Thinking About Getting a National Park Senior Pass? You Should Get It Soon

If you’re 62 or older and love the outdoors, this is the deal of a lifetime — literally.

For a one-time fee of $10, you can purchase a Senior Pass that will get you into all 417 national parks and more than 2,000 other recreational sites managed by the federal government for free for the rest of your life.

And the sooner you buy your pass, the better. The cost, which has been the same since 1994, is soon expected to shoot up to $80, according to the AARP.

Why is the National Parks Senior Pass Price Going Up?

The prices are going up because Congress approved the National Park Service Centennial Act in December. The act raises fees and sets up an endowment to help improve the visitor experience and provide more opportunities to volunteer in parks all over the country.

A notice from the U.S. Geology Survey, which sells the passes, says the price is expected to stay the same for the next few months, so you’ve got a bit more time if your 62nd birthday hasn’t rolled around yet.

There’s no exact date for the price to be raised yet, but the AARP expects the change to come sometime before the end of this year.

How to Get a National Parks Senior Pass

If you want a Senior Pass, you have to be 62 years old before you can buy it. That means if you’re still 61 when the prices change, you’ll unfortunately be stuck paying the higher fee.

But if you’re already of age, all you need is an ID to prove your age and residency.

The most economic option is to buy your pass in person. While some states like Delaware only have two places across the entire state to purchase a pass in person, other states like Arizona have several dozen.

Check this list to find out where you can purchase your pass in your home state. Be sure to call before you go to check the hours for the location.

If you don’t want to make the trek just to pick up a pass, you can also apply for yours online or with a mail-in application, but it will cost you an extra $10 for document processing.

Your Turn: Do you already have a Senior Pass? What parks have you visited with it?

Desiree Stennett (@desi_stennett) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. The prices will change long before she turns 62.

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