For seniors and active adults who love the outdoors and enjoy visiting national parks and camping, then getting a National park Lifetime Pass for seniors is a great investment. This pass is basically the “American the Beautiful pass” version, created specifically for senior citizens, and allowing them access to many national parks at a discounted rate. The American the Beautiful pass is an annual pass that provides access to over 2,000 federal recreation sites. The Lifetime Senior passes will admit the pass owner/s and passengers in a noncommercial vehicle at per-vehicle fee and pass owners plus three adults, not to exceed four adults. If more than four people, there is a small fee charge per-person. Keep in mind, children under 16 are always admitted free. So, pack up the grandkids and visit the country’s national parks by using your senior pass!
Benefits of the Lifetime Senior Pass
The lifetime pass will provide many benefits that will save seniors money while visiting the national parks of their choice. Here are some examples of these benefits.
- Discount (up to 50%) on Expanded Amenity Fees, such as camping, swimming, boat launching, and guided tours.
- Discounts on campsites that are physically being used by the pass owner.
- Guided Tours: pass offers discounts on some guided tours. Only the pass owner may receive a discount if one is offered.
How do I qualify for the National Parks Senior Pass?
Only U.S. citizens or permanent residents age 62 or over are eligible.
Documentation that may be required includes:
- A U.S. State or Territory issued Driver’s License
- Identification or Birth Certificate
- A U.S. Passport or Passport Card
- A Permanent Resident Card (Green Card)
How much does the Lifetime pass cost?
Lifetime Senior Pass provides seniors with free entry into all National Park sites for the remainder of their life. Prior to August 28th, 2017, the Lifetime Senior pass was only $10. The cost of the Lifetime Senior Pass now is $80. Seniors can also get an Annual Senior Pass, which provides seniors with free entry into the parks for one year. The cost of the Annual Senior Pass is only $20. The reason for the increase was due to the Centennial Legislation P.L. 114-289, which passed by the US Congress on December 16, 2016. The increase helps the park service maintain the “beauty” of the national parks and the land which it stands on.
Where can I purchase a Lifetime Senior Pass
- In person- Seniors interested in purchasing a Lifetime Senior Pass can purchase one at any national park federal recreation site. Click here for a full list of federal recreation sites that issue these passes.
- Online- Seniors can also purchase the Lifetime Senior Pass or an Annual Senior Pass online through the USGS store.
- Mail- For the more old-fashioned individuals, the pass can also be purchased through the mail. A specific application form will be needed to do so.
Is there a Pass for the Disabled?
The National Park Service does offer an Access Pass to United States citizens or permanent residents which is specifically for the disabled, regardless of age. There is no cost for this pass; however, the individual will need to provide documentation of the permanent disability. This pass is a great benefit to those who have mobility issues yet still want to stay active and enjoy the outdoors.
Final thoughts on the Lifetime Senior Pass…
Staying active as we age is important for not only our physical health but our mental health. For those who love to take nature trails, go camping, and experience our country’s beautiful land, then getting a Lifetime Senior pass at a National park is the way to go. Most national parks are open annually, although hours may vary during prime season or due to weather conditions. Some parks even offer large conference halls or buildings for special occasions. Calling ahead is recommended, especially if you plan on having a special event like a reunion. According to the national park service, most parks have no entry fee. In fact, only 118 out of 417 national parks throughout America will charge an Entry fee to seniors and other patrons. The national parks that do charge this fee are usually the most popular sites, such as Yellowstone National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, and Yosemite National Park.
Seniors should plan their adventure early. Some national parks can become crowded, especially during the prime season. Using your Lifetime Senior Pass in the off-season may be a better idea. Sunset and Sunrise times are more crowded, as we all expect them to be. However, seeing the sky full of stars on a clear night can take your breath away. Campgrounds around the parks can also be in high demand. Making sure you choose the right location is essential during the park’s busy season.