Military Discounts And Veteran Discounts On State Parks

August 2, 2011

State and national parks draw close to 300 million visitors each year as they are a prime recreation destination for most Americans.  If you are a frequent visitor to state or national parks or if you just visit once, you can take advantage of the many discounts, fee waivers and deals that state parks have set aside for military personnel and veterans.  In fact, 44 out of 50 states have special discounts for military personnel and veterans.  PayingLess ranked all 50 states' parks on the perks they provide to military personnel and veterans.

Rank State Active Duty Guard and Reserve Disabled
Veterans
Veterans Discount  
1 Virginia


Free Free Free Free Virginia state parks are free for active duty and veterans until Dec 31, 2011.  Military personnel and veterans can enjoy parks in 9 regions throughout the state.  More info.
2 Pennsylvannia

Free Free Free Free Entrance to all PA state parks is free.   Fees are incurred for campground rental, swimming and lodging.
More info.
3 Minnesota

Free
Free Free
A free one-day Minnesota State Park vehicle permit is available to military personnel stationed outside Minnesota and on leave and those visiting within 90 days of leaving active service, as well as to any resident veteran with any service-connected disability. Bring your current military orders and military ID or a copy of your disability determination letter, and let the park attendant know your military status when you arrive.
A free annual Minnesota State Park permit is available to any resident veteran who has a total and permanent service–connected disability. Present a copy of your determination letter to the park attendant for the free annual sticker.
4 New Jersey Free Free Free New Jersey residents can received free state park passes if they are a disabled veteran, serving on active duty or a member of the New Jersery National Guard or the New Jersey Air National Guard.  Active duty personnel and disabled veterans can also receive free entry into local beaches. 
5 Illinois

Free Free Free The Armed Forces Special Pass provides qualifying military members, and guard and reserve members who were mobilized, to camp at IDNR campgrounds (camper responsible for utility, rent-a-tent and cabin fees) free of charge. The pass also offers a combined Sportsman’s License and Habitat Stamp for hunting and fishing, and an archery or firearm deer permit if requested and available.

Military members are eligible for free sport fishing, hunting and camping for one year for each year (and portion of one year) served.  Get application.

To receive an Armed Forces Special Pass from the IDNR, qualifying military members must appear in person at the Illinois Department of Natural Resources headquarters, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, within two years of their return from abroad or release from mobilization, provide verification of dates of service, and provide a photo ID.
6 Arizona

50% off 50% off Free
Active military personnel and their families receive 50% off the regular Day Use fee to Arizona State Parks. The discount does not apply to Kartchner Caverns tour tickets or camping fees at Arizona State Parks. This discount is offered to Regular Military, Reserve, National Guard, and state militia troops and their families. Please present your military identification at the park entrance to receive this discount.
7 Delaware



Free Free A free state parks pass, fishing and hunting pass is available for resident veterans of the Armed Forces and served 90 or more consecutive days in
Southwest Asia associated with Operation Iraqi Freedom and/or Operations Enduring Freedom.  Veterans must provide a copy of their DD 214.
8 Maine



Free Free A free day use pass to state parks and historic sites to eligible Maine veterans.  To be eligible, you must be a resident of Maine have received an honorable discharge or general discharge under honorable conditions.
9 New Hampshire


Free Free
New Hampshire state park entrance is free for national guard and reservists E-8 and below and free for disabled veterans.
10 New York
Free Free
In recognition of their commitment and sacrifices while in service, a member of the New York State Militia or any branch of the New York State National Guard or military reserves who is currently serving on active duty in support of the war on terrorism is eligible for one free Empire Passport for use by his or her immediate family during deployment and/or for his or her own use when returning home.  Disabled Veterans are eligible for a free access pass
11 Oregon
Free
Free
Free park use for active duty on leave and free for veterans with service connected disabilities.
12 Colorado

up to 20% off up to 20% off Free 50% Each individual park in Colorado has separate discounts for military personnel and veterans.  Highline Park has a favorable military and veteran discount.
13 Oklahoma

up to 25% off up to 25% off Free up to 25% off Free admission to state parks for disabled veterans and up to 25% off for all others.  Proof of status required and/or a DD214 is required.
14 Florida

25% off 25% off Free 25% off The State of Florida provides a 25% discount for all active duty, reservist and national guard and veterans.  Disabled veterans can use the parks at no charge. 
15 North Carolina

up to 20% off up to 20% off Free up to 20% off North Carolina Veterans Park - free. Other military discsounts are on a park by park basis.
16 Alabama

up to 25% off up to 25% off Free Alabama State Parks have frequent discounts and lodging specials for military personnel and veterans.
Search for specials.
17 West Virginia

check for specials
check for specials
Free
up to 10% off Military discounts on lodging for active duty and recently discharged veterans. Find specials
18 Alaska



Free 25% off land Veterans can purchase state land for 25% off off regular prices. Disabled veterans are eligible for a free annual camping pass.
19 Rhode Island

up to 20% off
Free
Active Duty eligible to purchase resident passes at resident rates.  Park entry is free for all 100% disabled veterans
20 Tennessee

up to 25% off up to 25% off up to 50% off up to 25% off ACTIVE DUTY MILITARY and VETERANS - Tennessee State Parks offers a Tennessee Veterans’ Discount for camping within our state parks from November 1 through March 31. The discount is a 15% to 25% reduction off of our standard nightly base rates depending on the type of site chosen.Tennessee State Parks provides a year-round discount to all active duty U.S. military regardless of their branch of service or where they are stationed. Disabled Veterans are eligible for our year-round ADA discount that provides a 25% to 50% discount for campsites. Veterans Day has been designated as Free State Park Day for Tennessee veterans, including complimentary greens fees and night of camping. Tennessee State Parks offers this special discount to veterans annually on Veterans Day.
All Military and Veteran discounts require a proof of prior military duty. Acceptable ID's for proof of eligibility include a VA benefits card, retired military ID, or a DD-214. These are in addition to proof of residency which would simply be a TN driver's license or vehicle registered in Tennessee.
21 Kansas


Free 15% off
State funding has been made available to provide free park vehicle permits to active members of the Kansas National Guard.  Discounts on vehicle fees for disabled veterans are also available.
22 California



Free
No Fee Lifetime Passes are available for disabled veterans and Distinguished Veterans (Congressional Medal of Honor winner or higher)
23 Connecticut




Free
Free park entry for disabled veterans.
24 Indiana



Free
Indiana residents who are former POW's or their surviving spouses are entitled to a free Indiana Golden Hoosier Permit. These are mailed automatically at the beginning of each year. Indiana residents who qualify for a DAV1 or DAV2 license plate, may purchase an Indiana Golden Hoosier Permit regardless of age. Please present a completed form 32584 (Certificate of Eligibility for Veteran License Plates) at the time of purchase.
*DNR Annual Entrance Permits and Golden Hoosier Passports are not valid at Indiana Historic Sites that charge an entrance fee.
**Falls of the Ohio Interpretive Center Entrance Fee: $5.00 per adult every day including holidays, $2.00 per child every day including holidays.
^ The daily entrance fee to Mansfield Mill is $3.00 per adult and $1.00 per child
25 Idaho



Free
Free camping and state park usage for disabled veterans.
26 Massachusetts



Free
Disabled veterans are eligible for a parking fee waiver with veterans plates.
27 Maryland



Free
State park fees are waived for disabled veterans.
28 Missouri



Free
Discounts are available for disabled veterans.
29 Nebraska



Free
Disabled veterans are eligible for fee exempt permits.
30 New Mexico



Free
Free passes for disabled veterans; free use for active duty, reservists, and veterans on  Veterans Day.
31 Ohio




Free
Disabled veterans and POWs can camp free of charge at Ohio's state parks.
32 South Carolina



Free
Provides that any South Carolina resident who is a permanently and totally disabled veteran may enter any state park at a reduced rate upon presentation of supporting disability documentation. The veteran may also apply for a reduced fee “Palmetto Passport.” Certain services may require an additional fee.
33 South Dakota



Free
Free lifetime park pass for disabled veterans
34 Texas



Free
Free for veterans with 60% or more service disability
35 Vermont



Free
Free Green Mountain Pass for entry to state parks for 100% disabled vets.
36 Washington



Free
Free lifetime passes for veterans rated 30% or more disabled.
37 Wisconsin



Free
Disabled veterans and POWs can get a park services fee waiver.
38 Wyoming




Free
Wyoming State Parks & Cultural Resources offers a 50% Disabled Veteran Annual Day Use and Camping Lifetime Permit. You must be a resident of Wyoming for not less than one year and submit a letter from the VBA Regional Office certifying the 50% level of service connected disability of the applicant.
39 Arkansas



50% off
50% off camping at state parks for disabled veterans
40 Georgia
25% off
25% off
25% off for disabled veterans and 25% off for active duty.
41 Utah



50% off
Veterans rated with a 50% or more disability will receive  50% off on park passes.  
42 Kentucky

10% off 10% off Free 10% 10% off state parks. Kentucky State Parks offer scenic trails along with historic sites, elk tours, eagle watching, and nature programs — plus discounts to active and retired servicemembers and veterans. Through the “USA Military Pass” program, lodge rooms are available for $49.95 a night; one-bedroom cottages for $74.95 a night; two-bedroom cottages for $84.95 a night; and three-bedroom cottages for $94.95 a night. Visit www.parks.ky.gov and use the promotional code USA or call
43 Nevada



$1.00 off
Disabled veterans get $1.00 off park entrance
44 North Dakota



$20 discounted pass
Fees waived for vets/active duty on memorial day.  $20 Discounted annual passes for disabled veterans.
45 Montana





Montana state parks are free to use with a $4 registration free on the drivers license.  Non residents pay $25 for an unlimited use fee. The state also has a military appreciation program for individuals to donate items to folks stationed overseas.  There are also discounted passes for disabled seniors 62 or above.
46 Hawaii





None 
47 Iowa





None
48 Louisiana





None
49 Michigan





A general discount called passport perks available to the general public for $10.
50 Mississippi





None

These rankings only examined state park entry fees and did look at discounts for hunting and fishing licenses or discounts for recreational vehicle use.  Our next study will examine these discounts.  If you feel your state should do more, send your state representative this link so they can examine what other states are doing.  You will be surprised at the positive reaction you will receive.

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