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Travel Tip: National Park Entrance Fees

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National Park entrance fees can really add up, so it’s time to get creative and make the most out of the park’s annual passes, senior discounts and “fee-free” weekends (it’s recommend buying an annual pass).

For $80, you can purchase an annual which gives entrance for yourself and three other visitors. This doesn’t even include kids under age 15, who are free. The annual pass covers the entire federal recreation system, including historic battlefields, seashores, scenic rivers and trails. Did you know this pass includes historic sites, memorials, and other educational sites that many don’t consider to be traditional national parks.

One example is the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic site. The annual pass gives you free self-guided tours of the Baptist church where King preached and a free guided tour of King’s birthplace. Another option is to purchase a senior pass. Travelers ages 62 and over can buy a $10 lifetime pass, which covers park admissions and offers up to 50 percent discounts on all the concession.

And for all U.S. citizens with permanent disabilities a lifetime pass is free. The National Park Service also has “fee-free” weekends at more than 100 national parks. Free weekends often fall during National Park Week in mid-April, Public Lands Day, and Veteran’s Day. And some national parks, like Great Basin, and North Cascades, have no entrance fees….year round.

For more information on National Parks,visit our National Parks section.

To read more of Peter’s Travel Tips, go to the complete Travel Tips archive.