Top National Parks

As a reminder, there’s free admission to all National Parks on September 28th, a Saturday, for National Public Lands Day.  In preparation, here are the top National Parks and some of the lodging they provide.  Depending on which source you most trust the top ten are based on numbers and opinion.

According to the National Park Service, based on the number of visitors in 2012, the top ten parks are:

1)      Great Smoky Mountains at 9,685,829: founded in 1940 and located in North Carolina and Tennessee

2)      Grand Canyon at 4,421,352: founded in 1919 and located in Arizona  (This National Park is considered one of the seven natural wonders of the world and is often the only natural wonder listed that is located in the United States.  Being such a popular park if you want to avoid the crowds I would recommend visiting the North Rim.)

3)      Yosemite at 3,853,404: founded in 1890 and located in California

4)      Yellowstone at 3,447,729: founded in 1872 and located in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming (This National Park has the most geysers and hot springs in the world.)

5)      Rocky Mountain at 3,229,617: founded in 1916 and located in Colorado

6)      Zion at 2,973,607: founded in 1956 and located in Utah

7)      Olympic at 2,824,908: founded in 1938 and located in Washington

8)      Grand Teton at 2,705,256: founded in 1950 and located in Wyoming

9)      Acadia at 2,431,052: founded in 2007 and located in Maine

10)   Cuyahoga Valley at 2,299,722: founded in 2000 and located in Ohio

Total Park Visits to all National Parks in:

2012 = 282,765,682

2011 = 278,939,216

2010 = 281,303,769

2009 = 285,579,941

2008 = 274,852,949

Fox News ranked their top ten National Parks based on opinion:

1)      Yellowstone

2)      Everglades

3)      Bryce Canyon

4)      Carlsbad Caverns

5)      Death Valley

6)      Denali

7)      Hawaii Volcanoes

8)      Rocky Mountain

9)      San Juan Island

10)   Yosemite

ABC News ranked their top ten National Parks based on opinion:

1)      Death Valley

2)      Yellowstone

3)      Bryce Canyon

4)      Hawaii Volcanoes

5)      Grand Canyon

6)      Yosemite

7)      Crater Lake

8)      Arches

9)      Everglades

10)   Acadia

While visiting these National Parks if you feel like staying at the best of the best here are the top National Park Lodges based on the number of high end rooms and how much they cost per night according to USA Today:

1)      Ahwahnee (Yosemite National Park): founded in the 1920s with 123 rooms ranging from $497-$1100

2)      Argonaut Hotel (San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park): founded in 1907 with 252 rooms ranging from $229-$489

3)      Cavallo Point (Golden Gate National Recreation Area): founded in the early 1900s with 142 rooms ranging from $350+

4)      The Inn at Furnace Creek (Death Valley National Park): founded in 1927 with 66 rooms ranging from $345-$475

5)      Jenny Lake Lodge (Grand Teton National Park): founded in the 1920s with 31 cabins ranging from $830+

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