Federal Senior Pass–National Parks For Free

If you are 62 or older, for a lifetime fee of $10 you can get a pass for free entrance to all national parks and federal lands.  You can also get 50% off camping fees.

America the Beautiful Senior Pass
America the Beautiful Senior Pass

We have known about this pass for years now, but only qualified for it a couple of years ago.  In that intervening time, most of our travels have seen us overseas.  We haven’t been camping or visiting national parks in this country for years now.  If you’ve been reading the blog for awhile, you know that several grandchildren have come on the scene.  Our traveling is now starting to include more cruises and camping where we can take the kids with us.

We both got the pass earlier this year, and it has already saved us serious money in the short time we’ve had it. You get free admittance to all Federal Recreation areas (see below) but the real savings comes when you only pay half the regular fee to camp.  On our last trip, we were paying $8-$11 a night to camp when we stayed in Forest Service campgrounds!

How Do You Get the Federal Senior Pass?

You have to be at least 62 years old, or be permanently disabled to qualify for the pass.

In Person

Go to a Federal Recreation Area where passes are issued.  Show your ID, pay $10 and get your pass.  It is good for the rest of your life so don’t lose it!  If you do lose it, you’ll have to go through the process again, but it only costs $10 each time.

Online

You can apply online but you have to upload your ID, it costs $20 by credit card only, and you have to wait for the pass to be mailed to you.

Where Can You Use the Federal Senior Pass?

You can use it at National Parks, National Forests, BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land, Bureau of Reclamation land, Fish and Wildlife Service areas, and Army Corp of Engineers lands.

Who Can Use the Federal Senior Pass?

If admission is charged per vehicle, then the pass holder and  everyone else in the car get free admission.  If admission is charged per person, then the pass holder and three other adults (children under 16 are never charged a fee) gets free admission.

How Do You Use the Federal Senior Pass?

You show your pass and your photo ID at the entrance booth.  You and everyone in your car get free admission to the park.  When you register for a campsite, you give the ID number from your pass, and get a 50% discount on camping fees.

How Much Money Do You Save By Using the Federal Senior Pass?

Let’s use the example of a family traveling by car to Yellowstone National Park, and one member of their party holds the pass.   They will stay in campgrounds for three nights while they are in the park and will tent camp so will stay in one of the cheaper, non-RV campgrounds.  The fee to get into Yellowstone is $30 for 7 days.  This is charged per vehicle, so everyone in the car gets free admission.  The camping fee is $20, but only $10 is charged by using the pass.  The family will save $60 by using the pass!

Where to Get More Information about the Federal Senior Pass

This website will give you all the information you need. If you have the pass, make sure you bring it if you are driving any distance in the US.  You never know when you’ll pass a park or area where you can get in for free.  I’m going back up to North Georgia tomorrow. I’m getting up right now to make sure my pass is in my purse…..

 

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