The Most Popular National Park in the U.S. Is a Spectacular Road Trip Destination
America’s National Parks offer you a chance to get up close to the great outdoors as you explore everything from hikes leading to hidden waterfalls to soaring sand dunes, but knowing which park to pick can be tough.
The NPS saw a total of close to 331 million visits across its parks last year, with the top three parks bringing in over 42 million visits alone.
The Blue Ridge Parkway, which takes visitors on a scenic drive along some 469 miles of the Appalachian Highlands, took the top spot for 2017, attracting slightly over 16 million visits.
Blue Ridge beat out the most-visited park in 2016, California’s Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which came in at second place with a total of close to 15 million annual visits. The national recreation area is home to 19 different ecosystems that visitors can explore along the San Francisco Bay Area. Great Smoky Mountains National Park came in at third place, with the park receiving some 11.4 million visits last year.
Below is the full list of the top 10 parks.
10 Most Popular Locations, by visits
1. Blue Ridge Parkway — 16,093,765
2. Golden Gate National Recreation Area — 14,981,897
3. Great Smoky Mountains National Park — 11,388,893
4. Gateway National Recreation Area — 9,190,610
5. Lincoln Memorial — 7,956,117
6. Lake Mead National Recreation Area — 7,882,339
7. George Washington Memorial Parkway — 7,562,793
8. Natchez Trace Parkway — 6,326,238
9. Grand Canyon National Park — 6,254,238
10. Vietnam Veterans Memorial — 5,072,589