National Park Passes
by Nancy Bick
(Rockville Centre, NY)
US National Parks Senior Pass
Question: What is an National Parks Senior Pass? It is mentioned in your post on beach parking fees? Thank you.
Dee's Reply: Hi Nancy - The Senior Pass is one of several special passes that can be used for free parking at Cape Cod National Seashore beaches. (It's accepted by multiple agencies at more than 2,000 federal parks and recreation areas in the USA.)
Here's a little overview of each type of pass:
U.S. National Parks Interagency Passes
National Parks Senior Pass - If you're a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and you're at least 62 years old, you're eligible for a National Parks Senior Pass. At only $10 for a lifetime pass (or $20 if you're ordering by mail or online), it's a fantastic bargain!
** UPDATE-2017: The Senior Pass fee has recently changed. It's now $80 for a lifetime pass and $20 for an annual pass. Still a good deal, IMHO.
National Parks Annual Pass - This one is for US citizens and permanent residents who are 16 to 61 years of age. It costs $80, and it's good for ... you guessed it ... one year.
National Parks Access Pass - The Access Pass is for US citizens and permanent residents who are legally blind or permanently disabled. There's no charge for the Access Pass, and it's valid for the owner's lifetime.
Cape Cod National Seashore Season Pass - The National Parks passes I've described (above) can be used at lots of national parks and federal recreation areas around the country. This pass, on the other hand, is only valid at the Cape Cod National Seashore. The CCNS Season Pass costs $45, and it's good until the end of the calendar year in which it's purchased.
Where to Get The Passes
If you're planning to use your pass at a federal park or recreation area while on your way to the Cape, then your best bet would be to order your pass by mail or online. Have it delivered to your home, stick it in your wallet, and you'll have it handy for your travels.
If you only plan to use the pass here on the Cape, then you might as well wait until you get here to buy it. Just stop by the Salt Pond Visitors Center (50 Doane Road in Eastham), go to the information desk, show your photo ID, and they'll whip up a pass for you in a matter of minutes.
FYI: From Memorial Day to Labor Day, passes are also available at Province Lands Visitors Center, 171 Race Point Road in Provincetown.
Here are links to more details about where you can use the passes, what they cover, and how to get them:
National Park Service Interagency Passes
Cape Cod National Seashore Seasons Pass
I hope this information is helpful for you. If you have other questions, please don't hesitate to ask!
UPDATE: May 2015
As of May 22, 2015, the cost for Cape Cod National Seashore season passes will increase to $60.