There is a perfect national park for every adventurous person. Whether you just want to drive your car to a bison herd, embark on a hiking journey, or visit the desert, there is a national park for everybody, filled with scenic drives, miles of hiking trails, wildlife, historic sites, and many opportunities for adventure. Let’s go through the top 10 most visited national parks in the US.
It is also best to get a USA tourist SIM card while going on your trip to be able to communicate with your loved ones at very low rates.
With about 12.1 million visitors annually, the Great Smoky Mountains has been the most-visited U.S. national park for many years in a row. The park set another record in 2021 when 14.1 million people visited the park which once again makes it qualify as America’s most-visited national park.
The park is every hiker’s dream with mountainous a landscape for an outdoor adventure and has more than 800 miles of hiking trails. It gets many tourists arriving for recreation or sightseeing. Another reason the park receives so many visitors is that it is an easy drive from Atlanta, Charlotte, Asheville, Knoxville, Nashville, and Washington, D.C. The best time to visit the park is during Summer, between June to August.
Further reading: Best places to visit in Summer
Known for rock climbing, river trips, and trails, Zion National Park is home to the 15-mile-long Zion Canyon. About 5 million people visit the park annually to view its unique beauty and admire the diverse wildlife in the region.
Zion National Park has high-altitude forests and desert plateaus sprawling throughout the region and has more flowers than anywhere else in Utah. The park’s most popular hiking trails are the Narrows and Angels Landing. Apart from hiking and camping, visitors can go horseback riding, join a tour, and much more. The best time to visit the park is in the late Fall and even Winter.
Further reading: Best places to visit during the Winter
Known as the first national park in the world, Yellowstone National Park frequently makes the best national parks in the USA. It has many geological features you’ll find nowhere else on Earth, such as colorful hot springs, herds of bison and elk, geysers and bubbling mud pits, waterfalls and canyons, and the largest high-elevation lake in North America.
With about 4.9 million visitors annually, this makes it the 3rd most visited national park in the USA. Yellowstone National Park spreads across three states (Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming). The park is spectacular and magical and is mostly known for the abundant wildlife of bears, moose, lions, and many more. The best time to visit the park is during Summer and early Fall.
Located on the ancestral homeland of 11 Associated Tribes, Grand Canyon National Park is home to one of the most iconic landscapes in the United States. It is most popular for its interesting views, and amazing hiking trails, and it makes a great road trip destination. The national park is also one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
The park receives about 4.5 million visitors annually to take in the views and enjoy a bit of outdoor recreation in the desert. The park is also famous for its hiking, backpacking, and, due to the magnificent vistas, photography, and sightseeing. There are also interesting things to do at the park, such as watching the sunset, hiking below the rim on the Bright Angel or South Kaibab Trail, rafting the Colorado River, taking a flightseeing tour, and many more. The best time to visit is between April and June.
Rocky Mountain National Park is known for its 355 miles of hiking trails and is home to 76 mountains, each of which is more than 10,000 feet high. The park receives about 4.4 million visitors annually to experience the park’s amazing features.
The two popular activities for a rewarding view of the park are Mountaineering and rock climbing, and you can also ride along Trail Ridge Road which is a scenic drive on the country’s highest paved road. The park is also home to an amazing diversity of wildlife such as elk, moose, bighorn sheep, beaver, deer, black bear, eagles, marmots, mountain lions, and many more. The best time to visit the park is during the Fall.
Acadia National Park is the oldest national park east of the Mississippi and the biggest tourist attraction in Maine. The park is nicknamed the “Crown Jewel of the North Atlantic Coast,” and has amazing views such as Somes Sound, Frenchman Bay, Jordan Pond, and Cadillac Mountain. It has 125 miles of dog-friendly hiking trails, that lead to some of the best viewpoints of the park.
Number of visitors: About 4 million annually, making Acadia the 6th most visited national park
When to go: Go in mid-October for fall colors and experiences.
Things to do: Hike the Precipice Trail, take boat cruises, dine on lobster, and explore the lovely coastal town of Bar Harbor.
Located in Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park is home to 310,000 acres of valley floors, mountain meadows, alpine lakes, and peaks of the Teton Range. The park has about 3.4 million visitors annually and is well known for its hiking, backcountry exploring, climbing, and mountaineering opportunities.
The Grand Teton has many beautiful features visitors would enjoy exploring such as the spectacular Teton mountains, the winding Snake River, Beautiful lakes and valleys, and the best wildlife opportunities. September is the best time to visit Grand Teton National Park as the air is cooler and the roads are still open.
Further reading: Best places to visit in September
Known as One of California’s most-visited national parks, Yosemite national park is one of the best national parks in the USA to visit. The park stands out for its amazing waterfalls, such as Vernal Fall and Bridalveil Fall, as well as unique granite rock formations like Half Dome and El Capitan.
Number of visitors: About 3.3 million annually, making it the 8th most visited national park.
When to go: The best time to visit Yosemite is from mid-May through November which is when all of the park roads are open.
Things to do: Hike to the top of Half Dome, which is a 17 miles round trip with 5,500 feet of elevation gain.
Further reading: Top 10 biggest US national parks
Located in the southwest corner of Lake Michigan in northeast Indiana, Indiana Dunes National Park is made up of fifty miles of sand dunes, wetlands, rivers, and forests. With about 3.2 million visitors annually, visitors can explore amazing features at the park such as 15 miles of sandy beach as well as 50 miles of trails through wetlands, prairies, rivers, and forests.
The park is one of America’s newest parks which has something for every visitor to experience. With over 15,000 acres, visitors can take part in activities such as hiking sand dunes, kayaking on the lake, birdwatching, and many more. April through October is the best time to visit the park.
Glacier National Park is located in Alaska in the far east, while the northern part of the park alone covers more than three hundred glaciers, which is the highest for a US national park. The park has interesting ecosystems that range from tundra to hemlock forests, and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as a Biosphere Reserve. It has about 3.1 million visitors annually.
The park has many different animals and is most popular as a cruise destination where people take in the natural beauty such as mountain peaks, lakes, narrow trails, and many more. The National Park is also a great location to take part in activities like rafting, hiking, and birdwatching, and if you are lucky, you can get to see grizzly bears, wolverines, wolves, and osprey.
1. What is the least visited national park in the United States?
Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve in Alaska is the least-visited US national park.
2. What is the most famous national park in the US?
The most famous national park in the US is Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
3. How many national parks in the United States have UNESCO World Heritage status?
Currently, there are 24 World Heritage Sites within the United States.
4. Under which US executive department does the national park service fall?
The National Park Service is a bureau of the Department of the Interior.