With incredible diversity and a near-endless supply of things to see and do, US national parks continue to pull in record numbers of visitors from within the country and around the world. Last year, the national parks system once again broke its record for the highest number of visits, for the third year in a row. There were 331 million recreational visits to parks in 2016, up 23.7 million visitors from 2015.
But naturally, not all parks manage to draw the same numbers of eager travellers. So according to the US Department of the Interior, these are the top 10 most visited national parks, by visitation numbers.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, Tennessee – 11,312,786
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona – 5,969,811
Yosemite National Park, California – 5,028,868
Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park, Colorado – 4,517,585
Zion National Park, Springdale, Utah – 4,295,127
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming – 4,257,177
Olympic National Park, Port Angeles, Washington – 3,390,221
Acadia National Park, Bay Harbor, Maine – 3,303,393
Grand Teton National Park, Moose, Wyoming – 3,270,076
Glacier National Park, West Glacier, Montana – 2,946,681
When it comes to all parks within the national park system as a whole – which includes national monuments and recreation areas – the most visited sites are: Golden Gate National Recreation Area, California; Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina; Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee; George Washington Memorial Parkway, Virginia; Gateway National Recreation Area, New York; Lincoln Memorial, Washington DC; Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada; Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona; Natchez Trace Parkway; Mississippi; and Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial, Washington DC.
Half of all visits to national parks were in just 26 of the hundreds of parks around the country. But the National Parks Service notes that visitation grew more than 10% in parks that see “more modest” annual visitation. Eighty parks around the country had more than one million visits.
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