Visitor Use Data

2023 Visitation At-A-Glance

  • The National Park Service reported 325.5 million recreation visits in calendar year 2023.
    • This is an increase of 13 million recreation visits - or 4% - from 2022.
  • Recreation visitor hours were 1.4 billion – also a 4% increase from 2022.
  • There was a 5% increase in visitors using concession operated lodging, however other statistics related to recreation overnight stays at parks trended slightly downward.
  • 400 of the 428 National Park System units report visitor use.
  • Five new parks began reporting in 2023; this is the first year a park from Delaware is included.
  • 20 parks set a record for annual visits and 15 others passed notable visitation milestones.
  • The recent trend in recreation visits suggests a return to more typical visitation patterns post-pandemic.
    • Except for 2020 and 2021, visitation patterns are becoming similar from year-to-year and are exhibiting more routine variability, much as they did in the decades leading up to the NPS Centennial in 2016.
    • While the patterns and variability are similar to pre-Centennial trends, the overall level of systemwide visitation is now significantly higher.
a colorful donut chart with segments sized to reflect percent totals
Park Unit Type Percent of Total Visits
National Historic Site 2%
National Preserve 2%
Park (Other) 2%
Miscellaneous 5%
National Monument 6%
National Seashore 7%
National Historical Park 8%
National Parkway 10%
National Memorial 13%
National Recreation Area 16%
National Park 28%

Note: Miscellaneous includes those designations under the National Park System but not broken out in this figure: international historic site, national battlefield, national battlefield park, national lakeshore, national military park, national reserve, national river, and national wild & scenic river.

Visitor Use Statistics Dashboard

This dashboard includes simple line chart visualizations for the 11 official visitor use statistics. Visuals can be viewed at the monthly or annual level, and filters can be applied to see data for a specific park or designation. The data span from the most recently reported year back to 1979, the year in which every park unit began reporting monthly data for all 11 statistics. Prior to that time, only annual recreation visits are consistently available.

Visitor Use Statistics Data Portal

The NPS Visitor Use Statistics Program maintains a large data set with annual recreation visit estimates from 1904-1978 and monthly visitation estimates from 1979 to present. Electronic database records for all inputs and outputs have been kept since the early 1990s.

All Visitor Use Statistics data are housed within the Integrated Resource Management Applications (IRMA) Portal. Users can chose from a set of standard reports to view aggregated national level data, or park specific data.

Statistical Abstract

The Statistics Abstract is a PDF document containing a series of tables and figures that display visitor use data for the most recently reported year. By documenting these visits across the National Park System, the National Park Service (NPS) Statistical Abstract offers a historical record of visitor use in parks and provides NPS staff and partners with a useful tool for effective management and planning. This is also a useful tool for academics and researchers in need of references and citations for publications.

The abstract is typically published mid calendar year, so there is a delay of several months between the publishing of a year's numbers and the release of the respective year's Statistical Abstract.

Download the 2022 Statistical Abstract.

Data Limitations and Considerations

There are several ways to access Visitor Use Statistics data. Regardless of how you choose to access the data, it does have its limitations. Please read through the following list prior to using data ensure appropriate usage and interpretation.

Current year data are preliminary and must be thoroughly reviewed by the Social Science Program prior to being considered final. For that reason, most data are available only through last calendar year. If electing to use current year data, please use caution as it may not be complete or controlled for quality.

The way visitor use statistics have been tracked and reported has changed over time. More information related to these shifts is available on the History and Policy page, but here is a quick guide to what data is available for different time periods:

  • 1904-1979 | Annual recreation visits
  • 1979-1992 | Annual and monthly values for the 11 official statistics
  • 1992-Present | Same as previous with addition of park level data inputs used to calculate official statistics.

Parks change their methods for tracking and calculating visitor use stats from time to time. This can result in trend shift in the years following a change.

Park operations and usage by visitors changes over time for most parks. Updating counting methods can take a great deal of time and financial resources for the park, making it challenging to keep measurement systems completely current and accurate.

Parks also must sometimes rely on estimated data due to equipment failures, staffing limitations, and unforeseeable circumstances such as the COVID-19 pandemic and natural disasters.

Depending on the data source, data users may notice slight rounding discrepancies across different reports.

Once the calendar year is over and data for a given year is finalized, no changes to the underlying values can be made. Some parks' data may contain permanent errors. Errors are noted in the Endnotes of the Annual Statistical Abstracts.

Need Help?

If you're still not able to find what you are looking for in the Visitor Use Statistics Data Portal, reach out to the Visitor Use Statistics Staff to inquire.

Last updated: May 16, 2024


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