With incredible diversity and a near-endless supply of things to see and do, US parks and national parks continue to pull in huge numbers of visitors. The latest figures show that there were 237 million visits to these stunning locations in 2020.
This was 90 million down on the previous year when visits topped over 327 million, but the figures were impacted by travel bans, temporary park closures and capping of capacity limits due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Over eight million people stayed overnight in parks and national parks, and three of them – Blue Ridge Parkway, Golden Gate National Recreation Area and Great Smoky Mountains National Park – had more than 10 million recreation visits each. According to the National Park Service, these are the top 10 most visited national parks for 2020.
1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee – 12.1m visitors
2. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming – 3.8m visitors
3. Zion National Park, Utah – 3.6m visitors
4. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado – 3.3m visitors
5. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming – 3.3m visitors
6. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona – 2.9m visitors
7. Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio – 2.8m visitors
8. Acadia National Park, Maine – 2.7m visitors
9. Olympic National Park, Washington – 2.5m visitors
10. Joshua Tree National Park, California – 2.4m visitors
“This past year has reminded us how important national parks and public lands are to overall wellbeing,” says NPS deputy director, Shawn Benge. “Throughout the country, national parks provided close-to-home opportunities for people to spend much needed time outdoors for their physical and psychological health.”
Further information on visitation numbers can be found on the National Park Service’s website here.