Table of Contents Show
- What Are National Parks?
- What States Have No National Parks?
- How Many States Have a National Park?
- What State Has No National Park Service Designations at All?
- Which U.S. State Has the Most National Parks?
- What Is the Most Crowded National Park?
- What Is the Least Visited National Park?
- Are National Parks Worth Visiting?
Every year, millions of people plan their vacations around visiting national parks. But did you know that some states have no national parks or national park designations?
So, before you start planning your national park itinerary, you might want to read on to determine which states have the most national parks and which have none!
What Are National Parks?
The National Park Service (NPS) is a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Interior created on August 25, 1916. The first national park, Yellowstone, was established on March 1, 1872.
Since then, the NPS has been responsible for the care of over 400 national park units. That includes historical sites, monuments, national seashores, and trails.
How the units are established and who manages them are the key components that mark the difference between national parks and other units. The NPS manages national parks, while different agencies or entities manage other units.
All agencies work to safeguard the land, historical places, and artifacts. They also take care of the flora and fauna that call the national parks and other service units home.
The NPS’ mission is simple: “The National Park Service preserves unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations. The Park Service cooperates with partners to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout this country and the world.”
What States Have No National Parks?
While there are 63 national parks, not every state has a national park. In fact, 20 states don’t have any national parks at all.
These include Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin.
How Many States Have a National Park?
There are 30 states that do have at least one national park. There are also two U.S. territories – American Samoa and the Virgin Islands – that are home to national parks.
While it might be surprising that there are states without any national parks, there are still plenty of them where you can enjoy the scenic and historic sites they offer.
Keep in Mind: Do you know which national parks are the least visited? While these may be the least visited national parks in the U.S. they’re worth visiting.
What State Has No National Park Service Designations at All?
National parks are only one aspect of many national park service designations. There are also national monuments, historic sites and trails, historical parks, and national battlefields.
And there is one state that has none of these.
While there are public beaches, wildlife refuges, and many more places to explore in Delaware, there are no national parks or NPS units there. In fact, this is the only state that has no national park designations within its borders.
Which U.S. State Has the Most National Parks?
California, Alaska, Utah, and Colorado are the U.S. states with the most national parks. California has nine national parks, including Joshua Tree, Yosemite, and Redwood, all of which are pretty well known.
Alaska is second with eight national parks, including Denali National Park and Gates of the Arctic National Park. Utah has five national parks, including the popular parks of Arches, Zion, and Canyonlands.
Colorado comes in fourth with four national parks, including Rocky Mountain National Park and Great Sand Dunes. All four of these states offer a variety of landscapes and opportunities for outdoor recreation and history lessons.
What Is the Most Crowded National Park?
According to the NPS, the most visited national park is the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. In 2021, they recorded 14.1 million visitors.
Zion and Yellowstone National Parks took second and third at right around 5 million visitors each.
While it’s worth paying a visit to each of these parks, if you’re looking for a national park that may not be as crowded, you may want to consider those that are a bit more remote.
Keep in Mind: We have a hack for the next time you visit Great Smoky Mountains! This is the easiest way to get into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
What Is the Least Visited National Park?
While one of the largest in acreage at 8.4 million acres, Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve in Alaska gets the least visitors. With no roads, no trails, and no established campsites, visitors can explore the area at their leisure.
However, you must hike or fly in for any type of access. With 7,362 visits in 2021, this national park is definitely not hosting crowds.
Taking second place for the least visited national park is the National Park of American Samoa in the South Pacific. It clocks in at just under 8,500 visits in that same year.
Are National Parks Worth Visiting?
National parks are a vital part of America’s heritage and should get a visit from everyone at least once in their lifetime. Some parks are very popular, some states have more than others, and others have none, but all offer amazing experiences.
With careful planning, you can avoid most crowds and have an incredible visit to some of the most beautiful places on earth.
Have you been to a national park lately?