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The Great Count: Uncovering the Number of National Parks

National parks are like the best reality TV shows: diverse, dramatic, and can sometimes leave you a little breathless (especially if you’re hiking up a mountain).

And we absolutely adore them!

We’ve ticked off about 1/3 of these U.S. natural wonders from our bucket list, with grand plans to see the rest. Why, you ask? Because someone’s got to do it, and we’ve nominated ourselves as tribute.

So, if you’re itching to know just how many pockets of paradise exist out there and where you can find them, you’re in the right place.

Stick with us as we guide you through the where’s, the what’s, and the how many’s, one park at a time.


How Many National Parks Are There In The U.S.

Drumroll, please… As of this very moment, the U.S. is the proud parent of 63 sparkling national parks.

But, plot twist, this number is about as stable as my diet on Thanksgiving.

Every so often, Congress gets a wild urge and decides, “Hey, why not add another?” making that 63 as potentially outdated as my original flip phone.

a tree stands in a desert atmospere in joshua tree national park
Credit: Depositphotos

These parks cover over 84 million acres, ranging from the towering sequoias of California to the rugged shorelines of Maine.

And because they’re spread across 29 states and two territories, there’s always something new to explore.

Just remember, the count of 63 national parks could very well be the minimum by the time you’re adventuring through one, thanks to our country’s never-ending quest to preserve natural beauty and history.

But I Sometimes Hear A Number Like 423, What’s That About

Ah, the magical number 423, which, in this case, has nothing to do with what you’re probably thinking. And just FYI, the number is actually 430 as of now.

That larger number, my dear Watson, refers to the total count of national park SITES.

This includes not only the VIPs (the national parks) but also the supporting cast—national monuments, preserves, historical sites, battlefields, and scenic trails, to name just a few.

Think of it as the extended family gathering where everyone’s invited, from Great Aunt Eunice (the historical park telling you stories from the “old days”) to your third cousin twice removed who thinks he’s royalty (the pompous yet magnificent national monument).

This expansive family reunites under the big umbrella of the National Park Service, which is kind of like the overly ambitious parent that insists on celebrating every single achievement of its kids, no matter how small.

With 430 sites to choose from, you could literally spend every weekend at a different location and still not see them all within a decade. Talk about an endless adventure waiting to happen, right?

zion valley in zion national park with rocky mountains on both sides with a green valley between under a partly cloudy sky
Credit: Depositphotos

Significance Of National Parks

National parks aren’t just stunning desktop backgrounds or heroic settings for your social stories; they’re the superheroes of the natural world.

They guard against the kryptonite of development and pollution, ensuring vast expanses of wilderness and history are preserved for future generations of both humans and wildlife.

These natural fortresses offer an escape hatch from the relentless pace of modern life, inviting everyone to swap Wi-Fi for wildflowers.

For the animals, they’re like exclusive gated communities, critical for maintaining biodiversity.

And economically speaking, they’re not too shabby either. Tourists flock to these scenic wonders, generously contributing to local economies.

It’s a win-win-win scenario, with nature, humans, and animals all thriving together.

U.S. National Park Locations

Curious about where to find those 63 glorious declarations of natural splendor? Fear not, for we’ve meticulously charted their whereabouts, neatly categorized by state, for your planning (or daydreaming) convenience.

  • Denali National Park and Preserve
  • Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve
  • Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve
  • Katmai National Park and Preserve
  • Kenai Fjords National Park
  • Kobuk Valley National Park
  • Lake Clark National Park and Preserve
  • Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve
  • National Park of American Samoa
  • Grand Canyon National Park
  • Petrified Forest National Park
  • Saguaro National Park
  • Hot Springs National Park
a lighthouse stands on the edge of the water at biscayne national park
Credit: Depositphotos
  • Channel Islands National Park
  • Death Valley National Park (also Nevada)
  • Joshua Tree National Park
  • Kings Canyon National Park
  • Lassen Volcanic National Park
  • Pinnacles National Park
  • Redwood National and State Parks
  • Sequoia National Park
  • Yosemite National Park
  • Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
  • Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
  • Mesa Verde National Park
  • Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Biscayne National Park
  • Dry Tortugas National Park
  • Everglades National Park
  • Haleakalā National Park
  • Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park
  • Indiana Dunes National Park
  • Mammoth Cave National Park
  • Acadia National Park
  • Isle Royale National Park
  • Voyageurs National Park
  • Gateway Arch National Park
  • Glacier National Park
  • Great Basin National Park
  • Carlsbad Caverns National Park
  • White Sands National Park
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park (also Tennessee)
  • Theodore Roosevelt National Park
stalactites and stalagmites fill a cave scene at mammoth cave national park
Credit: Depositphotos
  • Cuyahoga Valley National Park
  • Crater Lake National Park
  • Congaree National Park
  • Badlands National Park
  • Wind Cave National Park
  • Big Bend National Park
  • Guadalupe Mountains National Park
  • Virgin Islands National Park
  • Shenandoah National Park
  • Mount Rainier National Park
  • North Cascades National Park
  • Olympic National Park
  • New River Gorge National Park and Preserve
  • Grand Teton National Park
  • Yellowstone National Park (also Idaho, Montana)

How Many National Parks Are There Around The World

If you thought the U.S. was flexing with its 63 national parks, the global stage is where the real party is at.

Picture this: more than 6,500 national parks sprinkled across over 100 countries!

cascades national park with snow on the ground behind a lake at sunset with light shining on the evergreens behind the lake
Credit: Depositphotos

Yeah, you read that right. We’re not just talking about a handful of trees and a pond here and there; we’re talking about millions of acres dedicated to the great outdoors worldwide.

It’s like every country got together and decided the planet needed a giant network of epic natural wonderlands. And honestly, who can blame them?

These parks protect biodiversity, support ecosystems, and give us all a place to pretend we’re part of a nature documentary.

Global conservation efforts are clearly on a roll, folks, and with over 6,500 reasons to get out and explore, our passports are about to be as well-traveled as a migratory bird.

Which Country Has The Most National Parks

And the award for the country with the most national parks goes to… Australia!

Down Under is not just about kangaroos and koalas; it’s home to a whopping 685 national parks.

Covering millions of acres, from the dusty red outback to lush rainforests and spectacular coastal views, Australia is practically showing off at this point.

So whether you’re snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef or bushwalking through Kakadu, Australia’s got every type of natural wonder you could dream of.

Seriously, Australia, could you leave some beauty for the rest of us?


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