple question three campgrounds prior! Lesson learned – ask this question with each state I plan to stay for a duration of time.

Before crossing the New Mexico state line, I researched their state pass process and the benefits it provides. The cost for an out of state resident is $225. I had to determine if it was going to be of value to me to purchase. The use fee for camping is $10 per night. I would have to stay twenty-three nights to recoup the cost of their pass.

Based on the winter weather forecast for the upcoming weeks in southern New Mexico, I debated the length of time I’d camp in the state. I’ve been curious about New Mexico and had a I want to go there attraction long before leaving Michigan. My intuition shared with me there is something I am to experience or people I will meet in person that will have a major impact on my life.

I put pen to paper and plotted out my course of action. Where would I go? How many nights would I stay at each location. How much snow is predicted to be covering the ground?

With the New Mexico state pass, I can camp in the primitive (no hookups) site at no charge. The sites with water and electric cost $4 per night, and the full hookup sites with sewer cost $8 per night. It didn’t take me long to weigh the options and I headed for Bottomless Lake State Park near Roswell, New Mexico.

An important note to make, and one the lesson that I learned the very hard way, the New Mexico State Park system does NOT accept credit card payments for camping, souvenirs or other purchase. It’s cash or check (out-of-town checks are accepted).

This journey has truly been a learning adventure. I’m looking forward to learning about the Arizona State Park system next.

Seminole Canyon State Park, Texas
Garner State Park, Texas
Lake Arrowhead State Park, Texas

To Write. To Travel. To Explore.

I’m a writer; it’s what I do.
I enjoy sharing my experiences and pearls of wisdom I learn along the way. Subscribe to find out where my travels take me!