Best National Park Passport Stamp Book

There are currently 429 National Park sites in the United States and there is at least one unique stamp for each of them that you can use to commemorate your visit. The ‘stamps’ are rubber ink stamps that have the name of the park, date and location, and they make a great, low-cost way to capture a souvenir on your memorable trip. 

There are several different official Passport Stamp books that you can buy to record your travels. But which on is the best National Park Passport Stamp Book? Well as with anything, this is deeply personal, and it all depends on you! I prefer a combination of the Classic and the Collector’s Edition, personally. Let’s dive in and see which one will work best for you.

Table of Contents

Where can I learn more about the National Park Passport program?

Before we dive into the books to use, if you want to learn more about the specific of the National Park Passport Cancellation program, check out my Complete and Ultimate Guide to the National Park Passport program. It goes into more detail about the origins of the program, how it works and why it is so cool!

Choosing the Right Passport:  Classic, Collector, Explorer or Junior Ranger?

So, we can all agree that collecting National Park passport stamps is pretty neat, and now we all want to start collecting them. So, now what? Eastern National sells four ‘passport books’ that you can use as your own adventure journal, illustrating your journey and travels:  Classic, Collector, Explorer and Junior Ranger

Classic: The small blue version is by far the most popular. Pocket sized, perfect for dropping in a backpack or a pocket in your cargo pants, and full of information. Additional page inserts can be purchased as well, so you can cram a ton of stamps in this little book!

Blue Passport to your national Park book on wood table
Black cover Collector Edition Stamp book

Collector’s Edition: A larger spiral book that includes all the information in the blue classic book and more. It has a dedicated section for each park along with a place to up a special regional stamp sicker. Having a space for every stamp is what is so attractive to me.

Explorer Edition: Is designed around a seven-ring binder and its own zip up case. The value with this book is in its flexibility, as you can buy inserts, or make your own pages to express your journey in your own way.

passport explorer stamp book with black cover and ringed binder of pages
Passport to your national park junior ranger edition book

Junior Ranger: The Junior Ranger Passport Book is an interactive adventure guide for kids aged 5-12, packed with fun facts, activities, and colorful illustrations. There is a special Junior Ranger stamps at specific National Park Sites that can be used in this book.

ItemsClassicCollectorExplorerJr. Ranger
Dimensions6″ x 4″7 1/2″ x 10″10″ x 8″9″ x 7″
DesignSpiralSpiral7 Ring BinderSpiral 
ProPocket sized, easy to carryHas a place for all official Stamps. Can expand to include additional pages,Has a place for all official Stamps. Can expand to include additional pages, has a zipper coverGreat for kids, colorful and fun
ConCannot fit all stamps. Will need multiple booksCover can get damaged easily, sometimes too large to bringBinder can fail. Can be too big to bring everywhere.Only for the Jr. Ranger program and design is for kids.
National Park Passport Book Comparison Chart

Which one do I use?

As I mentioned earlier, I use a combination of the Classic and the Collector’s Edition. Since my goal is to visit and collect all National Park Site stamps, I use the Collector’s Edition to record the ‘one’ official stamp at each site. That way they are all in one location.

I use the Classic edition to record all the ‘bonus stamps‘ that I find along the way at the various sites. This keeps my primary book from getting overloaded.

Inside stamp book showing Fort Monroe National Monument stamp and sticker

You will undoubtably run into some of the special Lighthouse stamps as well, which are not park of the National Park Service Passport program. They have their own stamp program and book. Check out my Lighthouse Passport Program article that goes into more detail about that program.

man next to Bodie island lighthouse NC on clear blue sky day
Checking out Bodie Lighthouse

Official National Park Passports vs. Third Party Alternatives; Understanding the difference

One thing to keep in mind is that there are key differences between the four official passports sold at park visitor centers and stores across the country and third-party books. You may find a 3rd party alternative on Amazon or another site that is unique and fits your style of collecting better, which is great. 

However, keep in mind that while there are a wide variety of options, the proceeds of 3rd party books do not contribute to park conservation or education programs. With the official passports you get high quality, consistency and the satisfaction with knowing you are supporting America’s National Park Service.

Alternative Park Documentation Tools: Journals, Scratch off Maps/Posters, and More

Outside of the official passport books and third-party knockoffs, there are also several other options for personalizing your stamping collection and travelogue. Here are some ideas:

  • You can use a normal moleskin journal to not only record the stamp but also jot down your reflections, capturing the sights, sounds and emotions of your journey. Maybe even sketch a cool image.
  • Personalized stickers: If you have a color inkjet printer, use sticker sheets and print pictures of you in the national park or site.  You can then put the sticker in your journal or even in your national park passport. There is a ‘regional sticker’ section that is perfect for this.
  • There are several scratch-off interactive maps or posters that reveal visited parks, transforming them into visual trophies of your outdoor conquests. I have one poster and also a cool coffee mug. Every time I am sipping my cup of joe, it reminds me of our travels. 🙂
White National-Park-Mug with map of eastern usa and icons of location for national parks

Where to Purchase Your Passport Book

The best way to get the book is to stop by a local National Park Site store and physically buy the book. I am lucky enough to be fifteen minutes from a National Historical Park and I love stopping in and perusing the store.

If that is not a convenient option, you can always go online and shop at the online shop. They sometimes have a deal or sale that can be beneficial.

Finally, Eastern National also sells the books through Amazon. Personally, I would just go to the source at first but I can understand if this is a more convenient option.

Tips for Using your Passport Book

Now that you have a book, there are a few things you can obtain to be fully prepared for your next trip.

Expander pack for passport to your national parks classic and collector's edition

Additional Page inserts:  Depending on which book you buy; you can buy inserts that you can easily add to the book. This is great if you want to just bring a page and not your entire book on a trip as well.

Passport Stampable Stickers:  Another option is the stampable stickers. There are three round stickers that fit the stamps and can be easily carried. I usually have one with me just in case!

three round stampable stickers on one page vertically

Baby wipes:  Sometimes the stamps can get gunked up and do not generate a clear stamp. Baby wipes are really good at cleaning the stamp so you can reapply the ink to get a crisp stamp.

Stamp pad and ink:  While it is not common, it can happen. You finish an awesome national park experience, and you find the stamp pad is dry as a bone. Having your own stamp pad can avoid relying on a park ranger or shop employee. If you are really gung-ho, you can get a different color for each region.

State Park Passport Stamp Programs

Looking something more than the National Park Passport program? Did you know that there are also Passport stamp programs in 25 U.S. States?

Here are the first three programs are on the list:

  • Arizona: Passport for Fun- A free passport book is available, and you can win a free Arizona state park annual pass as well!
  • Arkansas: Called Club 52 for the 52 park sites in the program. Arkansas offers a free stamp book as well.
  • California: Offers a digital app to allow you to track your progress to the largest number of state parks in the nations, 280.

See if your state is on the list:

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