how many national parks are there

How Many National Parks Are There in the US?

Chris Coleman

Who does not love traveling, especially during weekends and holidays? When it comes to choosing a perfect place to spend a vacation, national parks often top the choices.

Many people do not know the location of the national parks or even how many national parks are there. For them, a complete guide of the number of national parks in the United States will be helpful.

how many national parks are there

What Are National Parks?

A national park comprises a specific area that the government distinguishes and marks for natural environment preservation. In most cases, national parks are open for public recreation, while some parks prohibit visits from general people to preserve the historical or scientific importance of the place.

The landscape and its residing animals and plants stay in their natural state in a national park. In the USA, national parks emphasize land and wildlife protection.

How Many National Parks Are There in the US?

The answer is a little complex. In September 2020, a total of 421 national park sites were listed under the umbrella of the National Park System of the US. This list involves park sites located in territories like the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and Guam. All these sites amount to more than 84 million acres of land. These sites include national parks along with other land types.

how many national parks are there in the us
The National Park Service. (Source: gavilla / Pixabay)

If by asking how many national parks are there, you mean how many national park sites contain the phrase “national park” as part of their names, the answer is 62.

Types of National Park Sites in the US

The USA National Park Service is relentlessly working to preserve 20 types of sites in order to save them from the aggression of modernity. These are the categories of national park sites and their total count in the USA.

  • Sixty two National Parks
  • Eighty four National Monuments
  • Seventy six National Historic Sites
  • Fifty seven National Historical Parks
  • Thirty one National Memorials
  • Nineteen National Preserves
  • Eighteen National Recreation Areas
  • Eleven National Battlefields
  • Ten National Wild and Scenic Rivers
  • Ten National Seashores
  • Nine National Military Parks
  • Five National Rivers
  • Four National Battlefield Parks
  • Four National Parkways
  • Three National Lakeshores
  • Three National Scenic Trails
  • Two National Reserves
  • One International Historic Sites
  • One National Battlefield Site
  • Eleven Other Sites

How Many National Parks Are There in the USA: A State-wise List

When it comes to “national park”, not all USA states have one. A total of 29 states and two territories have national parks within their area. Here is the state-wise guide to the national parks.

State Names and Park Number (From A to O)

  • Alaska: Alaska has eight national parks, which is the second-most in any state.
  • American Samoa: This US territory has only one national park.
  • Arizona: Arizona, a southwestern state, has three national parks.
  • Arkansas: Only one national park is there.
  • California: California has a total of 8 national parks, the most for any state.
  • Colorado: The state of Colorado has four national parks, including the famous Rocky Mountain National Park.
  • Florida: In Florida, there are three national parks.
  • Hawaii: This tourist destination has two national parks.
  • Idaho: Idaho has only one national park that it shares with Montana and Wyoming.
  • Kentucky: Mammoth Cave National Park is the only national park in this state.
  • Illinois & Missouri: These two states jointly have only one national park named Gateway Arch National Park, Missouri, and Illinois.
  • Indiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota: All these states have one national park each.
  • Montana: Of the two national parks of this state, it shares one with Idaho and Wyoming.
  • Nevada: In Nevada, there are two national parks. It shares one with California.
  • New Mexico: Carlsbad Caverns National Park is the only national park located in the state.
  • North Dakota: This midwestern state has only one national park named: Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
  • North Carolina & Tennessee: These two states jointly own the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is the only national park that these states have.
  • Ohio: Ohio has only one national park.
  • Oregon: Crater Lake National Park is the only national park in Oregon.

State Names and Park Names (From P to Z)

  • South Carolina: This state has one national park named the Congaree National Park.
  • South Dakota: There are two national parks in South Dakota.
  • Texas: In Texas, you will find two national parks.
  • Utah: There are five national parks in this state.
  • Virgin Islands: Virgin Islands National Park is the only national park in this state.
  • Virginia: In this state, there is only one national park.
  • Washington: The state of Washington has three national parks within its territory.
  • Wyoming: This state has only two national parks. It shares one, the Yellowstone National Park, with Idaho and Montana.

Free Entrance Days in the National Parks

As you must know by now how many national parks are there, you should also know that some national parks offer free entry to visitors throughout the year.

There are also some days when all national parks in the USA waive entrance fees. These days open a door of opportunity to those who want to visit the national parks that charge fees on the usual days. However, remember that on fee-free days, visitors have to pay for amenities and other activities, like camping, transportation, special tours, and boat launches.

how many national parks are there
Some parks offer free entrance during holidays. (Source: NeedPix)

Have a look at the days when everyone can visit national parks without having to spend money as entry fee charges. The list is for the year 2020.

January 20: Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday.

April 18: First day of National Park Week

August 5: On the occasion of the passage of the Great American Outdoors Act

August 25: Birthday of National Park Service

September 26: National Public Lands Day

November 11: Veterans Day

Are the USA national parks free to enter? The answer is both yes and no, and it depends on which national park you are going to visit. Although there are 421 units of the National Park Service of the US, only 109 parks ask for an entrance fee from its visitors. Before paying a visit to any national park, it is better to confirm whether that park charges entry free or not.

Conclusion

Now you know how many national parks are there. Based on the information given, the U.S. residents can visit their favorite national parks and other park sites spread countrywide.

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