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February 5, 2016 / Retirementallychallenged.com

U.S. National Parks on sale!

There are a lot of opportunities to save a few dollars here and there when we pass certain age milestones. Some businesses offer deals for customers as young as 50, but most of these “senior discounts” don’t kick in until we reach age 55, 60, or older. Many restaurants, hotels, airlines, rental car agencies, and retail shops try to attract our money by offering a dollar amount or percentage off… but often only if you ask (so, ask). Some of the deals are good, but many require the customer to purchase something they may not have wanted in the first place.

Bryce Canyon National Park in southern Utah should be on everyone's bucket list.

Bryce Canyon National Park in southern Utah should be on everyone’s bucket list.

The very best senior discount opportunity I know of is the one offered by the National Park Service. For just $10, plus a $10 processing fee, any U.S. citizen or permanent resident age 62 or over can purchase this lifetime pass to over 2,000 recreation sites. Senior Passes can be purchased online, by mail, or in person and will admit up to four adults (any age) in one non-commercial vehicle for free. How flipping great is that??!!

I have been anticipating the day my husband turned 62 so we can purchase a Senior Pass and, now, I am so excited to get my his hands on it! The National Park Service turns 100 in 2016 and we look forward to using the heck out of it to explore this amazing resource we are so fortunate to have in the United States (you can read my previous post about the National Park Service here).

If you aren’t yet 62 (I’m so sorry for you), there are other discount passes available, including one for current members of the military, people with disabilities, and 4th graders (I assume I don’t have any 4th graders reading my blog but some of you may have children or grandchildren who qualify). The $80 Annual Pass is available to anyone and is a great deal if you plan to visit more than one or two participating parks during a calendar year.

To learn more about the National Park Service and their discount passes, visit their website (nps.gov), or go straight to: nps.gov/findapark/passes.htm.

So little, yet so mighty!

So little, yet so mighty!

Then, get out and explore!

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31 Comments

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  1. Little Miss Traveller / Feb 5 2016 11:48 am

    Love Bryce and Zion

  2. Kate Crimmins / Feb 5 2016 12:18 pm

    Sounds like a very good deal!

  3. laura bruno lilly / Feb 5 2016 1:30 pm

    Thanks for making my day…2016 is the year for us to turn that magical number…albeit not till October and December. Really adds something to an otherwise drab, milestone-less b-day! HA!

  4. patwdoyle11 / Feb 5 2016 3:16 pm

    We used the annual National Park pass on our trip through southern Utah – Arches, Canyonlands, Natural Bridges, Capitol Reef, Bryce and Zion. The Best Trip ever! And then the following years for Yellowstone, Tetons, Badlands and Rushmore. We love the National Parks and I too am awaiting the day hubby turns 62 to get the “forever pass”! This reminded me to put it on the calendar – thanks.

    • Retirementallychallenged.com / Feb 5 2016 3:51 pm

      It sounds like we did just about the same trip through Utah. On that same three-week roadtrip we also got up to Rushmore. Yellowstone and Grand Teton NP are still on my list.

      • patwdoyle11 / Feb 5 2016 5:46 pm

        Oh, and if Glacier isn’t on your list, add that as well. I liked it more than Yellowstone and Yosemite (but that’s me). We did Glacier and Canada’s equivalent (shares a border – can’t recall park name!) in the same trip. Do it soon, the glaciers are expected to be gone in a few years!

  5. joannesisco / Feb 5 2016 3:33 pm

    That is an amazing offer to seniors and one that I hope as many people as possible take advantage of. Being out and experiencing nature is sooooo good for us – regardless of age.

    … but as we get older and have more leisure time, I can’t think of anything better than being outdoors. Almost makes me wish I was American 😉

    • Retirementallychallenged.com / Feb 5 2016 3:55 pm

      Almost… until you hear about our elections. 🙂 I think you can still get the annual pass… I don’t believe they require the purchaser to be a citizen. Do you have an equivalent integrated park system to our national parks in Canada?

      • joannesisco / Feb 6 2016 4:23 am

        That’s a good question. I’ll have to investigate, but if I had to guess, the answer would be no.

  6. snakesinthegrass2014 / Feb 5 2016 6:19 pm

    When I lived in Fresno I was able to get into Yosemite for free by virtue of working for the federal court, and we had a district court right there in the park. That was a great perk. One year, I bought a seasonal pass for the Kings Canyon and Sequoia national parks too. Your post makes me think of how much I’m missing by not doing that anymore, and it would be nice to check out some of the national parks in the southeast now. I’m not yet 62, but maybe I can fake being a 4th grader. I’m told regularly around here that I act like one. 🙂

    • Retirementallychallenged.com / Feb 6 2016 5:49 pm

      What an amazing perk that would have been! I’m not as familiar with the parks in the southeast, but it would be worth checking out on the NPS website. Your comment about acting like a 4th grader made me laugh 🙂

  7. dconnollyislandgmailcom / Feb 5 2016 6:50 pm

    Thanks Janis for another very timely post. We are leaving this Sunday to have a bit of a driving holiday through Nevada, California and Arizona. National Parks are definitely on our list so I have already downloaded the links that you provided. Great artilcle!
    Donna
    http://www.retirementreflections.com

  8. Shelley / Feb 6 2016 6:28 am

    I got mine! The funny part–I was all set to show my ID, but the ranger said he didn’t need to see it. He figured anyone that admitted to being 62, probably was (or something to that effect!)

    I’m LOVING senior discounts. I ask all the time.

    • Retirementallychallenged.com / Feb 6 2016 5:57 pm

      That’s funny that they didn’t ask for an ID but maybe since you have to show your drivers license along with the pass to enter a park, they figure they were covered. I have to get in the habit of asking for a senior discount… I bet I’ve left some money on the table.

  9. KeukaBeth / Feb 6 2016 8:04 am

    Great deal! We got ours at Jamestown in Virginia. I keep telling people not to miss the National Parks, because they are National Parks for a reason. Wonderful places!

    • Retirementallychallenged.com / Feb 6 2016 5:44 pm

      I got started young with family vacations to Yosemite, Kings Canyon and the Grand Canyon. I still have many, many on my “must visit” list, including Yellowstone (I can’t believe that I’ve never been there).

  10. Carol Ferenc / Feb 6 2016 12:34 pm

    We got our pass about five years ago. At that time they were only available to buy at a National Park and there was no extra processing fee. It’s one of the best purchases we’ve ever made. We’ve used it at many, many great National Parks!

    • Retirementallychallenged.com / Feb 6 2016 5:59 pm

      I’m glad to hear that you have gotten good use out of yours! Maybe if you buy the pass at the park they don’t charge the fee… but I figure, either way, it’s a smoking deal!

      • Carol Ferenc / Feb 7 2016 4:22 pm

        Absolutely, it’s a great deal. No one should “pass” it up 🙂

  11. Kathy Merlino / Feb 6 2016 12:56 pm

    Thanks for the info! I’m on it right now this minute!

  12. Terri Webster Schrandt / Feb 7 2016 7:31 pm

    What a great reminder of our country’s heritage and vision to preserve public lands. I will have to tell my students about the 100 year anniversary of the NPS (I should have known that!) Congrats on getting the pass!

  13. Kathy Gottberg / Feb 7 2016 8:12 pm

    WOW Janis! Thom turned 62 this year and I guess I didn’t really know about this until now. THANK YOU! We live really close to Joshua Tree National Park and had hoped to visit a couple of others this summer so this is perfect advice. ~Kathy

  14. meandtheinterweb / Feb 9 2016 4:43 pm

    My husband just got his Park Pass this week! and I’ll get to ride along. We’re planning our first big trip of retirement – heading to South Dakota this summer. Looking forward to it.

    • Retirementallychallenged.com / Feb 9 2016 7:52 pm

      That is great! My husband and I went to South Dakota and Mount Rushmore as a part of our three-week road trip last spring. It was fabulous! Have a great time!

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