More than 318 million people visited the National Park Service (NPS) sites in 2018, the fourth consecutive year that numbers exceeded 300 million, according to officials with the National Park Service. The 318.2 million recreation visits total is the third highest since record keeping began in 1904.
The National Park Service (NPS) oversees 418 sites covering more than 84 million acres in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. Those 418 sites include the 61 headliner national parks as well as national recreation areas, seashores, parkways, memorials, battlefields, and more.
With more than 15.2 million visitors in 2018, Golden Gate National Recreation Area took the top spot back from the Blue Ridge Parkway, the 2017 leader, which came in second place with 14.7 million visitors last year. The two park sites have been swapping the top and second place slots since 1979, the park service said.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park (11.4 million) came in third place, followed by Gateway National Recreation Area (9.2 million) and the Lincoln Memorial (7.8 million).
The top 10 park sites attracted more than 4 million recreation visits each, including Lake Mead National Recreation Area, George Washington Memorial Parkway, Grand Canyon National Park, Natchez Trace Parkway, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
Among the 61 national parks, Great Smoky Mountains National Park came in first place, followed by Grand Canyon National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Zion National Park, and Yellowstone National Park.
Great Smoky Mountains and Grand Canyon have held the top two spots since 1990.
Most popular National Park Service sites
1. Golden Gate National Recreation Area: 15,223,697 visits
2. Blue Ridge Parkway: 14,690,418 visits
3. Great Smoky Mountains National Park: 11,421,200 visits
4. Gateway National Recreation Area: 9,243,305 visits
5. Lincoln Memorial: 7,804,683 visits
6. Lake Mead National Recreation Area: 7,578,958 visits
7. George Washington Memorial Parkway: 7,288,623 visits
8. Grand Canyon National Park: 6,380,495 visits
9. Natchez Trace Parkway: 6,362,439 visits
10. Vietnam Veterans Memorial: 4,719,148 visits
Most popular National Parks
1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park: 11,421,200 visits
2. Grand Canyon National Park: 6,380,495 visits
3. Rocky Mountain National Park: 4,590,493 visits
4. Zion National Park: 4,320,033 visits
5. Yellowstone National Park: 4,115,000 visits
6. Yosemite National Park: 4,009,436. visits
7. Acadia National Park: 3,537,575 visits
8. Grand Teton National Park: 3,491,151 visits
9. Olympic National Park: 3,104,455 visits
10. Glacier National Park: 2,965,309 visits
National parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.
—Wallace Stegner, 1983