Closest national parks to Santa Maria

Written by:
April 18, 2022
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Closest national parks to Santa Maria

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 the closest national parks to Santa Maria. National parks are ranked by closest straight line distance, measured from representative points in Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA Metro Area and each national park. Estimated driving times are from Here and are only available within the lower 48 states. 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.

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#1. Channel Islands National Park (California)

- Distance: 51 miles
- Date founded: March 5, 1980
- 2020 visitors: 167,290 (#47 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 249,561.00 acres
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#2. Pinnacles National Park (California)

- Distance: 148 miles
- Driving time: 4.0 hours
- Date founded: January 10, 2013
- 2020 visitors: 165,740 (#48 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 26,685.73 acres
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#3. Sequoia National Park (California)

- Distance: 151 miles
- Driving time: 8.1 hours
- Date founded: September 25, 1890
- 2020 visitors: 796,086 (#23 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 404,062.63 acres
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#4. Kings Canyon National Park (California)

- Distance: 177 miles
- Driving time: 9.0 hours
- Date founded: March 4, 1940
- 2020 visitors: 415,077 (#35 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 461,901.20 acres
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#5. Death Valley National Park (California, Nevada)

- Distance: 216 miles
- Driving time: 7.2 hours
- Date founded: October 31, 1994
- 2020 visitors: 820,023 (#22 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 3,408,406.73 acres

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#6. Yosemite National Park (California)

- Distance: 229 miles
- Driving time: 7.7 hours
- Date founded: October 1, 1890
- 2020 visitors: 2,268,313 (#12 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 761,747.50 acres
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#7. Joshua Tree National Park (California)

- Distance: 243 miles
- Driving time: 5.8 hours
- Date founded: October 31, 1994
- 2020 visitors: 2,399,542 (#10 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 795,155.85 acres
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#8. Lassen Volcanic National Park (California)

- Distance: 418 miles
- Driving time: 9.2 hours
- Date founded: August 9, 1916
- 2020 visitors: 542,274 (#29 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 106,589.02 acres
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#9. Zion National Park (Utah)

- Distance: 436 miles
- Driving time: 9.7 hours
- Date founded: November 19, 1919
- 2020 visitors: 3,591,254 (#3 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 147,242.66 acres
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#10. Great Basin National Park (Nevada)

- Distance: 442 miles
- Driving time: 12.1 hours
- Date founded: October 27, 1986
- 2020 visitors: 120,248 (#50 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 77,180.00 acres

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#11. Grand Canyon National Park (Arizona)

- Distance: 458 miles
- Driving time: 10.0 hours
- Date founded: February 26, 1919
- 2020 visitors: 2,897,098 (#6 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 1,201,647.03 acres
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#12. Bryce Canyon National Park (Utah)

- Distance: 487 miles
- Driving time: 11.7 hours
- Date founded: February 25, 1928
- 2020 visitors: 1,464,655 (#15 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 35,835.08 acres
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#13. Redwood National Park (California)

- Distance: 514 miles
- Driving time: 14.1 hours
- Date founded: October 2, 1968
- 2020 visitors: 265,177 (#43 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 138,999.37 acres
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#14. Capitol Reef National Park (Utah)

- Distance: 555 miles
- Driving time: 12.4 hours
- Date founded: December 18, 1971
- 2020 visitors: 981,038 (#20 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 241,904.50 acres
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#15. Saguaro National Park (Arizona)

- Distance: 573 miles
- Driving time: 11.5 hours
- Date founded: October 14, 1994
- 2020 visitors: 762,226 (#24 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 92,867.42 acres

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#16. Petrified Forest National Park (Arizona)

- Distance: 584 miles
- Driving time: 10.9 hours
- Date founded: December 9, 1962
- 2020 visitors: 384,483 (#38 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 221,390.21 acres
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#17. Crater Lake National Park (Oregon)

- Distance: 590 miles
- Driving time: 12.1 hours
- Date founded: May 22, 1902
- 2020 visitors: 670,500 (#26 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 183,224.05 acres
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#18. Canyonlands National Park (Utah)

- Distance: 617 miles
- Driving time: 18.1 hours
- Date founded: September 12, 1964
- 2020 visitors: 493,914 (#30 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 337,597.83 acres
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#19. Arches National Park (Utah)

- Distance: 648 miles
- Driving time: 13.3 hours
- Date founded: November 12, 1971
- 2020 visitors: 1,238,083 (#17 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 76,678.98 acres
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#20. Mesa Verde National Park (Colorado)

- Distance: 673 miles
- Driving time: 14.5 hours
- Date founded: June 29, 1906
- 2020 visitors: 287,477 (#42 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 52,485.17 acres

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

- Distance: 739 miles
- Driving time: 15.2 hours
- Date founded: October 21, 1999
- 2020 visitors: 341,620 (#39 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 30,779.83 acres
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#22. Grand Teton National Park (Wyoming)

- Distance: 804 miles
- Driving time: 17.9 hours
- Date founded: February 26, 1929
- 2020 visitors: 3,289,638 (#5 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 310,044.36 acres
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#23. White Sands National Park (New Mexico)

- Distance: 808 miles
- Driving time: 14.5 hours
- Date founded: December 20, 2019[111]
- 2020 visitors: 415,383 (#34 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 146,344.31 acres
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#24. Great Sand Dunes National Park (Colorado)

- Distance: 841 miles
- Driving time: 18.0 hours
- Date founded: September 24, 2004
- 2020 visitors: 461,532 (#32 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 107,341.87 acres
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#25. Mount Rainier National Park (Washington)

- Distance: 854 miles
- Driving time: 18.5 hours
- Date founded: March 2, 1899
- 2020 visitors: 1,160,754 (#18 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 236,381.64 acres

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

- Distance: 860 miles
- Driving time: 18.2 hours
- Date founded: March 1, 1872
- 2020 visitors: 3,806,306 (#2 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 2,219,790.71 acres
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#27. Rocky Mountain National Park (Colorado)

- Distance: 890 miles
- Driving time: 18.9 hours
- Date founded: January 26, 1915
- 2020 visitors: 3,305,199 (#4 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 265,807.25 acres
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#28. Guadalupe Mountains National Park (Texas)

- Distance: 896 miles
- Driving time: 16.4 hours
- Date founded: October 15, 1966
- 2020 visitors: 151,256 (#49 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 86,367.10 acres
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#29. Carlsbad Caverns National Park (New Mexico)

- Distance: 916 miles
- Driving time: 16.6 hours
- Date founded: May 14, 1930
- 2020 visitors: 183,835 (#45 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 46,766.45 acres
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#30. Olympic National Park (Washington)

- Distance: 944 miles
- Driving time: 20.1 hours
- Date founded: June 29, 1938
- 2020 visitors: 2,499,177 (#9 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 922,649.41 acres

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National Park Service/Deby Dixon // Wikimedia Commons

#31. North Cascades National Park (Washington)

- Distance: 979 miles
- Driving time: 20.8 hours
- Date founded: October 2, 1968
- 2020 visitors: 30,885 (#56 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 504,780.94 acres
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#32. Glacier National Park (Montana)

- Distance: 1,032 miles
- Date founded: May 11, 1910
- 2020 visitors: 1,698,864 (#13 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 1,013,125.99 acres
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#33. Big Bend National Park (Texas)

- Distance: 1,050 miles
- Driving time: 20.6 hours
- Date founded: June 12, 1944
- 2020 visitors: 393,907 (#37 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 801,163.21 acres
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#34. Wind Cave National Park (South Dakota)

- Distance: 1,084 miles
- Driving time: 21.3 hours
- Date founded: January 9, 1903
- 2020 visitors: 448,405 (#33 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 33,970.84 acres
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#35. Badlands National Park (South Dakota)

- Distance: 1,133 miles
- Driving time: 22.7 hours
- Date founded: November 10, 1978
- 2020 visitors: 916,932 (#21 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 242,755.94 acres

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#36. Theodore Roosevelt National Park (North Dakota)

- Distance: 1,217 miles
- Driving time: 24.8 hours
- Date founded: November 10, 1978
- 2020 visitors: 551,303 (#28 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 70,446.89 acres
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#37. Hot Springs National Park (Arkansas)

- Distance: 1,535 miles
- Driving time: 27.3 hours
- Date founded: March 4, 1921
- 2020 visitors: 1,348,215 (#16 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 5,554.15 acres
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#38. Gateway Arch National Park (Missouri)

- Distance: 1,676 miles
- Driving time: 28.5 hours
- Date founded: February 22, 2018[47]
- 2020 visitors: 486,021 (#31 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 192.83 acres
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#39. Voyageurs National Park (Minnesota)

- Distance: 1,692 miles
- Driving time: 34.2 hours
- Date founded: April 8, 1975
- 2020 visitors: 263,091 (#44 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 218,222.35 acres
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#40. Glacier Bay National Park (Alaska)

- Distance: 1,830 miles
- Date founded: December 2, 1980
- 2020 visitors: 5,748 (#60 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 3,223,383.43 acres
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#41. Indiana Dunes National Park (Indiana)

- Distance: 1,851 miles
- Driving time: 31.9 hours
- Date founded: February 15, 2019
- 2020 visitors: 2,293,106 (#11 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 15,349.08 acres
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#42. Isle Royale National Park (Michigan)

- Distance: 1,868 miles
- Driving time: 37.2 hours
- Date founded: April 3, 1940
- 2020 visitors: 6,493 (#59 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 571,790.30 acres
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#43. Mammoth Cave National Park (Kentucky)

- Distance: 1,903 miles
- Driving time: 32.4 hours
- Date founded: July 1, 1941
- 2020 visitors: 290,392 (#41 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 54,011.91 acres
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Aviator31 // Wikimedia Commons

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

- Distance: 2,058 miles
- Driving time: 34.6 hours
- Date founded: June 15, 1934
- 2020 visitors: 12,095,720 (#1 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 522,426.88 acres
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#45. Wrangell–St. Elias National Park (Alaska)

- Distance: 2,072 miles
- Date founded: December 2, 1980
- 2020 visitors: 16,655 (#57 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 8,323,146.48 acres
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#46. Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Ohio)

- Distance: 2,136 miles
- Driving time: 36.5 hours
- Date founded: October 11, 2000
- 2020 visitors: 2,755,628 (#7 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 32,571.88 acres
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#47. New River Gorge National Park (West Virginia)

- Distance: 2,172 miles
- Driving time: 37.1 hours
- Date founded: December 27, 2020
- 2020 visitors: 1,054,374 (#19 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 7,021 acres
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National Park Service, Alaska Region // Wikimedia Commons

#48. Kenai Fjords National Park (Alaska)

- Distance: 2,202 miles
- Date founded: December 2, 1980
- 2020 visitors: 115,882 (#52 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 669,650.05 acres
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#49. Congaree National Park (South Carolina)

- Distance: 2,236 miles
- Driving time: 37.4 hours
- Date founded: November 10, 2003
- 2020 visitors: 119,306 (#51 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 26,476.47 acres
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Katmai National Park and Preserve // Wikimedia Commons

#50. Katmai National Park (Alaska)

- Distance: 2,301 miles
- Date founded: December 2, 1980
- 2020 visitors: 51,511 (#54 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 3,674,529.33 acres
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#51. Shenandoah National Park (Virginia)

- Distance: 2,316 miles
- Driving time: 40.0 hours
- Date founded: December 26, 1935
- 2020 visitors: 1,666,265 (#14 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 199,223.77 acres
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U.S. National Park Service // Wikimedia Commons

#52. Dry Tortugas National Park (Florida)

- Distance: 2,325 miles
- Driving time: 45.7 hours
- Date founded: October 26, 1992
- 2020 visitors: 48,543 (#55 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 64,701.22 acres
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Ryjil Christianson // Wikimedia Commons

#53. Lake Clark National Park (Alaska)

- Distance: 2,348 miles
- Date founded: December 2, 1980
- 2020 visitors: 4,948 (#61 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 2,619,816.49 acres
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Denali National Park and Preserve // Wikimedia Commons

#54. Denali National Park (Alaska)

- Distance: 2,378 miles
- Date founded: February 26, 1917
- 2020 visitors: 54,850 (#53 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 4,740,911.16 acres
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#55. Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park (Hawaii)

- Distance: 2,391 miles
- Date founded: August 1, 1916
- 2020 visitors: 589,775 (#27 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 325,605.28 acres
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#56. Haleakalā National Park (Hawaii)

- Distance: 2,395 miles
- Date founded: July 1, 1961
- 2020 visitors: 319,147 (#40 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 33,264.62 acres
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#57. Everglades National Park (Florida)

- Distance: 2,414 miles
- Driving time: 43.8 hours
- Date founded: May 30, 1934
- 2020 visitors: 702,319 (#25 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 1,508,938.57 acres
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NPS // Wikimedia Commons

#58. Biscayne National Park (Florida)

- Distance: 2,453 miles
- Driving time: 42.7 hours
- Date founded: June 28, 1980
- 2020 visitors: 402,770 (#36 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 172,971.11 acres
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National Park Service, Alaska Region // Wikimedia Commons

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

- Distance: 2,646 miles
- Date founded: December 2, 1980
- 2020 visitors: 2,872 (#63 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 7,523,897.45 acres
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LCGS Russ // Wikimedia Commons

#60. Kobuk Valley National Park (Alaska)

- Distance: 2,758 miles
- Date founded: December 2, 1980
- 2020 visitors: 11,185 (#58 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 1,750,716.16 acres
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#61. Acadia National Park (Maine)

- Distance: 2,805 miles
- Driving time: 50.8 hours
- Date founded: February 26, 1919
- 2020 visitors: 2,669,034 (#8 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 49,076.63 acres
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#62. Virgin Islands National Park (U.S. Virgin Islands)

- Distance: 3,558 miles
- Date founded: August 2, 1956
- 2020 visitors: 167,540 (#46 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 15,052.53 acres
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Tavita Togia, National Park Service // Wikimedia Commons

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

- Distance: 4,724 miles
- Date founded: October 31, 1988
- 2020 visitors: 4,819 (#62 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 8,256.67 acres

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