National Hacks: The Best Things About the National Parks Seniors Pass

Every year, more than 330 million people visit national parks in the United States.

Are you a U.S. citizen 62 years or older? If so, you could see these natural wonders for free, along with a ton of extra perks.

The National Parks Senior Pass is your lifetime ticket to all this gorgeous country has to offer, allowing you to visit any of the national parks or national wildlife refuges on your list.

Today, we’re breaking down the basics of this pass, along with some of the benefits that come along with it.

Ready to learn more? Let’s get started!

What is the National Parks Senior Pass?

The official name for this authorization is America the Beautiful – National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Lifetime Senior Pass. In short, this allows senior citizens free access to designated national parks, along with other related discounts.

You can purchase the pass on an annual basis for $20, or pay a one-time $80 fee plus $10 for handling. You can obtain the pass in person at a federal recreation site or purchase it online through the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) store.

1. Free Lifetime Entry to Sites

Your Senior Pass will allow you entry or access to more than 2,000 Federal recreation sites around the country. These include sites under the jurisdiction of the six main Federal agencies, including:

  • U.S. Forest Service
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Bureau of Land Management
  • Bureau of Reclamation
  • National Park Service
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Keep in mind that each agency operates under its own regulations. Each also has its own fee structure. Thus, the specifics of the Senior Pass discount programs may vary.

2. Access to USGS Support

Though the system can be intricate, the USGS makes it simple to ask questions and navigate the process. From its handy online FAQ guide to the newly updated “YourPassNow” online purchasing database, it’s never been easier to get your pass.

In other words, you shouldn’t need to know your way around a research paper thesis to understand these logistics!

3. Discounts on Amenity Fees

Along with free site entry, those with a National Park Service Senior Pass can also receive discounts on expanded amenity fees.

These are extra charges incurred once you’re inside the national park, often tacked on for activities such as camping, boating or participating in guided tours.

4. Transportation System Savings

Depending on where you travel, your Senior Pass may also afford you additional savings on transportation systems. From trains to taxicabs, check about this possibility to cut travel costs.

5. Lower Special-Use Fees

Want to save on those tacked-on fees that rental car companies often charge? You may be able to do so by showing your Senior Pass at the airport before you take the keys.

You may also be eligible to save on other, special-use permit fees. Always inquire locally and plan ahead before you travel to each locale.

See the Country on a Dime

Once you’ve paid for your National Parks Senior Pass, the wilderness is at your fingertips!

Use this opportunity to explore, discover and renew your sense of adventure. Who says wanderlust has to stop when you hit 60?

Want more information on how to live, work and play better? We provide all the up-to-the-minute updates you need.

Want to earn a little pocket cash while you make your way through the park system? Check out our post on easy ways to make money on the road!

Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn’t know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.