DAYTON, Ohio (STACKER) – Approximately 237 million people visited American national parks in 2020, representing a 28% year-over-year decrease attributed to the coronavirus pandemic.

Many parks were forced to close to combat the spread of the virus, but that’s not the whole story—when the parks were open, many of them saw record crowds as throngs of people desperate to safely enjoy nature descended onto parks when they reopened.

President Woodrow Wilson in 1916 signed the act creating the National Park Service to leave natural and historic phenomenons “unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.” Since then, our national parks have welcomed visitors from around the world to experience some of the best the country has to offer and showcase the country’s natural beauty and cultural heritage.

Today, the country’s 63 national parks contain at least 247 species of endangered or threatened plants and animals, more than 75,000 archaeological sites, and 18,000 miles of trails.

Stacker compiled a list of national parks in order of how close they are to Dayton. National parks are ranked by closest straight line distance, measured from representative points in Dayton-Kettering, OH Metro Area and each national park.

All featured distances and driving times are estimated using representative locations from the center of each metro and national park—for some places within the metro area, the actual distance may be slightly shorter or longer to reach the closest entryway to a park.

Be sure to check with individual parks before you visit to find out about ongoing, pandemic-related safety precautions at www.nps.gov/coronavirus.

#1. Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Ohio)

– Distance: 168 miles
– Driving time: 2.9 hours
– Date founded: October 11, 2000
– 2020 visitors: 2,755,628 (#7 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 32,571.88 acres

#2. Indiana Dunes National Park (Indiana)

– Distance: 198 miles
– Driving time: 4.3 hours
– Date founded: February 15, 2019
– 2020 visitors: 2,293,106 (#11 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 15,349.08 acres

#3. New River Gorge National Park (West Virginia)

– Distance: 205 miles
– Driving time: 4.6 hours
– Date founded: December 27, 2020
– 2020 visitors: 1,054,374 (#19 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 7,021 acres

#4. Mammoth Cave National Park (Kentucky)

– Distance: 211 miles
– Driving time: 4.0 hours
– Date founded: July 1, 1941
– 2020 visitors: 290,392 (#41 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 54,011.91 acres

#5. Great Smoky Mountains National Park (North Carolina, Tennessee)

– Distance: 288 miles
– Driving time: 5.7 hours
– Date founded: June 15, 1934
– 2020 visitors: 12,095,720 (#1 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 522,426.88 acres

#6. Shenandoah National Park (Virginia)

– Distance: 324 miles
– Driving time: 8.1 hours
– Date founded: December 26, 1935
– 2020 visitors: 1,666,265 (#14 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 199,223.77 acres

#7. Gateway Arch National Park (Missouri)

– Distance: 335 miles
– Driving time: 5.4 hours
– Date founded: February 22, 2018[47]
– 2020 visitors: 486,021 (#31 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 192.83 acres

#8. Congaree National Park (South Carolina)

– Distance: 457 miles
– Driving time: 9.6 hours
– Date founded: November 10, 2003
– 2020 visitors: 119,306 (#51 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 26,476.47 acres

#9. Isle Royale National Park (Michigan)

– Distance: 612 miles
– Driving time: 12.4 hours
– Date founded: April 3, 1940
– 2020 visitors: 6,493 (#59 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 571,790.30 acres

#10. Hot Springs National Park (Arkansas)

– Distance: 613 miles
– Driving time: 11.0 hours
– Date founded: March 4, 1921
– 2020 visitors: 1,348,215 (#16 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 5,554.15 acres

#11. Voyageurs National Park (Minnesota)

– Distance: 739 miles
– Driving time: 14.4 hours
– Date founded: April 8, 1975
– 2020 visitors: 263,091 (#44 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 218,222.35 acres

#12. Acadia National Park (Maine)

– Distance: 875 miles
– Driving time: 17.6 hours
– Date founded: February 26, 1919
– 2020 visitors: 2,669,034 (#8 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 49,076.63 acres

#13. Badlands National Park (South Dakota)

– Distance: 984 miles
– Driving time: 17.1 hours
– Date founded: November 10, 1978
– 2020 visitors: 916,932 (#21 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 242,755.94 acres

#14. Biscayne National Park (Florida)

– Distance: 1,005 miles
– Driving time: 18.1 hours
– Date founded: June 28, 1980
– 2020 visitors: 402,770 (#36 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 172,971.11 acres

#15. Everglades National Park (Florida)

– Distance: 1,017 miles
– Driving time: 19.2 hours
– Date founded: May 30, 1934
– 2020 visitors: 702,319 (#25 highest among all national parks
)- Park area: 1,508,938.57 acres

#16. Wind Cave National Park (South Dakota)

– Distance: 1,030 miles
– Driving time: 18.5 hours
– Date founded: January 9, 1903
– 2020 visitors: 448,405 (#33 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 33,970.84 acres

#17. Dry Tortugas National Park (Florida)

– Distance: 1,050 miles
– Driving time: 21.2 hours
– Date founded: October 26, 1992
– 2020 visitors: 48,543 (#55 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 64,701.22 acres

#18. Theodore Roosevelt National Park (North Dakota)

– Distance: 1,086 miles
– Driving time: 19.0 hours
– Date founded: November 10, 1978
– 2020 visitors: 551,303 (#28 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 70,446.89 acres

#19. Rocky Mountain National Park (Colorado)

– Distance: 1,134 miles
– Driving time: 18.8 hours
– Date founded: January 26, 1915
– 2020 visitors: 3,305,199 (#4 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 265,807.25 acres

#20. Great Sand Dunes National Park (Colorado)

– Distance: 1,160 miles
– Driving time: 20.0 hours
– Date founded: September 24, 2004
– 2020 visitors: 461,532 (#32 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 107,341.87 acres

#21. Carlsbad Caverns National Park (New Mexico)

– Distance: 1,250 miles
– Driving time: 21.1 hours
– Date founded: May 14, 1930
– 2020 visitors: 183,835 (#45 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 46,766.45 acres

#22. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park (Colorado)

– Distance: 1,265 miles
– Driving time: 22.5 hours
– Date founded: October 21, 1999
– 2020 visitors: 341,620 (#39 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 30,779.83 acres

#23. Guadalupe Mountains National Park (Texas)

– Distance: 1,281 miles
– Driving time: 22.2 hours
– Date founded: October 15, 1966
– 2020 visitors: 151,256 (#49 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 86,367.10 acres

#24. Big Bend National Park (Texas)

– Distance: 1,307 miles
– Driving time: 24.4 hours
– Date founded: June 12, 1944
– 2020 visitors: 393,907 (#37 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 801,163.21 acres

#25. White Sands National Park (New Mexico)

– Distance: 1,318 miles
– Driving time: 21.9 hours
– Date founded: December 20, 2019[111]
– 2020 visitors: 415,383 (#34 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 146,344.31 acres

#26. Mesa Verde National Park (Colorado)

– Distance: 1,328 miles
– Driving time: 24.1 hours
– Date founded: June 29, 1906
– 2020 visitors: 287,477 (#42 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 52,485.17 acres

#27. Arches National Park (Utah)

– Distance: 1,362 miles
– Driving time: 23.0 hours
– Date founded: November 12, 1971
– 2020 visitors: 1,238,083 (#17 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 76,678.98 acres

#28. Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming, Montana, Idaho)

– Distance: 1,385 miles
– Driving time: 25.5 hours
– Date founded: March 1, 1872
– 2020 visitors: 3,806,306 (#2 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 2,219,790.71 acres

#29. Canyonlands National Park (Utah)

– Distance: 1,388 miles
– Driving time: 30.1 hours
– Date founded: September 12, 1964
– 2020 visitors: 493,914 (#30 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 337,597.83 acres

#30. Grand Teton National Park (Wyoming)

– Distance: 1,397 miles
– Driving time: 24.5 hours
– Date founded: February 26, 1929
– 2020 visitors: 3,289,638 (#5 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 310,044.36 acres

#31. Petrified Forest National Park (Arizona)

– Distance: 1,442 miles
– Driving time: 23.2 hours
– Date founded: December 9, 1962
– 2020 visitors: 384,483 (#38 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 221,390.21 acres

#32. Capitol Reef National Park (Utah)

– Distance: 1,453 miles
– Driving time: 24.5 hours
– Date founded: December 18, 1971
– 2020 visitors: 981,038 (#20 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 241,904.50 acres

#33. Bryce Canyon National Park (Utah)

– Distance: 1,517 miles
– Driving time: 26.7 hours
– Date founded: February 25, 1928
– 2020 visitors: 1,464,655 (#15 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 35,835.08 acres

#34. Grand Canyon National Park (Arizona)

– Distance: 1,545 miles
– Driving time: 26.8 hours
– Date founded: February 26, 1919
– 2020 visitors: 2,897,098 (#6 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 1,201,647.03 acres

#35. Saguaro National Park (Arizona)

– Distance: 1,559 miles
– Driving time: 26.9 hours
– Date founded: October 14, 1994
– 2020 visitors: 762,226 (#24 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 92,867.42 acres

#36. Zion National Park (Utah)

– Distance: 1,568 miles
– Driving time: 27.2 hours
– Date founded: November 19, 1919
– 2020 visitors: 3,591,254 (#3 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 147,242.66 acres

#37. Glacier National Park (Montana)

– Distance: 1,592 miles
– Date founded: May 11, 1910
– 2020 visitors: 1,698,864 (#13 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 1,013,125.99 acres

#38. Great Basin National Park (Nevada)

– Distance: 1,607 miles
– Driving time: 27.2 hours
– Date founded: October 27, 1986
– 2020 visitors: 120,248 (#50 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 77,180.00 acres

#39. Death Valley National Park (California, Nevada)

– Distance: 1,790 miles
– Driving time: 30.4 hours
– Date founded: October 31, 1994
– 2020 visitors: 820,023 (#22 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 3,408,406.73 acres

#40. Joshua Tree National Park (California)

– Distance: 1,799 miles
– Driving time: 30.5 hours
– Date founded: October 31, 1994
– 2020 visitors: 2,399,542 (#10 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 795,155.85 acres

#41. Kings Canyon National Park (California)

– Distance: 1,870 miles
– Driving time: 38.2 hours
– Date founded: March 4, 1940
– 2020 visitors: 415,077 (#35 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 461,901.20 acres

#42. Virgin Islands National Park (U.S. Virgin Islands)

– Distance: 1,881 miles
– Date founded: August 2, 1956
– 2020 visitors: 167,540 (#46 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 15,052.53 acres

#43. Sequoia National Park (California)

– Distance: 1,884 miles
– Driving time: 37.0 hours
– Date founded: September 25, 1890
– 2020 visitors: 796,086 (#23 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 404,062.63 acres

#44. Yosemite National Park (California)

– Distance: 1,900 miles
– Driving time: 37.0 hours
– Date founded: October 1, 1890
– 2020 visitors: 2,268,313 (#12 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 761,747.50 acres

#45. North Cascades National Park (Washington)

– Distance: 1,916 miles
– Driving time: 36.3 hours
– Date founded: October 2, 1968
– 2020 visitors: 30,885 (#56 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 504,780.94 acres

#46. Mount Rainier National Park (Washington)

– Distance: 1,936 miles
– Driving time: 34.9 hours
– Date founded: March 2, 1899
– 2020 visitors: 1,160,754 (#18 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 236,381.64 acres

#47. Lassen Volcanic National Park (California)

– Distance: 1,964 miles
– Driving time: 34.7 hours
– Date founded: August 9, 1916
– 2020 visitors: 542,274 (#29 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 106,589.02 acres

#48. Crater Lake National Park (Oregon)

– Distance: 1,968 miles
– Driving time: 35.0 hours
– Date founded: May 22, 1902
– 2020 visitors: 670,500 (#26 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 183,224.05 acres

#49. Channel Islands National Park (California)

– Distance: 1,981 miles
– Date founded: March 5, 1980- 2020 visitors: 167,290 (#47 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 249,561.00 acres

#50. Pinnacles National Park (California)

– Distance: 2,015 miles
– Driving time: 35.5 hours
– Date founded: January 10, 2013
– 2020 visitors: 165,740 (#48 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 26,685.73 acres

#51. Olympic National Park (Washington)

– Distance: 2,019 miles
– Driving time: 36.9 hours
– Date founded: June 29, 1938
– 2020 visitors: 2,499,177 (#9 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 922,649.41 acres

#52. Redwood National Park (California)

– Distance: 2,081 miles
– Driving time: 38.7 hours
– Date founded: October 2, 1968
– 2020 visitors: 265,177 (#43 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 138,999.37 acres

#53. Glacier Bay National Park (Alaska)

– Distance: 2,629 miles
– Date founded: December 2, 1980
– 2020 visitors: 5,748 (#60 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 3,223,383.43 acres

#54. Wrangell–St. Elias National Park (Alaska)

– Distance: 2,818 miles
– Date founded: December 2, 1980
– 2020 visitors: 16,655 (#57 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 8,323,146.48 acres

#55. Kenai Fjords National Park (Alaska)

– Distance: 3,079 miles
– Date founded: December 2, 1980
– 2020 visitors: 115,882 (#52 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 669,650.05 acres

#56. Denali National Park (Alaska)

– Distance: 3,097 miles
– Date founded: February 26, 1917
– 2020 visitors: 54,850 (#53 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 4,740,911.16 acres

#57. Gates of the Arctic National Park (Alaska)

– Distance: 3,177 miles
– Date founded: December 2, 1980
– 2020 visitors: 2,872 (#63 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 7,523,897.45 acres

#58. Lake Clark National Park (Alaska)

– Distance: 3,201 miles
– Date founded: December 2, 1980- 2020 visitors: 4,948 (#61 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 2,619,816.49 acres

#59. Katmai National Park (Alaska)

– Distance: 3,279 miles
– Date founded: December 2, 1980
– 2020 visitors: 51,511 (#54 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 3,674,529.33 acres

#60. Kobuk Valley National Park (Alaska)

– Distance: 3,335 miles
– Date founded: December 2, 1980
– 2020 visitors: 11,185 (#58 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 1,750,716.16 acres

#61. Haleakalā National Park (Hawaii)

– Distance: 4,385 miles
– Date founded: July 1, 1961
– 2020 visitors: 319,147 (#40 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 33,264.62 acres

#62. Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park (Hawaii)

– Distance: 4,387 miles
– Date founded: August 1, 1916
– 2020 visitors: 589,775 (#27 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 325,605.28 acres

#63. National Park of American Samoa (American Samoa)

– Distance: 6,663 miles
– Date founded: October 31, 1988
– 2020 visitors: 4,819 (#62 highest among all national parks)
– Park area: 8,256.67 acres