America the Beautiful PassAmerica the Beautiful Pass

(It’s only $10 for seniors!)

Everybody loves a bargain! With the change of seasons it’s time to get out in nature and breathe the fresh air. The perfect accessory for this is the Senior Pass to national parks, forest lands and much more.

Officially called the “America the Beautiful: National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass,” we’ll just call it the Senior Pass for the sake of brevity. This pass takes home the prize for offering the best value for seniors who enjoy the great outdoors and want to spend anywhere from a few nights to a few months traveling to and enjoying the beauty of our National Parks.

How much does it cost?

For the public this pass is $80 for one year, or free for active military for one year. But if you are 62 or older, a lifetime pass is just $10 for American citizens or permanent residents. You don’t see bargains like that much anymore! It gives the holder plus three friends or family members free entrance to federal recreation sites. Children under 16 are always admitted free. One pass is good for a couple, plus two more travel companions and as many grandkids under 16 that will fit in the car.

Half of savings on other goodies

The Senior Pass also gets you up to 50% discounts on camping, fishing and other amenities at some sites. If you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with permanent disabilities, then the lifetime pass is free. The free pass can only be purchased at the park after providing documentation. The Tennessee Valley Authority may honor the Senior Pass for entrance or camping discounts, although it’s not a Federal park site.

The program was created to encourage visits to national parks and forests, and to assist the elderly and disabled to get out in the natural world. Participating agencies include the National Park Service, USDA Forest Service, Bureau of Reclamation, Bureau of Land Management, Corps of Engineers, and the Fish and Wildlife Service.

Where can you buy it?

The Senior Pass can be purchased at the entrance to your choice of any of the Federal recreation sites where they are accepted (except the Army Corps of Engineers which accepts the Senior Pass but does not sell them). Instead of paying the entrance fee, buy your Senior Pass – it’s probably cheaper and lasts a lifetime. You can also order a Senior Pass by mail but there is a $10 processing fee, so the price essentially doubles.

The purchase process can be found on the U.S. Geological Survey website and you must mail proof of your age for verification purposes. If you hold a pass from the earlier Federal recreation site programs, the Golden Access or the Golden Age Passport, then you can exchange it free for the current Senior Pass. It’s a great bargain that you can use for the rest of your life!

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