Top 10 most visited US national parks and memorials

The Blue Ridge Parkway, Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Lincoln Memorial are among the 10 most visited U.S. National Park Service sites in 2023.

It was a busy year for the U.S. National Park Service in 2023, as recently released data shows a significant jump in visitation over what was reported in 2022.

The National Park Service (NPS) reported a whopping 325.5 million recreation visits last year, which is an increase of 13 million, or 4%, from 2022.


And it wasn’t just the number of people visiting NPS sites across the U.S. last year. The time spent admiring the more than 400 sites was also up from 2022. The NPS said recreation hours were around 1.4 billion last year, another 4% increase from 2022.

Here’s some more good news: The NPS says the recent upward trend in visitation and time spent is now suggesting a return to a more typical visitation pattern post-pandemic, but the recovery continues.


According to the data released by the NPS, except for 2020 and 2021, visitation patterns are becoming similar from year to year and are exhibiting more routine variability than they did in the decades leading up to the NPS Centennial in 2016.

2016 remains the highest year for total recreation visits at nearly 331 million, according to the NPS.

10 most visited National Park Service sites in 2023

From national parks to recreation areas, memorials and seashores, the 10 most visited sites saw more than 95 million visits, or nearly 30% of the total number of visits for the year.

Here are the 10 most visited National Park Service sites in 2023, according to the National Park Service.

  1. Blue Ridge Parkway (North Carolina, Virginia), 16.57 million
  2. Golden Gate National Recreation Area (California), 14.95 million
  3. Great Smoky Mountains National Park (North Carolina, Tennessee), 13.29 million
  4. Gateway National Recreation Area (New York, New Jersey), 8.70 million
  5. Gulf Islands National Seashore (Florida, Mississippi), 8.27 million
  6. Lincoln Memorial (Washington, D.C.), 8.09 million
  7. George Washington Memorial Parkway (Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia), 7.39 million
  8. Natchez Trace Parkway (Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee), 6.78 million
  9. Lake Mead National Recreation Area (Arizona, Nevada), 5.79 million
  10. Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (Arizona, Utah), 5.20 million

Yosemite National Park in California made it into the top 25 with 3.41 million visits last year. One spectacular event that takes place there is Firefall, which takes place in February. And if you're looking to visit the national park in 2024, be sure to book a reservation.

Death Valley National Park in California didn't rank too high (70), but there was an unusual event that took place this year that may lead to more visits. Rounds of flooding rain from atmospheric river storms that battered the Golden State have allowed visitors to temporarily paddle out on a lake that formed in what is normally the hottest place on Earth.

Grand Canyon National Park and Yellowstone National Park also made the top 25 in spots 13 and 15, respectively.