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Working at U.S. National Parks for retirees

Imagine spending a few months seeing this view every day!

Getting a job at a National Park can be a very realistic way to defray  part of your costs while living and enjoying the sights at beautiful locations around America.  Most of the jobs are basic to the hospitality industry: waiter, bartender, front desk clerk, cashier, etc. There are also some behind the scenes jobs such as inventory clerk.  

Keep in mind that the National Park Service is part of the federal government and that you will be applying for a federal government job. To find a job at a National Park go to each individual Park website and click on "Employment Opportunities". 

For a list and maps of all U.S. National Parks, go here.

How to live for almost free

And, you can work as an NPS Volunteer, where your only pay is free housing, most commonly parking space for your RV at no charge.  It can be a great deal of fun! 

These jobs are usually short term, lasting only for as long as the high season. You can, however, move from National Park to National Park and work almost year 'round, if you wish.  

For example, you could work in a gift shop in Yellowstone during summer months, then move onto a job in Arizona or Florida come winter.

Private companies hire many park service workers

The lodges and other hospitality facilities located in most National Parks are operated privately by companies like Xanterra and Delaware North. They hire seasonal workers-- a lot of them. Check their websites for listings. (You may have to drill down a bit in the website to find the employment listings.) 

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Employment at resorts and State Parks

Shore Acres Park Oregon Shore Acres Park in Coos Bay, Oregon is a State Park with many tourist facilities nearby.

You will find similar opportunities at State Parks. There may also be part-time jobs at gift shops and restaurants nearby, but locals may beat you to the jobs.

Working at a resort, especially a glamorous or highly upscale one, may have slightly different requirements.  They may be looking for a certain type of young or elegant person for jobs with public contact. They may also hire more people from the local area.

Be aware that your competition for all these travel-related jobs include students, post-college young people, and immigrants who come into the country on special visas to work in resorts.  

More information about travel jobs for retirees

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