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Senior Hiking and Camping with the National Parks Senior Pass

When many seniors reach retirement age they often look for different parts of the country to travel to that may have never had time to see before. All across the country there are dozens of beautiful national parks that make wonderful places to visit for people of all ages. Whether it's to walk the trail, or go hiking and camping, these parks are national treasures that should be seen.

The National Park Service recognizes this and is why it offers the National Parks Senior Pass.

What is the National Parks Senior Pass?

The National Parks Senior Pass is a ticket that covers entrance fees to 2,000 federal recreation sites. Each pass covers entrance fees to national parks and wildlife refuge as well as day use fees at national forests and grasslands. This includes lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. If you are visiting a location that changes per person, the pass will also cover the entrance fee for up to four adults. If you are visiting a location that charges per vehicle, the pass covers the non-commercial vehicle and its passengers. Children age 15 and under are free.

All of the money raised from the sale of the National Parks Senior Pass goes directly towards the up-keep and enhancement of the visitor recreation services.

Where Can I Use the National Parks Senior Pass?

There are too many different places to list here, but if you visit this link, you can see a list of all the locations covered under the National Parks Senior Pass broken down by state.

How Much Does a National Parks Senior Pass Cost?

You can either buy an annual pass for $20 or a lifetime pass for $80. You have to be a U.S. citizen age 62 and over in order to be eligible to buy one. You also need to have proof of residency and age before a pass is issued.

If you’ve read about the National Parks Senior Pass before you may have noticed a substantial jump in the price. In August of 2017 the price rose from $10 for a lifetime pass to $80 due to a law that was passed. The law stated that the lifetime National Parks Senior Pass be the same price as the America the Beautiful-The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass which is currently $80.

If you bought a lifetime National Parks Senior Pass when it was only $10, you lucked out because it is still valid.

You can buy the pass at any of the sites where it can be used or you can go online. There is also a form you can fill-out and mail in to get your pass. But, if you use the online or regular mail option it will cost you $10 more per pass. So, it’s probably best to buy the pass in person in order to save money.

Senior Camping and Hiking

If you are looking to go camping at one of the sites or use other services like a boat launch, the pass may give you a 50 percent discount. There are different rules depending on the type of site you choose. It’s best to ask ahead to known what discounts you may be eligible for with the National Parks Senior Pass.

Using your National Parks Senior Pass at a camp site that offers a discount is well worth it because fees at other sites can get costly. Camping is a fun, low-cost activity that you can enjoy while taking in the great outdoors. Go for a walk, take a hike or snap some beautiful nature shots. Whichever you choose, you National Parks Senior Pass will come in handy.

If you are planning a camping trip always be sure to bring prescription medication along. It’s also not a bad idea to have a pay-as-you-go phone on hand in case of emergency. Mother Nature doesn’t provide cell phone chargers so be sure you’re fully charged before you head out.

The National Parks Senior Pass is definitely something worth investing in if you’re thinking about traveling to many of the places that do charge entrance fees. Whether it’s for a year or for a lifetime, the money saved will add up. We all know every penny counts!

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