Have you heard about the New York State Empire Pass? Well, I hadn't...until recently. So I thought I'd let you know what I found out.

According to the New York State Government website, the Empire Pass provides year-round affordable outdoor recreation and educational opportunities available at more than 250 state parks, historic sites, boat launches, and nature centers over 350,000 acres in the state.

One of the benefits is that it offers the cardholder unlimited day-use vehicle entry to most New York State Parks, including forests, beaches, trails, and more. They are available in different lengths, including a 1, 3, and 5-season pass, along with a lifetime pass, ranging in cost from $80 for one season to $750 for a lifetime pass.

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To find out where the Empire Pass is accepted, click HERE.

Did you know that might be able to check out an Empire Pass for free? Some library systems across New York State offer them to be checked out to library cardholders. They may be limited in number per library, so it's a first come, first serve deal. For example, according to the Watkins Glen Library Public Library website, they offer 2 Empire Passes available for checkout. The Empire Passes cover the cost of parking for one vehicle and allow a family to visit parks across the state free of charge.

Some libraries offer a one-day checkout, and some, a seven-day checkout of the pass for free. Check with your local library to see if they have Empire Passes available to check out...just like a book, and go explore the beauty of New York State!

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