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Michigan Recreation Passport: Drive, Explore, Repeat – for FREE. Every Michigander Needs This!

Get Outdoors Michigan! An Insider’s Guide to the Recreation Passport

Picture this: weekends filled with spontaneous detours, road trips turned into adventures, and a Michigan-sized outdoor playground waiting to be explored.

Gather ’round, because I’m sharing a secret: how the Michigan Recreation Passport is your free ticket to discovering the Mitten. It’s a game-changer for anyone who loves the outdoors.

What is the Michigan Recreation Passport?

The Michigan Recreation Passport is your VIP pass to Michigan’s state parks, recreation areas, and more.

It features a small “P” on your vehicle’s registration and license plate sticker, signaling to park officers that you’re ready for adventure. You’ll get waved through the park entrance gates without having to reach for your wallet.

While everyone knows about our epic national parks – like Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore – many can overlook the gems of our lush state parks.  

With the recreation pass on your vehicle, you’ll have access across the state for exploration, and with free entrance.


Who is the Recreation Passport For?

The Recreation Pass is for anyone who loves the outdoors. 

What does the Michigan Recreation Passport Do?

This is your all-access pass to all of Michigan’s State Parks and Recreation Areas, available year-round, and often a fraction of the price you’d pay for individual visits.

Pull up to the entrance of a Michigan State Park, but instead of paying the daily fee, you tell them you’ve got the Recreation Passport. That’s it! You’re in!

What does the Michigan Recreation Passport Cost? Is it Worth It?

Absolutely! For Michigan residents, it’s just $14 when renewing your tabs, or $7 for motorcycles. Non-residents can snag a pass for $40.

Why You Want a Michigan Recreation Passport

Michigan Recreation Passport license plate

Last year, I used my state park pass nine times. At $14/year, that’s just $1.55 per visit!

I try to visit a couple of new state parks each year, and have a few favorites that I visit repeatedly.

Hartwick Pines State Park

The Recreation Passport helped me discover Hartwick Pines State Park, which has become one of my most favorite Michigan parks.

Michigan’s Recreation Passport is a steal at just $14 for Michigan residents when renewing license tabs. A small investment that saves you money while supporting Michigan’s beautiful parks.

It’s the best 14 bucks I’ve ever spent.

The Rec Passport Fuels Your Wanderlust With Access to 140 Campgrounds & Over 1,300 Boat Launches

Having the Michigan State Park Pass is a constant invitation to explore. A gentle nudge to stroll a lush trail, skip rocks on a tranquil lake, or enjoy a spontaneous picnic in a state park.

The fun doesn’t stop at year-round vehicle access to 103 state parks and recreation areas.

Michigan’s Park Pass also gets you into 140 state forest campgrounds, over 1,300 state-managed boat launches, and trailhead parking at thousands of miles of trails and other outdoor spaces.

Tubing at Ludington State Park

How to Get Your Michigan State Recreation Passport

The passport is available through the Secretariah-State. (See #23…)

When renewing your license plate through the Secretary of State, simply check “yes” on the Michigan Recreation Passport offer.

  1. Mail/Kiosk/Online: Purchase it by mail, kiosk, or online.
  2. In Person: Buy it at Branch offices, state park entrances, or other designated locations. A $5 convenience fee may be added when purchasing passes at state parks.

The Nitty Gritty Details of the Michigan Recreation Passport

  • It’s valid for one year or until your vehicle registration expires. You can also splurge for the two year pass ($28).
  • When purchased at renewal your license tab will sport the coveted “P.” When purchased at a different time, you’ll receive a sticker that must be affixed to the lower passenger side windshield.
  • Various payment options are available from debit/credit to cash and checks.

How are the funds used?

The funds go towards preserving the places we love. Your purchase supports park improvement projects, maintains outdoor spaces, and protects natural resources.

Ten percent of the funds (nearly $2 million recently) even go back to local communities for park development projects.

Belle Isle State Park is accessible for free through the Michigan Recreation Passport.
Belle Isle State Park

Don’t Take the Rec Passport for Granted – Make Sure all Your Vehicles Have It!

My van has been proudly displaying its Michigan Recreation Passport for years. But beware! One time we took my husband’s car on a road trip to a state park and we had to pay the price.

Since then, both of our vehicles are equipped with the Rec Pass because honestly, who wants to miss out on all the wonders our state has to offer?

Check “YES” to the Recreation Passport next time you renew your license plate through the Secretary of State. The Michigan Recreation Passport is your ticket to Michigan!

See you out there!

Michigan State Park Travel Fun

Amber Cox

Amber Cox has spent hundreds of hours over the past 15 years researching, planning, and taking her family on outdoor adventures. She’s passionate about having fun, getting her three kids outside exploring their own backyard in Michigan, and encouraging other families to get outside, too. You can usually find her living life to the fullest in hiking boots on a trail somewhere. She loves capturing Michigan and sharing nature photos as @The.Fun.Finder on Instagram.

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