Though services were limited due to the coronavirus pandemic, more than 4 million people visited the Cape Cod National Seashore last year, making it one of the most popular National Park Service sites in the country.
The Massachusetts destination ranked No. 9 among the top 10 most visited National Park Service sites in 2020, with 4.1 million visitors. The Cape Cod National Seashore, one of 10 national seashores managed by the service, is comprised of nearly 40 miles of beaches, ponds, marshes, and uplands along the Cape. It includes historic sites, lighthouses, hiking and biking trails, and the following six beaches: Coast Guard Beach, Head of the Meadow Beach, Herring Cove Beach, Marconi Beach, Nauset Light Beach, and Race Point Beach.
The most-visited site was the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia and North Carolina, with 14.1 million visitors.
“This past year has reminded us how important national parks and public lands are to overall wellbeing,” said Shawn Benge, deputy director for the National Park Service, in a statement. “Throughout the country, national parks provided close-to-home opportunities for people to spend much-needed time outdoors for their physical and psychological health.”
The National Park Service saw 237 million visitors last year, a decrease of 28 percent due to the pandemic. While the majority of the system’s 423 sites (including 63 national parks) remained available to the public, 66 closed for two months or more, according to the service. At Cape Cod National Seashore, visitors still had access to the beaches, but visitor centers and historic buildings were closed, lifeguards were cut at some locations, and programming was canceled.
Maine’s Acadia National Park was among the 10 most visited national parks in 2020, ranking No. 8 with 2.7 million visitors. It is the only national park in New England. The most-visited national park was the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which straddles the border of North Carolina and Tennessee, with 12.1 million visitors. It has been the most-visited national park since 1944.
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