If a trip to Florida is in your future and you are an honorably discharged veteran, then the good folks at Florida State Parks have a money-saving deal for you. All veterans – no matter when they served – get a 25% discount on a Florida State Parks Individual Annual Pass or a Family Annual Pass; while veterans with a service-connected disability are eligible to receive a free lifetime Military Entrance Pass (which offers the same benefits as the Family Annual Pass).
The Individual Annual Pass is valid for the cardholder only at parks that charge a per-person admission fee, while the Family Annual Pass is good for up to eight people, except at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park and Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, where it’s good for just two people. Since those latter two parks are on our itinerary (and admission prices are $13 per person) we chose the Family Annual Pass.
The military passes aren’t available by mail, but they are super easy to obtain at any state park entrance. Just show the ranger your DD 214 form, or proof of your service-connected disability, and you’re good to go. The Family Annual Pass is priced at $96.75, and since we plan to visit at least 15 to 16 Florida State Parks, it will save us a nice chunk of change. And the fact that Charles served in Vietnam, instead of a more recent conflict, didn’t even phase the ranger.
So do the math and figure out if a discounted Family Annual Pass or Individual Annual Pass make sense for you. Then pack along the required documentation and get ready to enjoy the Sunshine State’s beautiful and diverse parks.