No more almost-free senior lunch at U.S. National Parks: The price of a lifetime America the Beautiful Senior Pass rises sharply from $10 to $80 on August 28, 2017.
The Senior Pass, available to U.S. citizens and permanent residents age 62 and above, has cost just $10 since 1994, making it one of the great travel bargains in the world.
At $80, it will still be a good deal, just not the steal it is now. If you already have one of the $10 passes, it will be honored for your lifetime.
Senior Passes provide access to more than 2,000 recreation sites managed by six federal agencies:
- National Park Service
- US Fish & Wildlife Service
- Bureau of Land Management
- Bureau of Reclamation
- US Forest Service
- US Army Corps of Engineers
Senior Pass Benefits
The passes cover entrance and day-use recreation fees at these sites, and also provide discounts on some expanded amenity recreation fees, such as camping, swimming, boat launching, and guided tours.
And here’s a great benefit: Traveling companions of the Senior Pass owner — up to three additional adult passengers in a noncommercial vehicle — can also enter for free. (Children under 16 are always free.)
Annual Senior Passes will also be available for $20.
Safeguard your pass — you’ll have to pay for a replacement if lost or stolen.
Senior Passes can be purchased at any federal recreation sites, including national parks, that charge an entrance or standard amenity (day-use) fee. Proof of age and residency is required.
See the complete list of sites where the pass is available (PDF).
Passes can also be purchased online or through the mail from USGS; an additional $10 processing fee will be added to the price. Visit the USGS store to buy the pass online or find instructions for purchasing by mail.
The online service is currently overwhelmed with requests but accommodations are being made and chances are you’ll still be able to complete your $10 purchase by the August 27 deadline. But don’t delay.
Free Days and Free Parks
Three free-entrance days are still upcoming in 2017:
- September 30: National Public Lands Day
- November 11-12: Veterans Day Weekend
And access to the majority of National Park Service sites remains free—only 118 of 417 National Park Service sites have an entrance fee.
Of course, the most popular national parks — Yellowstone, Yosemite, Zion, Everglades and the like — all carry entrance fees.
Dear Readers: My new guidebook, 100 Things to Do in Tucson Before You Die (Reedy Press, August 15, 2017) is now available for purchase. For those outside the Tucson area, you can go to the book’s sale page at amazon.com and order it. Don’t forget to write a review!