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7 Things You Can Get for Free as a Veteran

Here's where those who have served in the military can skip paying.

It's not uncommon for major retailers to offer a military discount as a show of appreciation for all those who have served in the armed forces. But in some cases, businesses offer items from services to meals completely free of charge to their veteran guests. We've rounded up some of the best offers that could help you save some money for your time in the service. Read on for seven things you can get for free as a veteran and how to score those perks.

RELATED: 5 Stores That Offer a Senior Discount—And When to Shop Them.

Entrance to the National Parks

national park service sign
Logan Bush / Shutterstock

The National Park Service (NPS) is arguably one of our greatest national treasures, providing relatively easy access to nature and protecting it for future generations. But while, the general public typically has to pay a fee to enter their sites on most days of the year, veterans can gain access without paying anything.

According to the NPS website, Gold Star Families and U.S. military veterans are eligible for a lifetime military pass covering more than 2,000 federal recreation areas, including national parks, wildlife refuges, and forests. Eligibility covers "an individual who has served in the US Armed Forces, including the National Guard and Reserves," as well as families who have lost a loved one in war. Veterans can receive the pass by presenting military ID when arriving.

Still in the service? Active members can apply for a military annual pass by visiting the NPS website.

Tax Preparation

hand of Accountant calculate tax return and work at home

Getting your documents in order to file for taxes every year can be costly, both in time and money. However, members of the armed services could save on this annual expense thanks to a free service.

Those leaving the military have access to Military OneSource, a program that provides free tax preparation and consultation for veterans and their immediate families for the 365 days following their retirement. The online software allows returning service members and other eligible individuals to file federal returns and up to three different state returns free of charge.

The program also provides consultants who can help with questions about multi-state filing, combat pay, and specific questions related to deployment. They can also provide information on military-specific tax deductions and credits.

RELATED: 8 Things Lowe's Shoppers Don't Realize They Can Get for Free.

Amusement Park Tickets

Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay Florida
VIAVAL TOURS/Shutterstock

There's nothing like a day of riding roller coasters and other thrill rides. Planning on enjoying a special outing with friends and family? You could save some money if you're a veteran.

Active service members and those who have previously served can get free access to several big-name theme parks across the U.S., including Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Sesame Place, Dollywood, and more, according to

In some cases, the deals also include free admission for up to three accompanying friends and family members—but they can also be limited to use once a year. Just be sure to check the details before you arrive.

Museum Tickets

world of coca cola in atlanta georgia

Whether you're visiting a new city or getting to know your own a little better, a museum visit is an engaging way to spend the day. And veterans could be getting the experience for free.

Current and past service members have access to a number of museums across the U.S. covering a wide range of topics. They include the Autry Museum in Los Angeles, the World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City, and the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, according to In most cases, you'll simply need to show the appropriate military ID.

Historic Site Entry

Street in Colonial Williamsburg
Khairil Azhar Junos/Shutterstock

While we can't relive the past, one of the best ways to learn about history is to come face to face with the places where they actually happened. Fortunately, veterans can do this for free at a number of places.

According to, active and retired service and reserve members won't be charged at Historic Jamestowne and the USS Midway Museum, while those visiting Colonial Williamsburg can enter for free on Memorial Day and Veterans Day weekends.

RELATED: 10 Stores That Give You Free Stuff on Your Birthday.


The exterior of a Denny's restaurant
JHVEPhoto / Shutterstock

It's not uncommon for restaurants to offer veterans discounts, but a few go above and beyond by offering an all-out free meal. One of them is Denny's, which will serve up a complimentary Grand Slam breakfast to past and present service members every year on Veterans Day. Guests just need to show a valid military ID to partake in the deal.

Other major chains have also taken part in similar shows of appreciation. Last year, Starbucks provided free coffee to active and retired service members on Veterans Day.

Prescription Drug Card

woman using mobile phone searching information and reading medicine label and prescription medications

As many are a necessary expense, access to cheaper medications can make a massive impact on your budget. People who have served in the military might be able to save some money, thanks to a free benefit.

According to, veterans are eligible to receive a VeteranRX card. This service allows access to discounts of up to 80 percent at more than 35,000 pharmacies nationwide. It also covers family members and pet medications, and there are no annual or lifetime limits to how much you can use your membership.

Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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