Javascript is not enabled.

Javascript must be enabled to use this site. Please enable Javascript in your browser and try again.

Skip to content
Content starts here
Leaving Website

You are now leaving and going to a website that is not operated by AARP. A different privacy policy and terms of service will apply.

Need a Job? Head to the Park

Retirees can find work — and enjoyment — in the great outdoors

Bruce and Sara Schundler spend a lot of time at national parks — not as tourists, but as seasonal employees. At $16.90 an hour, the retired couple is living a dream of fresh air and engaging work.

At Cape Hatteras National Seashore in North Carolina, Sara has developed a talk about pirates for visitors. At Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado, Bruce has shared expertise on North American Indian migration.

spinner image Image Alt Attribute

AARP Membership

Join AARP for $12 for your first year when you sign up for Automatic Renewal. Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP The Magazine

Join Now

Punching the clock at one of the country's many national parks, monuments and historic sites can be a great option for retirees and people facing layoffs. It's generally seasonal work, as the park bulks up its staff for peak times of year.

spinner image Great part-time jobs for seniors at national parks- a ranger explains facts about the Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone National Park
National parks offer great part-time jobs for seniors.
Photo by Daniel Hurst/Aurora Photos

The National Park Service and its $1-billion-a-year concession industry rely on thousands of seasonal employees for everything from giving ranger talks about history and nature to manning the entry gates to shuttling employees from housing to work. And that housing — cabins, dormitories, apartments or RV spots – often is a perk that comes with the job.

Nearly a third of the national park workforce is over the age of 50, a "priceless" resource for the agency that protects the nation's most revered places, says Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis.

"Imagine. People with advanced degrees, 30 or more years in careers as engineers, teachers, lawyers, doctors, accountants, fire fighters, police officers, you name it … and they want to work in a national park," Jarvis told AARP. "They provide amazing programs for visitors."

Thousands of park positions don't require experience, especially those with the 497 park concessioners — private contractors operating park services such as restaurants and lodging, river rafting and bus tours.

Work & Jobs

AARP Job Board

Search job opportunities for experienced workers

See more Work & Jobs offers >

Interested? Here are five tips for finding your job at the park:

  • Get started early. The Park Service and concessions companies typically hire six months in advance. You can find listings at and
  • Old hands advise applicants not to apply for just one season, since jobs are posted throughout the year.
  • Consider whether living in your own camper and traveling job-to-job might work for you. Job prospects in parks and elsewhere for camper owners are listed at
  • Keep an eye out for job fairs hosted by resorts or concessionaire companies.

Discover AARP Members Only Access

Join AARP to Continue

Already a Member?