Busch Gardens and Other Popular Vacation Spots Are Going Cashless

Updated: Mar. 14, 2024

Instead of grabbing cash for your next trip, you'll want to set up your digital wallet.

Digital wallets were a convenience before the pandemic, but when contactless payments became the norm to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, we had to get with the program and stop using cash. We set up Apple Pay and Google Pay, and downloaded Venmo, PayPal and other apps to pay for, well, just about everything.

There’s no question that digital payments are here to stay, especially since a bunch of popular vacation spots have already gone cashless or have announced that they’re making the switch.

Which vacation spots are going cashless?

Joining Fenway Park, Six Flags, Hershey Park, Kings Dominion and others, Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Sesame Place Philadelphia and SeaWorld San Antonio are going cashless this month.

Even national parks are going cashless. Badlands National Park, Crater Lake National Park, Cumberland Island National Seashore, Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument and nearly twenty other national parks, national seashores and national monuments are no longer accepting cash for entrance fees, campground fees and other permits.

New on the list are Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, making the switch on May 26, and Death Valley National Park and Rocky Mountain National Park, which will go cashless on June 1. National parks continue growing in popularity, and 63 parks will require reservations this summer, with many will sell out months in advance—so prepare for and plan your trip accordingly!

Why is this happening?

photo of the change drawer of the cash register at Symbiote Collectibles in West ReadingMediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images/Getty Images

Handling and moving cash via armored vehicles is expensive, plus taking cashless payments is faster and requires fewer employees. Lines will move quicker because visitors won’t have to count cash or wait to receive change, and staff won’t have to count cash at the end of the day. It also eliminates the stress of ensuring there’s change in the register. Instead of spending the money just to accept cash as a payment, these parks can now use that extra money to improve infrastructure and provide visitors with a better overall experience.

What forms of payments are still accepted?

Cash used to be at the top of the vacation packing list, especially when planning visits to remote areas, because ATMs could be hard to come by and many locations didn’t take credit cards. This has changed dramatically.

Debit and credit cards from most major companies, like Visa and Mastercard, should be accepted. Ideally, you should call your vacation spot in advance to determine if they accept cash, or if you prefer not to use a card, digital wallets like Apple Pay. If you do show up with cash and it’s not accepted, some locations might have “cash-to-card” kiosks, which are like reverse ATMs—you insert cash and receive a prepaid debit to use for payments.