Free Access to National Parks

Free Access to National Parks

Summer is a time for exploring, and what better day trip than to explore a national park right here in Massachusetts? It’s local, it’s educational, and it won’t bust your budget!

For families with disabled kids, visiting a national park can be a real nice adventure. You can expose your child to all sorts of new experiences (from outdoor scenery and sounds to historical monuments), plus, since the parks are here in our state, you don’t have to worry about traveling too far or spending the night in a hotel, which can be tough for some families.

There are many parks in Massachusetts. Just check their website to locate one near you. Over here in Boston, we love the Harbor Islands which includes an exciting boat ride out to the islands. And on August 1st the Toe Jam Puppet Band will be playing a set of free environmental concerts on Georges Island. That sounds like a fun day!

And here’s even better news: It’s possible for you to obtain a free pass to all the National Parks in the U.S.!

Here’s the info:

The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass is a lifetime pass for U.S. citizens or permanent residents with permanent disabilities.

Documentation is required to obtain the pass. Acceptable documentation includes: statement by a licensed physician; document issued by a Federal agency such as the Veteran’s Administration, Social Security Disability Income or Supplemental Security Income; or document issued by a State agency such as a vocational rehabilitation agency.

The pass provides access to, and use of, Federal recreation sites that charge an Entrance or Standard Amenity. The pass admits the pass holder and passengers in a non-commercial vehicle at per vehicle fee
areas and pass holder + 3 adults, not to exceed 4 adults, at per person fee areas (children under 16 are admitted free).

The pass can only be obtained in person at the park. The Access Pass provides a 50 percent discount on some Expanded Amenity Fees charged for facilities and services such as camping, swimming, boat launching, and specialized interpretive services. In some cases where Expanded Amenity Fees are charged, only the pass holder will be given the 50 percent price reduction. The pass is non-transferable and generally does NOT cover or reduce special recreation permit fees or fees charged by concessionaires.

Visit their site for more info:

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Amber BobnarAmber Bobnar

Amber lives with her husband and son in Watertown, MA. Originally hailing from Hawaii, Amber and her family moved to Watertown to be closer to the Perkins School for the Blind where her son attends preschool. She has a Master’s degree in English from Tufts University and spends most of her “free time” writing about being a parent of a disabled child on or about the family’s musical adventures around Boston on But really most of her time is spent caring for and playing with her little boy.

One Comment on “Free Access to National Parks

  1. National Parks are a great, cheap way to spend time with family and friends! You can plan a whole day trip at a park, sometimes even more if you want to go camping!

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