Your Pass to America the Beautiful 

Kyle A. Messina, park guide at De Soto National Memorial Park, holds a pass.

For the first time since 1994, the price of the America the Beautiful senior lifetime pass for national parks and other federal land areas will soon increase. The pass will go from $10 to $80 on August 28, 2017, said Kyle A. Messina, park guide at De Soto National Memorial Park. De Soto park in Bradenton is run by the National Park Service and it is the closest geographic location to St. Petersburg where the passes can be purchased. US citizens and permanent residents age 62 and older are eligible to buy the passes with a federally recognized photo ID card such as a driver’s license.

“Yourself and three people you’re traveling with in one private non-commercial vehicle get free access to national parks and other lands,” said Messina.

Other federal agencies such as the Bureau of Land Management, the Fish and Wildlife Service and the US Army Corps of Engineers also honor the pass.

“There are more than 2,000 sites total,” said Messina.

The visitor center at De Soto park is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. except for some national holidays. Calling in advance to check for pass availability is recommended: 941-792-0458, ext. 105. Passes can also be purchased online from the United States Geological Survey with an added $10 processing fee. See store.usgs.gov/senior-pass. Pass holders also enjoy a 50 percent discount to some camping, swimming, boat launch and interpretive services according to the website.

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