National Park Service visitation tops 318 million in 2018

Groups of visitors at an overlook over the Grand Canyon

NPS Photo

News Release Date: March 5, 2019

Contact: newsmedia@nps.gov

WASHINGTON - Visitation to America’s national parks in 2018 exceeded 300 million recreation visits for the fourth consecutive year. The 318.2 million recreation visits total is the third highest since record keeping began in 1904.

“America’s national parks are national treasures that tell the story of our nation and celebrate its beauty, history and culture,” said Acting Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt. “I am pleased that so many Americans and visitors from around the world continue to take advantage of the affordable and accessible recreational opportunities provided by these sites.”

“The visitation to our national parks continues to affirm that Americans are in love with their public lands and hold dear the stories of our nation embodied in the natural, cultural and historic landscapes we protect in the National Park System,” National Park Service Deputy Director Dan Smith said.

The 418 national parks throughout the country provide a vast array of opportunities for recreation and inspiration for visitors of all ages. With at least one located in every state, national parks are easily accessible and affordable destinations. In the past five years there have been about 1.6 billion recreational visits to national parks.

In 2018, Golden Gate National Recreation Area reclaimed the top spot for highest visitation in the National Park System from the Blue Ridge Parkway. These two parks have been trading places at one and two since 1979. In the national parks category, Great Smoky Mountains National Park (11.4 million) and Grand Canyon National Park (6.4 million) continue to hold the top two spots, as they have since 1990.

For an in-depth look at 2018 visitation, including individual park figures, please visit the NPS Social Science web site.

A look at the numbers:

By The Numbers around the National Park System

  • 318,211,833 recreation visits (385 of 418 parks report visitation figures)

  • 1,401,420,191 recreation visitor hours

  • 13,950,759 overnight stays

  • 28 parks set a new record for visitation (about 7% of reporting parks)

  • 17 parks broke a record they set in 2017

  • 3 parks had over 10 million recreation visits – Blue Ridge Parkway, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and Great Smoky Mountains National Park

  • 9 parks had over 5 million recreation visits

  • 77 parks had over 1 million recreation visits (about 20% of reporting parks)


Top 10 - All Parks in the National Park System                   
Golden Gate National Recreation Area – 15,223,697                                   
Blue Ridge Parkway – 14,690,418                            
Great Smoky Mountains National Park – 11,421,200                       
Gateway National Recreation Area – 9,243,305                               
Lincoln Memorial – 7,804,683                                              
Lake Mead National Recreation Area – 7,578,958                           
George Washington Memorial Parkway – 7,288,623           
Grand Canyon National Park – 6,380,495                             
Natchez Trace Parkway – 6,362,439                                     
Vietnam Veterans Memorial – 4,719,148                 

Top 10 - National Parks
Great Smoky Mountains National Park - 11,421,200
Grand Canyon National Park - 6,380,495
Rocky Mountain National Park - 4,590,493
Zion National Park - 4,320,033
Yellowstone National Park - 4,115,000
Yosemite National Park - 4,009,436
Acadia National Park - 3,537,575
Grand Teton National Park - 3,491,151
Olympic National Park - 3,104,455
Glacier National Park - 2,965,309


Parks that passed notable annual recreation visit milestones:
Keweenaw National Historical Park - 20,000
Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument - 30,000
Big Thicket National Preserve - 200,000
Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park - 200,000
Petroglyph National Monument - 250,000
Nez Perce National Historical Park - 300,000
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore - 800,000
Death Valley National Park - 1.5 million


Parks that passed notable accumulated visitation milestones:
Bering Land Bridge National Preserve - passed 50,000 total visits (1998-2018)
Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers Natl Monument - passed 50,000 total visits (2015-2018)
Keweenaw National Historical Park - passed 50,000 total visits (2016-2018)
Weir Farm National Historic Site - passed 500,000 total visits (1993-2018)
William Howard Taft National Historic Site - passed 500,000 total visits (1972-2018
Niobrara National Scenic River - passed 1 million total visits (2004-2018
Adams National Historical Park - passed 5 million total visits (1947 to 2018)
Whitman Mission National Historic Site - passed 5 million total visits (1941 to 2018)
Christiansted National Historic Site - passed 5 million total visits (1956 to 2018)
Governors Island National Monument - passed 5 million total visits (2003 to 2018)
Boston African American National Historic Site - passed 10 million total visits (1989 to 2018)
Lewis and Clark National Historical Park - passed 10 million total visits (1961 to 2018)
Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park - passed 10 million total visits (1970 to 2018)
Nez Perce National Historical Park - passed 10 million total visits (1968 to 2018)
Scotts Bluff National Monument - passed 10 million total visits (1920 to 2018)
Minute Man National Historical Park - passed 50 million total visits (1964 to 2018)


Parks that broke visitation records (previous record year in parentheses):
Arches National Park (2016)
Big Thicket National Preserve (2016)
Bryce Canyon National Park (2017)
Capitol Reef National Park (2017)
Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument (2017)
City of Rocks National Reserve (2017)
Death Valley National Park (2016)
Fort Vancouver National Historic Site (2016)
Friendship Hill National Historic Site (2017)
Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument (2017)
Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve (2015)
Grand Canyon National Park (2017)
Grand Teton National Park (1970)
Great Smoky Mountains National Park (2017)
Joshua Tree National Park (2017)
Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park (2017)
Keweenaw National Historical Park (2017)
Longfellow National Historic Site (2008)
Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park (2016)
Mojave National Preserve (2017)
Nez Perce National Historical Park (2013)
Petroglyph National Monument (2017)
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (2017)
River Raisin National Battlefield Park (2017)
Rocky Mountain National Park (2016)
Saint Paul’s Church National Historic Site (2017)
Waco Mammoth National Monument (2017)
Walnut Canyon National Monument (1993)

 

www.nps.gov


About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 418 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at www.nps.gov, on Facebook www.facebook.com/nationalparkservice, Twitter www.twitter.com/natlparkservice, and YouTube www.youtube.com/nationalparkservice



Last updated: March 8, 2019

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