If you’ve got lovers of the great outdoors on your holiday list this year, consider the ultimate gifts: a year of free park-going or beach parking.
You can buy an annual beach parking pass to Fort De Soto Park in Pinellas County (3500 Pinellas Bayway S, Tierra Verde) for $75 for one year or $45 for six months, with discounts for seniors, veterans, etc. (Without a pass, parking is $5.) And here’s a bonus: The pass also works at Sand Key Park in Clearwater and Fred Howard Park in Tarpon Springs. To purchase a beach parking pass, you will need the recipient’s name, phone number, address, email address and license plate number. The decal has been replaced with pay-by-plate technology, so passes are now linked to the passholder’s license plate. To get more information or to buy a pass, visit tinyurl.com/mszsrvwn, call 727-582-2100 or stop by the Parks and Conservation Resources office at the Florida Botanical Gardens, 12520 Ulmerton Road, Largo.
Another option along these lines is the Florida State Parks pass. You can purchase a pass locally at the nature center at Honeymoon Island State Park (1 Causeway Blvd., Dunedin). The pass (a laminated card) is good at more than 170 state parks. The individual annual entrance pass costs $60 plus tax, and the family annual entrance pass (up to eight people) costs $120 plus tax. (Some discounts are available.) Without a pass, an individual would pay $4 to enter Honeymoon Island State Park by car. A carload of up to eight people would pay $8. In addition to the nature center in Dunedin, you can buy the Florida State Parks pass online at reserve.floridastateparks.org. (Click on “annual passes” at the top.) For more information, call 850-245-2157 or visit floridastateparks.org.
A few other possibilities that don’t require gift wrap and bows: a membership to AAA (tinyurl.com/3kvxfpue) and a SunPass (available online at sunpass.com and at Walgreens, CVS and other area retailers).