Stamp Passport Programs
Most people collect mementos when they travel, whether it's mini flags from the countries they have traveled to, the different currencies they have spent, bottles of sand from the beaches they have swam at, or ticket stubs from their activities.
For us, we like to collect stamps from the parks we visit. Even though we have traveled to parks our whole lives, we did not start collecting the stamps till about 6 years ago. My sister gifted us a Passport To Your National Parks book for Christmas one year and since then we have been hooked. It is a really fun way to log the parks you travel to. Every National Park has at least one stamp - many of them have a 3+ stamps that commemorate certain landmarks, historic events, or celebrations.
When Logan was born, we picked up a passport just for him so he could start collecting the stamps right away. Within 1 month of his birth, he had already visited and received stamps at 2 parks... but that is a story for another day.
While we do this solely for fun, some National Park enthusiasts seek out exclusive or rare stamps at hard to get to locations. You can find the stamps at the park visitor center, which is always our first stop at any park. After we have watched the multimedia presentation, talked to a ranger about the park, and checked out the gift shop, we get our books stamped then head out to explore the park. Our book has become more like a scrapbook as we have added stickers, taped in tickets, and stuffed leaves between the pages. That is one of the best part about the books, you can make them your own and collect cancellation stamps at any level that suits you.
This past summer, my mother came across a news article about a DCR Park Passport program that our home state, Massachusetts had created. I instantly was excited about it and immediately started planning visits to our local parks. Before researching this new DCR Park Passport, I had no idea that the state of Massachusetts maintains 76 parks! Since most MA State Parks do not have visitor centers, these stamps are located in locked boxes near the parking areas or information centers. The combinations for these locked boxes are available on the passports themselves that are free to print out yourself online (see links below).
After a quick Google search, it also looks like most states have their own passport programs. I see that both New Hampshire and Maine (states we visit frequently) have programs and I can't wait to get my hands on those. Passport programs like this are such a great way to promote these parks and encourage families to get outside and explore. Everyone in our family enjoys collecting them, and we think you will too!
learn more about the passport programs mentioned above:
New Hampshire: https://www.nhstateparks.org/adventuretracker/