Pass to America

Summer’s here! A lot of us will be making shorter trips while watching dollars. The National Park Service offers a great value for US citizens over 62: America the Beautiful – The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Senior Pass. We’ll just call it the Senior Pass.
For a onetime fee of $10, you get a lifetime pass good for entrance into any participating Federal recreation site in the country. It admits the bearer and 3 other adults in the same car (children under 16 are free) to sites where admittance is by car with per person charges. At walk-in sites, it admits only the bearer. It also provides discounts on some amenities, like camp sites.
While it may be a long way to the Grand Canyon, there are plenty of places to visit within a day’s drive.
Vermont has only one location, the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Park in Woodstock. Formerly a Rockefeller summer residence, it has an incredible art collection, fabulous grounds and, of course, the mansion.
Next door, in New Hampshire, is the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site (on Route 12, just a few miles south of the box stores in West Lebanon). Saint-Gaudens was one of the country’s most famous sculptors in the post civil war area. Around the grounds are copies of his favorite works: Standing Lincoln, Admiral Farragut, Shaw’s Memorial, Sherman’s Victory, to name a few. The house is lovely and the grounds are remarkable. They also host various concerts and art events all through the summer (as do many of the other sites).
Over in New York, from the Saratoga National Historic Park down through the Hudson River Valley to Hyde Park and the homes of Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt, there are half a dozen forts and other historic sites. Along the way are beautiful parks, lovely state-owned mansions, and the views that inspired the Hudson River School.
Way over on the coast of Maine, there’s Arcadia National Park, a cultural center in St. John Valley, and St. Croix Island International Historic Site. The Roosevelt summer home at Campobello International Park can make the longer drive worthwhile.
If that doesn’t fill up your summer enough, check out all the golf courses, hiking trails, and scenic stops along the way. It is all close by and offers interest and adventures for a carload of all ages.
The Senior Pass can be purchased at any Federal recreation site. You can go online to for information about the National Park Service. From there you can go to individual states and individual sites.
For more information about the Senior Pass, google “America the Beautiful National Park Pass”. It is the best $10 value out there.
Plan a nice summer, enjoy the area. Aging in Place, it doesn’t happen by accident.

Update — A kind reader has alerted us to a change in the National Parks Service pass program. The free senior pass described above is no longer available. The “America the Beautiful” lifetime Senior Pass is available for $10 to citizens 62 and older, but must be purchased in person. (“America the Beautiful” Annual Pass for the general public is $80 and can be purchased at the parks, by phone or online.) For more info, go to or call 1-888-ASK-USGS, Ext. 1.

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About the author

Scott Funk has specialized in Home Equity Conversion Mortgage reverse mortgages for over a decade. He is a recognized Aging in Place advocate in his home state of Vermont. His monthly newspaper column Aging in Place has run for 7 years in 24 papers around the state. Scott is brings a lighthearted approach to his talks on Boomers, retirement and aging on purpose.