The Ten Most Visited National Park Sites of 2019

Since its creation in 1916, the National Park Service has protected the ecological and historical integrity of our parks, allowing generations to enjoy the outdoors. In 2019, national park sites received over 327.5 million recreation visits – up 9 million visits (2.9%) from 2018. Here is a list of the 10 most visited sites of last year.

1. Golden Gate National Recreation Area, CA

1. Golden Gate National Recreation Area, CA

This iconic structure connecting the city of San Francisco to Marin County, CA spans almost two miles across the San Francisco Bay. Whether you want to make a quick stop at a vista point or enjoy picturesque trails, this is the world's largest national park unit in an urban area and attracted 15 million visitors in 2019.
2. Blue Ridge Parkway, NC & VA

2. Blue Ridge Parkway, NC & VA

The parkway, which is America's longest linear park, runs for 469 miles through 29 Virginia and North Carolina counties, linking Shenandoah National Park to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. In 2019, a record 14.9 million visitors enjoyed the park. While on the parkway, be sure to stop and climb to the top of North Carolina's Mount Mitchell, the highest point of the Appalachian Mountain chain.
3. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, NC & TN

3. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, NC & TN

The Great Smoky Mountains is a mustsee stop for outdoor lovers. The park has an abundance of wildflowers and wildlife, and offers stunning waterfalls. The beauty of its ancient mountains and the remnants of Southern Appalachian mountain culture are why this park had over 12 million visitors in 2019 alone.
4. Gateway National Recreation Area, NY & NJ

4. Gateway National Recreation Area, NY & NJ

Located in the largest metropolitan area in the United States, Gateway National Recreation Area was established in New York City and New Jersey to bring national parks closer to people in cities. With an open invitation to hike, bike, fish, camp, or swim in the summer, millions of people visit Gateway every year to enjoy the tranquility of nature and outdoor recreation. In 2019, the park welcomed 9.4 million visitors.
5. Lincoln Memorial, DC

5. Lincoln Memorial, DC

The inspiring Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. is one of America's most revered national monuments. Overlooking the National Mall, the memorial celebrates the 16th president who led the United States through the Civil War, kept the country united, and abolished slavery. In 2019, 7.8 million people visited the memorial.
6. George Washington Memorial Parkway, VA

6. George Washington Memorial Parkway, VA

Built during the early 1930s for scenic driving, this New Deal-era work project became one of the first high-speed roadways for automobiles in the United States. Its adjacent trails offer great opportunities for runners and cyclist looking to get out of the city. 7.5 million people visited the parkway in 2019.
7. Lake Mead National Recreation Area, NV

7. Lake Mead National Recreation Area, NV

Located on the Colorado River approximately 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas, Lake Mead is in high demand during the warmer months. This popular destination is fantastic for boating, swimming and weekend camping. It is no surprise that nearly 7.5 million people visited in 2019.
8. Natchez Trace Parkway, TN, AL & MS

8. Natchez Trace Parkway, TN, AL & MS

This National Scenic Parkway has an abundance of natural scenery and historic sites to visit. It stretches out for a long 444 miles from the foothills of Nashville, TN to the salt marshes of Natchez, MS. Last year, the parkway welcomed 6.3 million visitors to experience the sites.
9. Grand Canyon National Park, AZ

9. Grand Canyon National Park, AZ

Perhaps one of the most iconic landmarks in America, there are many ways that you can experience the natural beauty of this popular place. Whether it is a walk along the rim, touring the viewpoints by bike, or hiking below the rim, the Grand Canyon is a must-see. In 2019, the park welcomed 5.9 million visitors from all over the world.
10. Gulf Islands National Seashore, FL & AL

10. Gulf Islands National Seashore, FL & AL

This remarkable seashore offers clear emerald water, sparkling soft sand, historic forts, and natural habitats for wildlife. Located on the barrier islands of northern Florida and Alabama, the park allows visitors to enjoy beautiful beaches and take part in activities such as biking, hiking, fishing, and swimming. In 2019, 5.6 million people visited the seashore.

Photos: NPS