New England has 2 of the country’s most visited national park sites

One is in Massachusetts.

The Cape Cod National Seashore in Wellfleet. JOANNE RATHE/ GLOBE

Two New England national park sites that attracted millions of visitors last year are among the most popular in the U.S.

The National Park Service recently released a list of the 25 most visited parks in 2021, and Acadia National Park in Maine and Cape Cod National Seashore ranked No. 16 and 17, respectively. Each site drew 4 million people.

Blue Ridge Parkway, in North Carolina and Virginia, was the most visited national park site in 2021 with 15.9 million visitors.

“It’s wonderful to see so many Americans continuing to find solace and inspiration in these incredible places during the second year of the pandemic,” said Chuck Sams, director of the National Park Service, in a statement. “We’re happy to see so many visitors returning to iconic parks like Yellowstone and Yosemite, but there are hundreds more that should be on everyone’s bucket list. Whatever experience you’re looking for in 2022, national parks are here to discover.”


Cape Cod National Seashore, one of 10 national seashores managed by the service, is comprised of nearly 40 miles of beaches, ponds, marshes, uplands, historic sites, and hiking trails.

“The seashore’s diverse natural resources, compelling cultural stories, scenery, and abundant recreational opportunities have long made it a sought-after destination,” Brian Carlstrom, superintendent of the Cape Cod National Seashore, said in a statement. “Throughout our pandemic ordeal, visitors continued to explore the seashore. Beaches and trails have remained open, and people are taking advantage of the opportunity to recreate outdoors and find inspiration and solace.”

Acadia National Park has 27 miles of historic motor roads, 45 miles of carriage roads, 158 miles of hiking trails, and the tallest coastal mountains on the eastern seaboard. It is the only national park in New England. 

“When in Maine for a visit to Acadia National Park, don’t miss Saint Croix Island International Historic Site and one of America’s newest national parks, Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument,” the National Park Service wrote.

The National Park Service, which manages 423 sites, including 63 national parks, saw about 297 million visitors last year, up from 237 million visitors in 2020 but still below the pre-pandemic 327 million visitors in 2019.


View the list of 25 most visited parks in 2021.


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