Special Report

America's Favorite Destinations Managed by the Government

About 312 million people visited America’s national parks, memorials, and historic sites in 2022 – a 5% increase from the previous year, which signifies a return toward pre-pandemic numbers, according to the National Park Service. Although the NPS offers 424 sites across the nation, over a quarter of 2022 park visits occurred at just eight of the most popular ones. (Read about the largest and smallest national parks in America.)

To identify America’s favorite destinations managed by the government in 2022, 24/7 Tempo reviewed the record of last year’s recreational visits published in the National Park Service’s annual visitation report, as well as National Park data for visits in 2021.  

Click here to see America’s favorite destinations managed by the government

Some of the best-known parks out West like Yellowstone and Yosemite accounted for just over 1% of park visits, while Eastern destinations including Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway pulled in 4.15% and 5.04% of visits, respectively. Several parkways, where visitors can view sites from the comfort of their vehicles with scenic overlooks and occasional nature trails for stretching the legs, are among the most visited government-managed sites.

Other parks that saw the most visitors include those near populous urban areas, like the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in San Francisco, the Gateway National Recreation Area in New York and New Jersey, and the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. (These are the most popular states for national park visits.)

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