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These were the most visited national parks and memorials in 2022

The full moon, also called the Beaver Moon, rises above the Lincoln Memorial at sunset in Washington, Monday, Nov. 7, 2022.
J. David Ake
/
AP
The full moon, also called the Beaver Moon, rises above the Lincoln Memorial at sunset in Washington, Monday, Nov. 7, 2022.

Visits to U.S. national parks and memorials are starting to return to pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels.

The National Park Service, which oversees federal parks, memorials and historic sites released its annual visitation figures, and there were about 312 million attendees in 2022, a 5% increase from the previous year and a 4.7% decrease from 2019 before the coronavirus swept the nation.

Here were the most visited sites across the country in 2022.

Top 10 most visited

  • Blue Ridge Parkway, 15.7 million
  • Golden Gate National Recreation Area, 15.6 million
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park, 12.9 million
  • Gateway National Recreation Area, 8.7 million
  • Lincoln Memorial, 7.8 million
  • George Washington Memorial Parkway, 7.4 million
  • Natchez Trace Parkway, 6.5 million
  • Gulf Islands National Seashore, 5.7 million
  • Lake Mead National Recreation Area, 5.6 million
  • Vietnam Veterans Memorial, 4.9 million
  • Visitors to the top eight parks accounted for 26% of total visitation. Some of the least visited sites include the John F. Kennedy National Historic Site, the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site and the Clara Barton National Historic Site.

    Other notable parks, such as the Grand Canyon, Yosemite and Yellowstone ranked at number 12, 20 and 25, respectively.

    Thirty-eight percent of people went to recreation parks, 32% went to historical and cultural parks and 30% went to nature parks.

    Since the agency began recording attendance in 1904, there have been 15.7 billion recreational visits to the National Park System.

    Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

    Ayana Archie