This series will focus on Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) at our Virginia State Parks. Part 5 asks the question which is one of the most asked questions we get at the Camping and RV shows is: “Why isn’t there a senior discount for camping?”
Campground B at Chippokes Plantation State Park
Campground A at Hungry Mother State Park
Cove View Campground at Natural Tunnel State Park
James River State Park Bathhouse
Nancy Heltman, Visitor Services Manager explains:
"Senior discounts were developed in the private sector as a tool for attracting new business. It was a marketing ploy that has been successful in many areas. In the public sector, our goal is to treat all of our visitors and state residents equally. There is a real issue of fairness as to whether one demographic group or another should be entitled to a discount for services provided by the government. Should a young family pay more to camp than a senior citizen? Should that young family pay less because they take grandma along camping with them? Additionally, because we rely on our fees to operate our parks and campgrounds, there is a very real possibility that providing discounts for some segments of the population would mean we would have to raise fees to offset that loss in revenue. Yes, our budget is that tight."
However, here is a tip for our senior campers. "We do offer periodic discounts for our facilities that are underutilized and seniors benefit in the sense that camping during the week outside of the summer season is one of those underutilized times. Seniors are usually able to take advantage of during the week discounts." For a link to the current 20% discount for weekday camping good through the end of the season, click here. The coupon has a code that can be used on line or over the phone in the call center. "Annual pass holders also get a 10% camping discount (see details below). Seniors do get a discount on our annual passes."
- Campsite and pet fees waived for the duration of the host's assignment
- Free or reduced fees for usage of park offerings, including boating, swimming and rentals, in certain parks. (Check with park staff: - not all sites offer this benefit.)
- Hosts are eligible for seven nights of camping after completing one 30-day assignment. Hosts who complete two or more 30-day assignments in the same season are eligible for 14 nights of camping or seven nights in a cabin. The cabin benefit is offered only to hosts who serve two or more months in one season. Cabin benefits must be claimed during off-season.
- We use the terms assignments and seasons and not years because in some parks, hosts work in two calendar years on one assignment. For example, (A volunteer may host from Nov. 7, 2008, through Jan. 30, 2009, which would count as one assignment.)
- Camping and cabin benefits earned must be used prior to Memorial Day weekend or after Labor Day. They cannot be used during prime season.
- Benefits earned are subject to availability of the given facility.
- Benefits earned are for the use of the host only and must be used in their entirety in one reservation (or, in the case of camping, seven-night increments). Any portion of a week used counts as the use of a seven-night benefit.
Learn more here (host responsibilities, and specific park information).
VIRGINIA STATE PARKS IS ALL ABOUT FAMILY - FRIENDS - FUN!