These Were the Most-Visited National Park Service Sites in 2023

The National Park Service administers much more than just our gorgeous national parks. The agency is in charge of all sorts of sites including national monuments, seashores, preserves, recreation areas, and more, all of which bring in hundreds of millions of visitors every year.

The NPS just released its visitation numbers for 2023, which include a 4 percent increase in visits from 2022 to a total of 325.5 million recreation visits last year. Once again, the Blue Ridge Parkway, which runs through the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina and Virginia, took the top spot for the most recorded visits last year. In total, the Parkway saw approximately 16.75 million visits in 2023.

Surprisingly, only one entry in the top 10 most visited NPS sites is a proper national park. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which sits at one end of the Blue Ridge Parkway, brought in 13.29 million people last year, putting it in third place. Other popular NPS sites include the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, and other linear parks like the George Washington Memorial Parkway in Virginia and Natchez Trace Parkway through the South. The Lincoln Memorial, a go-to tourist attraction for visitors to Washington, D.C., is the only national memorial on the top 10.

Read up on the top 10 most-trafficked NPS sites last year and start making travel plans for this year.

  1. Blue Ridge Parkway (16.75 million visits)

  2. Golden Gate National Recreation Area (14.95 million)

  3. Great Smoky Mountains National Park (13.29 million)

  4. Gateway National Recreation Area (8.70 million)

  5. Gulf Islands National Seashore (8.27 million)

  6. Lincoln Memorial (8.09 million)

  7. George Washington Memorial Parkway (7.39 million)

  8. Natchez Trace Parkway (6.78 million)

  9. Lake Mead National Recreation Area (5.79 million)

  10. Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (5.20 million)