Our family has had great experiences at all of the National Parks we have visited. We camp at Acadia each summer and have spent time at several other National Parks over the past couple of years.
It was only this winter though, while researching accessibility options at some of the National Parks when I learned about the National Parks Access Pass.
The Access Pass is issued by the park service to anyone with a permanent disability and supposedly provides free or reduced cost entry to National Parks and other Federal recreation areas. In our family’s case, this could result in significant savings because in many cases the pass holder and three other family members (or passengers if you’re paying a car-based fee) are eligible for the discounts.
You can order the Access Pass through the mail or pick up the pass at one of these pickup locations. Since we’re right around the corner from one of the pickup locations, we got a letter from our son’s doctor detailing his disability and drove over to Gateway National Recreation Area and got him a pass.
Unlike the other passes the park service offers, the Access Pass is free if you pick it up in person. The process for us simply required showing the doctor’s note to the park ranger who then had us sign in a register and handed us the pass. (We did not receive a hang tag for it and have reached out to the National Parks to see if we can get one mailed to us).
There are several other passes available for purchase that offer similar benefits of the Access Pass. If you visit a lot of National Parks it could be worth researching.
We have a few National Park stops planned on our Spring Break road trip in the coming weeks so we’ll update with how well the pass works out, its benefits and how widely accepted it is.
– when we picked up the Access Pass from Sandy Hook we didn’t get a hangtag for the pass for our vehicle’s rearview mirror. I sent an email to email@example.com and they mailed me a hangtag for the access pass.
– we used the Access Pass on our last trip to Historic Jamestown and it saved us at least $30 in park access fees. Using the pass was as simple as showing it to the park ranger who was at the fee station. No questions or hassles, just proceed right in without paying.