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Recreation Passport FAQs
I am biking or walking into the park. Do I still need a Recreation Passport?
No. A Recreation Passport is only required for motor vehicles, motorcycles or commercial motor vehicles entering the facility. Walking or riding a nonmotorized bicycle into the facility does not require a Recreation Passport.
I didn’t get the Recreation Passport at my time of vehicle renewal. Can I still get it?
If your Recreation Passport was not purchased at the time of license plate registration renewal through the Secretary of State, you can bring your registration to a SOS branch office to receive a replacement license plate tab with the Recreation Passport. You can also purchase a window sticker at a state park or DNR Customer Service Center. The sticker should be placed on the inside, lower right side of the passenger window.
Please note there's a $5 convenience fee (except for Belle Isle Park) when the Recreation Passport is not purchased at the time of your license plate registration renewal.
What is the difference between buying a Recreation Passport for a Michigan-registered vehicle at a state park vs. the Secretary of State?
Purchasing your Recreation Passport outside the time of your license plate registration renewal through the Secretary of State will be more expensive. There's a $5 convenience fee when purchased at state parks, customer service centers and the SOS office. The most cost-effective option is to purchase the Recreation Passport when you renew your vehicle license plate tab, which ensures you can access Michigan's woods and waters year-round.
When can I purchase the following year's nonresident annual Recreation Passport?They are typically available by mid-December.
How long is it good for?
- Michigan-registered vehicles: Good until your next license plate registration renewal date, including license plate tabs and window stickers.
- Non-Michigan-registered vehicles: Good through December 31 of the calendar year in which it was purchased.
What if nobody is at the attendant booth/area when I arrive at the park?
If you have not purchased the Recreation Passport and a staff person is not present, some locations have a self-service pay station or a list of the closest facilities to purchase one.
I have a campsite (or overnight lodging) reserved at a state park, do I still need the Recreation Passport?
Yes. The Recreation Passport is required for all motorized vehicles entering a state park/recreation area. The passport is separate from camping fees.
Does my ORV need a Recreation Passport?
Is there a senior discount?
No. The stature that regulates the Recreation Passport does not include a senior discount.
My vehicle has a Recreation Passport, but it’s in the shop and I am having to rent a car to come to the park. Is the passport transferable?
No, the Recreation Passport is linked to a vehicle's license plate, so it is not transferable between vehicles.
I am renting a vehicle, what Recreation Passport do I need?
You would be required to purchase the Recreation Passport based on the state in which the vehicle is registered.
I am renting a vehicle with an out-of-state license plate. What do I purchase?Even if you are a Michigan resident, you must purchase a nonresident pass for a vehicle with a non-Michigan license plate. This is because the Recreation Passport is tied to a vehicle’s license plate.
I have a leased vehicle (ie. company car) and I switch out my vehicles often. The company would not get a Recreation Passport for their plates.
A Recreation Passport is tied to the vehicle license plate; therefore, a passport must be purchased for each leased (or company) vehicle.
My car windshield was broken, and I had a Recreation Passport that I bought from a state park. Can I get a new one?Yes. To receive a replacement sticker, you would need to collect whatever pieces of the sticker you can get (it's recommended that you place them in an envelope to prevent injury from any loose glass) and visit a state park. A DNR staff person can help you.
I am in the process of buying a new car. How do I get the Recreation Passport on my vehicle registration?
When renewing/receiving your Michigan license plate through the Secretary of State, check “YES” for the Recreation Passport.
I have a license plate that doesn't renew annually (ie. antique car or municipal). Do I need a passport? Do I purchase one every year?
You will still need a Recreation Passport. You can purchase a window sticker at a state park or customer service center. The sticker will be good for the rest of the calendar year. Because these plates are not eligible for purchase during the regular renewal process at the Secretary of State, the passport can be purchased with a convenience fee. This applies to any Michigan license plate that does not renew annually, including:
- Antique car.
- Non-profit organization (Y plate).
- Tribal government.
I am only going into the park to pick up my grandson. Do I still need a Recreation Passport?
Any motorized vehicle entering a state park, boating access site and/or state forest campground is required to have a Recreation Passport for entry. Please note that the passport is also required for trailhead parking and harbors.
I purchased a nonresident annual Recreation Passport online, but it hasn’t arrived yet. When should I expect it to arrive?
Recreation Passports purchased online take approximately 2-3 weeks to be processed. Use your receipt of purchase as your passport until it arrives.
Can I prepay for Recreation Passports for my event/wedding? I don’t want my guests to have to pay for one when they arrive.
All vehicles are required to have a Recreation Passport. We can’t accept prepayment because there are restrictions in the law that prohibits us from doing that. In the past, event hosts have either put either money in an envelope and give them to the guests as reimbursement. Gift cards are also a good option.
I purchased a Recreation Passport from a self-registration station, when should I expect to receive my permit?
Annual resident and nonresident passes will be mailed to the address provided on the self-registration envelope, and will be processed as soon as possible. Until you receive your physical passport, the receipt portion of the envelope will serve as your Recreation Passport and can be placed on the dashboard of your vehicle.
Nonresident daily permits will not be mailed.
Is the Recreation Passport good for national parks such as Sleeping Bear Dunes?
The Recreation Passport is not accepted at national parks in Michigan. NPS has their own entrance fee system.
Is the Recreation Passport good for county, townships or other municipal parks, such as Huron-Clinton Metroparks or city beaches ?The Recreation Passport is not accepted at county, township or other municipal parks.
What is a towed motor vehicle permit?
A nonresident towed motor vehicle permit is when a hitched vehicle is driven at state parks. The annual pass is still required for the towing vehicle. The towed vehicle permit is good for length of the camping stay. This option is not available for Michigan-registered vehicles.
Do I need one for my trailer?
No, only a motor vehicle, motorcycle or commercial motor vehicle that will be driven in the park require a Recreation Passport.
I have one Recreation Passport on one of my vehicles. Can’t I just transfer it?
No, the Recreation Passport is linked to a vehicle's license plate, so it is nontransferable between vehicles.
I am a disabled veteran; do I need a Recreation Passport?
A Recreation Passport is not required for any vehicle registered with the following Michigan license plates:
- 100% disabled veteran.
- Ex-POW or Medal of Honor.
The exemption is tied specifically to the plate and registration and not to the person.
How do I know which one to buy at the park?
DNR staff will help you purchase the correct Recreation Passport, which is based on your vehicle type and state in which your vehicle is registered.