In 2010, roughly 280 million visitors explored America's national parks [source: NPS]. Maintaining those parks and helping visitors get the most out of their experience is a big job, which explains why the National Park Service employs more than 20,000 people (not to mention the 200,000-plus volunteers) to run the parks [source: NPS]. For retirees who love people and the great outdoors but aren't in the mood to brave treacherous terrain, being a park guide might be the ticket.
Unlike park rangers, who are sometimes pulled into physically demanding jobs like aiding search-and-rescue missions and fighting fires, park guides typically act as liaisons to national parks. They might work in the visitors center answering questions about the park, make presentations to guests or help with ticketing and safety compliance. The job is perfect for retirees who are comfortable with public speaking and ready to become walking encyclopedias about the park they work in.
Even better, candidates won't need a specific degree or extensive experience to land the position, though retirees interested in promotions might need to take related classes or demonstrate experience with public speaking. Best of all, applicants can get a feel for working in national parks by volunteering first. Pay for beginning park guides started at around $10 per hour for the 2009 season [source: NPS].