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Save Money on a Texas State Parks Pass!

Save Money on a Texas State Parks Pass!

A visit to the park is like a natural therapy session. Nature has this incredible way of calming our minds and soothing our souls. When you’re surrounded by trees, flowers, and open sky, it’s like all the stress and worries just melt away.  

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Visiting the park also helps improve physical health. For example, walking gets your blood flowing, delivering oxygen to your muscles and brain. This helps you feel energetic. Plus, it’s a nice break from sitting around all day, especially when you’re a senior. 

While going to parks is therapeutic, sometimes, you may not be able to afford such leisure. The good news is that you may be eligible for a free/discounted Texas state park pass. Want to know how? Keep reading. 

Texas State Parks Discounts

The Texas State Parks pass is already an effective way to save on park visits. But there are ways to get a free or discounted pass. These benefits are not available for everyone; there are 6 ways to potentially qualify for a complimentary pass. 

Get 50% Off with a Disability Passport

You can get a Disability Passport if you’re medically disabled. This pass grants you and your companion a 50% discount on entry fees, rounded up to the nearest whole dollar. 

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The entry fee for parks in Texas is usually between $2 to $8 per person. So, if you’re visiting a park that charges $3 for entry, with your Disability Passport, you and your partner are allowed to pay $2 each (that is $1.5 rounded up to $2). 

To get a Disability Passport, you must present a photo identification like your driver’s license and at least one of the following:

  • A vehicle registration number that shows that you received a disability license plate in the past year
  • A signed statement from a licensed medical professional confirming mental/physical impairment that restricts at least one major life activity
  • A Statement of Benefits (or Award of Benefits Letter) issued by the Social Security Administration indicating permanent disability status
  • A blue disability placard (indicating permanent disability) obtained by the applicant within the last four years

When you get the Disability Passport, you must renew it yearly to keep enjoying the benefits.

Pay $0 as a Disabled Veteran

Are you a U.S., veteran with at least 60% service-connected disability? Guess what? You may be eligible for a Disabled Veterans Passport, which grants free entry to Texas state parks. In other words, you can save every penny and enjoy nature for free. 

This benefit also applies to U.S. veterans who have lost a lower extremity. Your companion also gets free entry. You can get the Disabled Veterans Passport when you provide a valid photo identification and any of the following:

  • VA award letter
  • Disabled Veterans of Texas license plate receipt
  • Tax exemption letter for Texas veterans

You don’t need to renew your passport every year. 

Get Up to 50% Discount If You’re a Senior

You may qualify for the Senior Partial Passport if you’re a senior (at least 65 years old) residing in Texas. This passport grants you 50% off the entry fee to Texas state parks, rounded to the nearest whole dollar. This means that for a park that charges $5, you get to pay $3 — that is, $2.5 rounded to the nearest whole dollar. The same benefit applies to your companion. 

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You can secure the passport if you can provide one or more of the following:

  • Birth certificate
  • Military discharge papers
  • Drivers license
  • Other documents that confirm your age, address, and identity

There’s also a Senior Full Passport available to Texas residents born before September 1st, 1930. This passport grants eligible seniors free access to any Texas state park. You’ll also need to provide one or more of the items listed above to get a Senior Full Passport. 

Gain Free Entry as an Active Duty Service Member

If you’re currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, you can get an Active Duty Passport, which gives you free entry to any Texas state park. This benefit applies to active duty service members in the U.S. Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Marines, Air Force, Space Force, and Reserve and National Guard members. 

If you’re eligible for the passport, you must provide the following to get it:

  • Photo identification like your driver’s license, and
  • Proof of active duty service issued by the U.S. Department of Defense

Unlike some of the other passports we’ve discussed, the Active Duty Passport does not cover a companion of the passport holder. So, if you’re an active passport holder going to a park with someone else, they’ll need their own Texas state parks pass.

Get Free Access as an Honorably Discharged Veterans

Eligible Texas Veterans can get free entry to Texas state parks with a Veteran Passport. To qualify for this passport, you must have been honorably discharged from the U.S. Armed Forces. Then you must present a valid photo identification and any of the following items to get the passport.

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  • Military discharge papers
  • Veteran’s identification card issued by the U.S. Department of Defense
  • VA-issued veteran’s health identification card
  • State-issued driver’s license or identification card with a U.S. military designation

The Veteran passport only covers the passport holder. 

Obtain the Gold Star Passport, Get Free Entry to Texas Parklands

The Gold Star passport is available to a spouse, child, parent, stepparent, sibling, or stepsibling of someone who died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. 

The passport offers free entry to Texas state parks and its benefit applies only to the passport holder. So, if you’re an eligible family member, you must apply for your passport. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Valid photo identification such as a driver’s license, state ID, tribal card, or a passport.
  • Serviceperson’s proof of casualty like a written record of fatality by the U.S. Department of Defense/national archives, or a report of casualty
  • Proof of relationship to the deceased such as marriage certificate, birth certificate, court order, dependent identification card, or unexpired U.S. military-issued spouse

About the Texas State Parks Pass

The Texas state parks pass is a special permit that grants holders free entry to over 80 parks in Texas. The pass costs $70 a year and comes with extra benefits. It’s an efficient way to save money on park visits if you’re an outdoor enthusiast. 

There are several perks to getting a Texas State Parks pass. They include:

  1. Free entry to state parks for one year, which applies to your same-vehicle guests provided that you’re present
  2. Camping discounts; you get 50% off the price for the second night when you spend two or more consecutive nights in the same campsite. Note that this benefit can be revoked if they suspect you’re abusing it
  3. State park store discounts; you can get up to 10% discounts on some rental items available at a park store

With your park pass, you can get another pass for only $25. But it must be for someone who lives with you. You’ll also get frequent email updates to keep you informed about the latest park news, events, and activities. Additionally, some parks may offer discounts on events and activities to Texas State Parks pass holders. 

Relief Recap

The Texas state parks pass has been an effective way to help people residing in Texas enjoy frequent visits to parks without breaking the bank. The initiative further offers other ways for certain individuals to save even more on park visits. From the Senior Partial passport to the Gold Star passport, eligible residents can enjoy free or discounted visits to the park whenever they please. Don’t forget to get your discounted National Parks pass too!