Many of America’s most famous national parks – including major bucket list parks out west, like Grand Teton, Glacier, Yellowstone, and Arches – saw record visitation numbers in 2021. The park system as a whole, however, failed to garner pre-pandemic interest, though recreational visits topped 2020 numbers by 60 million. Here are America’s most visited national parks in 2021.
There are 423 parks, monuments, recreation areas, memorials, and historical sites in the National Park System, but the majority of recreational visitors last year were to just 25 of these sites. Meanwhile, many of the other parks sat largely empty.
To determine the American historic places that no one wants to visit any more, 24/7 Tempo reviewed the National Park Service’s Annual Visitation Reports for 2020 and 2021 and calculated the percent change in recreational visits at each site from 2020 to 2021. We also calculated visitations at each site as a percentage of total park visitations nationwide.
Many of the sites with the highest decreases in visitors are in the South, with two each in Texas and Virginia, four in Georgia, and three in Washington, D.C. The White House, which had the most drastic drop, from 114,519 visitors in 2020 to 14,205 visitors in 2021, was largely closed to the public during 2021 due to the pandemic.
The number of visits declined in 70 parks in 2021 when compared to 2020. In 28 of these parks, the ones listed, visits fell by 15% or more. These include eight parks in which visits dropped by over 50%. Though a few of the parks on the list are recreation areas and national parks, many are memorials, historic parks, battlefields, and monuments. Here are America’s least visited National Parks and Preserves.
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