Seniors seeing ‘America the Beautiful’ is about to get more expensive…8x more expensive!
After August 27th, the price of the National Park System’s Lifetime Senior Pass jumps from it’s current absurdly low rate of $10, to a still palatable, but more expensive $80.
It still is one of the best bargains in travel. Especially for those who savor the real gems of the country, our National Parks and Forests.
Originally introduced as the Golden Age Passport, the current iteration allows those who have reached the age of 62 years, perennial access to all 417 locations in the National Park Service inventory and more than 2,000 National Forest Service sites for the remainder of the holder’s lifetime. Our family was introduced to the same when my father in law handed over an Alexander Hamilton in exchange for a perpetual entry pass to the park system. He has accompanied us on a number of trips allowing the whole family in the vehicle to be waived in gratis.
Late last year, Congress under the Obama Administration passed the NPS Centennial Act which raised the cost of the lifetime pass. The act was trumpeted as an effort to further endow the park service, but it will steeply increase the upfront cost of gaining the lifetime access. That cost, however, can be circumvented by purchasing a pass on or before August 27th. The next day, the price increase sets in. After the markup, the pain can be reduced by purchasing four annual senior passes for $20 each and you’ll get one lifetime Senior Pass free. The lifetime Senior Pass can be purchased at park locations for $10. Opt for the online or mail in option and the price doubles. All are facing the 8/27 looming deadline.
The Senior Pass is just one of the ways to savor our National Parks or Forests on a budget. Active military members can utilize a free annual pass. Also, if you have fourth grader in the household, NPS offers a get in free pass for that year.
Regardless, no matter how you elect to access the parks from Acadia to Zion, you’ll find it is money well spent, but given the choice, if you’re north of 62, make sure you have a Senior Pass in hand by the third week of August.
Header Image: Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii