National Park Service Report Finds Shifts in Visitation Patterns
The National Park Service 2022 Visitation Report shows visitation to America’s national parks continued to rebound toward pre-pandemic levels. It also demonstrates subtle shifts in visitation patterns after two years of efforts to bolster visitation at lesser-known parks and at times of the year when parks historically saw fewer visitors.
National Park Service statisticians looked inside the numbers to see what kinds of parks people visited in 2022. Parks known for recreation opportunities drew 38 percent of visitation, parks that primarily focus on United States history and cultural heritage drew 32 percent of total park visitation, and parks anchored by nature-based experiences drew 30 percent of visitation.
“People continue to seek a variety of national park travel experiences – to learn about American history and culture, get active, and enjoy breathtaking scenic views,” National Park Service Director Chuck Sams said. “We’re excited to see our efforts to increase visitation to parks in the off-season and in parks that are less well-known paying off. Many parks with record visitation in 2022 are on what we would call “the road less traveled.” The subtle shift in park visitation is good for visitors, good for protecting parks, and good for local communities whose economies benefit from tourism dollars.”
Whether people have a bucket list park trip for 2023 or schedule time to discover the rest of the National Park System, the National Park Service app and insider tips from park rangers through the Plan like a Park Ranger feature are keys to safe, sensational, and successful national park experiences.
Everyone who visits a park has, or develops, their own special connections. In 2023, the National Park Service is inviting everyone to share Your Park Story. You can take part by sharing #MyParkStory on social media and follow the conversation on National Park Service social media channels.
Visitation pattern shifts
- The group of 330-plus parks that make up 25 percent of overall visitation had a 4.6 percent increase in visitation from 2021 to 2022.
- The group of 37 parks that make up 25 percent of overall visitation had a 2 percent increase in visitation from 2021 to 2022.
- The group of 19 parks that make up 25 percent of overall visitation had a 10 percent increase in visitation from 2021 to 2022.
- The group of eight parks that make up 25 percent of overall visitation had a 1.2 percent increase in visitation from 2021 to 2022.
Inside the NPS Visitation Report
- 312 million recreation visits were recorded in 2022 compared to 297 million recreation visits in 2021, an increase of five percent year over year
- There are 424 parks in National Park System; 395 parks count visitors
- Parks with record visitation in 2022 are in the lower 50 percent of overall park visitation
- 3 parks had more than 10 million recreation visits
- 9 parks had more than five million recreation visits
- 75 parks had more than one million recreation visits
- More than 15.7 billion people have visited national parks since 1904