Closest national parks to Bloomington, Illinois

Written by:
July 13, 2022
Steve Heap // Shutterstock

Closest national parks to Bloomington, Illinois

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 Bloomington, Illinois. National parks are ranked by closest straight line distance, measured from representative points in Bloomington, IL 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.

You may also like: Metros where people in Bloomington, Illinois are getting new jobs

1 / 63
Delmas Lehman // Shutterstock

#1. Indiana Dunes National Park (Indiana)

- Distance: 123 miles
- Driving time: 2.6 hours
- Date founded: February 15, 2019
- 2020 visitors: 2,293,106 (#11 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 15,349.08 acres
2 / 63
Paul Brady Photography // Shutterstock

#2. Gateway Arch National Park (Missouri)

- Distance: 147 miles
- Driving time: 2.6 hours
- Date founded: February 22, 2018[47]
- 2020 visitors: 486,021 (#31 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 192.83 acres
3 / 63
Wangkun Jia // Shutterstock

#3. Mammoth Cave National Park (Kentucky)

- Distance: 272 miles
- Driving time: 5.9 hours
- Date founded: July 1, 1941
- 2020 visitors: 290,392 (#41 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 54,011.91 acres
4 / 63
Zack Frank // Shutterstock

#4. Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Ohio)

- Distance: 385 miles
- Driving time: 7.2 hours
- Date founded: October 11, 2000
- 2020 visitors: 2,755,628 (#7 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 32,571.88 acres
5 / 63
Aviator31 // Wikimedia Commons

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

- Distance: 440 miles
- Driving time: 9.1 hours
- Date founded: June 15, 1934
- 2020 visitors: 12,095,720 (#1 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 522,426.88 acres

You may also like: Cities with the most expensive homes in Bloomington, Illinois metro area

6 / 63
Steve Heap // Shutterstock

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

- Distance: 448 miles
- Driving time: 9.1 hours
- Date founded: December 27, 2020
- 2020 visitors: 1,054,374 (#19 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 7,021 acres
7 / 63
Zack Frank // Shutterstock

#7. Hot Springs National Park (Arkansas)

- Distance: 473 miles
- Driving time: 8.8 hours
- Date founded: March 4, 1921
- 2020 visitors: 1,348,215 (#16 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 5,554.15 acres
8 / 63
MDuchek // Wikimedia Commons

#8. Isle Royale National Park (Michigan)

- Distance: 525 miles
- Driving time: 10.0 hours
- Date founded: April 3, 1940
- 2020 visitors: 6,493 (#59 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 571,790.30 acres
9 / 63
Jon Bilous // Shutterstock

#9. Shenandoah National Park (Virginia)

- Distance: 577 miles
- Driving time: 12.7 hours
- Date founded: December 26, 1935
- 2020 visitors: 1,666,265 (#14 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 199,223.77 acres
10 / 63
BlueBarronPhoto // Shutterstock

#10. Voyageurs National Park (Minnesota)

- Distance: 587 miles
- Driving time: 10.6 hours
- Date founded: April 8, 1975
- 2020 visitors: 263,091 (#44 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 218,222.35 acres

You may also like: Zip codes with the most expensive homes in Bloomington, Illinois metro area

11 / 63
Jtmartin57 // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Congaree National Park (South Carolina)

- Distance: 642 miles
- Driving time: 13.0 hours
- Date founded: November 10, 2003
- 2020 visitors: 119,306 (#51 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 26,476.47 acres
12 / 63
Matt Ragen // Shutterstock

#12. Badlands National Park (South Dakota)

- Distance: 736 miles
- Driving time: 12.9 hours
- Date founded: November 10, 1978
- 2020 visitors: 916,932 (#21 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 242,755.94 acres
13 / 63
Zack Frank // Shutterstock

#13. Wind Cave National Park (South Dakota)

- Distance: 781 miles
- Driving time: 14.3 hours
- Date founded: January 9, 1903
- 2020 visitors: 448,405 (#33 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 33,970.84 acres
14 / 63
Laurens Hoddenbagh // Shutterstock

#14. Theodore Roosevelt National Park (North Dakota)

- Distance: 855 miles
- Driving time: 15.2 hours
- Date founded: November 10, 1978
- 2020 visitors: 551,303 (#28 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 70,446.89 acres
15 / 63
Anna Krivitskaya // Shutterstock

#15. Rocky Mountain National Park (Colorado)

- Distance: 881 miles
- Driving time: 15.0 hours
- Date founded: January 26, 1915
- 2020 visitors: 3,305,199 (#4 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 265,807.25 acres

You may also like: People from these metros are finding new jobs in Bloomington, Illinois

16 / 63
Kris Wiktor // Shutterstock

#16. Great Sand Dunes National Park (Colorado)

- Distance: 914 miles
- Driving time: 16.8 hours
- Date founded: September 24, 2004
- 2020 visitors: 461,532 (#32 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 107,341.87 acres
17 / 63
SL-Photography // Shutterstock

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

- Distance: 1,015 miles
- Driving time: 19.1 hours
- Date founded: October 21, 1999
- 2020 visitors: 341,620 (#39 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 30,779.83 acres
18 / 63
Doug Meek // Shutterstock

#18. Carlsbad Caverns National Park (New Mexico)

- Distance: 1,040 miles
- Driving time: 18.3 hours
- Date founded: May 14, 1930
- 2020 visitors: 183,835 (#45 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 46,766.45 acres
19 / 63
ShuPhoto // Shutterstock

#19. Guadalupe Mountains National Park (Texas)

- Distance: 1,070 miles
- Driving time: 19.4 hours
- Date founded: October 15, 1966
- 2020 visitors: 151,256 (#49 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 86,367.10 acres
20 / 63
Sopotnicki // Shutterstock

#20. Mesa Verde National Park (Colorado)

- Distance: 1,082 miles
- Driving time: 20.9 hours
- Date founded: June 29, 1906
- 2020 visitors: 287,477 (#42 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 52,485.17 acres

You may also like: Cities with the fastest growing home prices in Bloomington, Illinois metro area

21 / 63
Romiana Lee // Shutterstock

#21. Acadia National Park (Maine)

- Distance: 1,085 miles
- Driving time: 21.9 hours
- Date founded: February 26, 1919
- 2020 visitors: 2,669,034 (#8 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 49,076.63 acres
22 / 63
Galyna Andrushko // Shutterstock

#22. White Sands National Park (New Mexico)

- Distance: 1,097 miles
- Driving time: 19.2 hours
- Date founded: December 20, 2019[111]
- 2020 visitors: 415,383 (#34 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 146,344.31 acres
23 / 63
Manamana // Shutterstock

#23. Arches National Park (Utah)

- Distance: 1,111 miles
- Driving time: 19.5 hours
- Date founded: November 12, 1971
- 2020 visitors: 1,238,083 (#17 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 76,678.98 acres
24 / 63
Eric Foltz // Shutterstock

#24. Big Bend National Park (Texas)

- Distance: 1,124 miles
- Driving time: 21.5 hours
- Date founded: June 12, 1944
- 2020 visitors: 393,907 (#37 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 801,163.21 acres
25 / 63
Lane V. Erickson // Shutterstock

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

- Distance: 1,137 miles
- Driving time: 21.2 hours
- Date founded: March 1, 1872
- 2020 visitors: 3,806,306 (#2 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 2,219,790.71 acres

You may also like: Most expensive homes for sale in Bloomington, Illinois

26 / 63
Manamana // Shutterstock

#26. Canyonlands National Park (Utah)

- Distance: 1,138 miles
- Driving time: 26.7 hours
- Date founded: September 12, 1964
- 2020 visitors: 493,914 (#30 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 337,597.83 acres
27 / 63
NPS // Wikimedia Commons

#27. Biscayne National Park (Florida)

- Distance: 1,141 miles
- Driving time: 20.4 hours
- Date founded: June 28, 1980
- 2020 visitors: 402,770 (#36 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 172,971.11 acres
28 / 63
Simon Dannhauer // Shutterstock

#28. Everglades National Park (Florida)

- Distance: 1,141 miles
- Driving time: 21.4 hours
- Date founded: May 30, 1934
- 2020 visitors: 702,319 (#25 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 1,508,938.57 acres
29 / 63
Zack Frank // Shutterstock

#29. Grand Teton National Park (Wyoming)

- Distance: 1,147 miles
- Driving time: 20.2 hours
- Date founded: February 26, 1929
- 2020 visitors: 3,289,638 (#5 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 310,044.36 acres
30 / 63
U.S. National Park Service // Wikimedia Commons

#30. Dry Tortugas National Park (Florida)

- Distance: 1,147 miles
- Driving time: 23.3 hours
- Date founded: October 26, 1992
- 2020 visitors: 48,543 (#55 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 64,701.22 acres

You may also like: Highest-earning zip codes in Bloomington, Illinois metro area

31 / 63
Felix Lipov // Shutterstock

#31. Petrified Forest National Park (Arizona)

- Distance: 1,202 miles
- Driving time: 20.3 hours
- Date founded: December 9, 1962
- 2020 visitors: 384,483 (#38 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 221,390.21 acres
32 / 63
Layne V. Naylor // Shutterstock

#32. Capitol Reef National Park (Utah)

- Distance: 1,203 miles
- Driving time: 21.1 hours
- Date founded: December 18, 1971
- 2020 visitors: 981,038 (#20 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 241,904.50 acres
33 / 63
ronnybas frimages // Shutterstock

#33. Bryce Canyon National Park (Utah)

- Distance: 1,268 miles
- Driving time: 23.2 hours
- Date founded: February 25, 1928
- 2020 visitors: 1,464,655 (#15 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 35,835.08 acres
34 / 63
Josemaria Toscano // Shutterstock

#34. Grand Canyon National Park (Arizona)

- Distance: 1,299 miles
- Driving time: 23.8 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 / 63
Galyna Andrushko // Shutterstock

#35. Zion National Park (Utah)

- Distance: 1,319 miles
- Driving time: 23.7 hours
- Date founded: November 19, 1919
- 2020 visitors: 3,591,254 (#3 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 147,242.66 acres

You may also like: Highest paying jobs in Bloomington, Illinois that require a graduate degree

36 / 63
kojihirano // Shutterstock

#36. Saguaro National Park (Arizona)

- Distance: 1,330 miles
- Driving time: 24.2 hours
- Date founded: October 14, 1994
- 2020 visitors: 762,226 (#24 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 92,867.42 acres
37 / 63
Arlene Waller // Shutterstock

#37. Great Basin National Park (Nevada)

- Distance: 1,355 miles
- Driving time: 23.7 hours
- Date founded: October 27, 1986
- 2020 visitors: 120,248 (#50 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 77,180.00 acres
38 / 63
Pung // Shutterstock

#38. Glacier National Park (Montana)

- Distance: 1,358 miles
- Date founded: May 11, 1910
- 2020 visitors: 1,698,864 (#13 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 1,013,125.99 acres
39 / 63
Bryan Brazil // Shutterstock

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

- Distance: 1,540 miles
- Driving time: 26.9 hours
- Date founded: October 31, 1994
- 2020 visitors: 820,023 (#22 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 3,408,406.73 acres
40 / 63
Dennis Silvas // Shutterstock

#40. Joshua Tree National Park (California)

- Distance: 1,556 miles
- Driving time: 27.6 hours
- Date founded: October 31, 1994
- 2020 visitors: 2,399,542 (#10 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 795,155.85 acres
41 / 63
Patrick Poendl // Shutterstock

#41. Kings Canyon National Park (California)

- Distance: 1,619 miles
- Driving time: 35.4 hours
- Date founded: March 4, 1940
- 2020 visitors: 415,077 (#35 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 461,901.20 acres
42 / 63
Virrage Images // Shutterstock

#42. Sequoia National Park (California)

- Distance: 1,634 miles
- Driving time: 33.5 hours
- Date founded: September 25, 1890
- 2020 visitors: 796,086 (#23 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 404,062.63 acres
43 / 63
Stephen Moehle // Shutterstock

#43. Yosemite National Park (California)

- Distance: 1,648 miles
- Driving time: 32.6 hours
- Date founded: October 1, 1890
- 2020 visitors: 2,268,313 (#12 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 761,747.50 acres
44 / 63
National Park Service/Deby Dixon // Wikimedia Commons

#44. North Cascades National Park (Washington)

- Distance: 1,679 miles
- Driving time: 32.1 hours
- Date founded: October 2, 1968
- 2020 visitors: 30,885 (#56 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 504,780.94 acres
45 / 63
Diane Fetzner // Shutterstock

#45. Mount Rainier National Park (Washington)

- Distance: 1,693 miles
- Driving time: 30.6 hours
- Date founded: March 2, 1899
- 2020 visitors: 1,160,754 (#18 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 236,381.64 acres
46 / 63
Zack Frank // Shutterstock

#46. Lassen Volcanic National Park (California)

- Distance: 1,711 miles
- Driving time: 29.7 hours
- Date founded: August 9, 1916
- 2020 visitors: 542,274 (#29 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 106,589.02 acres
47 / 63
Hank Shiffman // Shutterstock

#47. Crater Lake National Park (Oregon)

- Distance: 1,717 miles
- Driving time: 30.8 hours
- Date founded: May 22, 1902
- 2020 visitors: 670,500 (#26 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 183,224.05 acres
48 / 63
Ethan Daniels // Shutterstock

#48. Channel Islands National Park (California)

- Distance: 1,734 miles
- Date founded: March 5, 1980
- 2020 visitors: 167,290 (#47 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 249,561.00 acres
49 / 63
Yhelfman // Shutterstock

#49. Pinnacles National Park (California)

- Distance: 1,764 miles
- Driving time: 32.0 hours
- Date founded: January 10, 2013
- 2020 visitors: 165,740 (#48 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 26,685.73 acres
50 / 63
f11photo // Shutterstock

#50. Olympic National Park (Washington)

- Distance: 1,779 miles
- Driving time: 32.8 hours
- Date founded: June 29, 1938
- 2020 visitors: 2,499,177 (#9 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 922,649.41 acres
51 / 63
Bob Pool // Shutterstock

#51. Redwood National Park (California)

- Distance: 1,829 miles
- Driving time: 34.2 hours
- Date founded: October 2, 1968
- 2020 visitors: 265,177 (#43 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 138,999.37 acres
52 / 63
Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

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

- Distance: 2,094 miles
- Date founded: August 2, 1956
- 2020 visitors: 167,540 (#46 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 15,052.53 acres
53 / 63
Alan Wu // Wikimedia Commons

#53. Glacier Bay National Park (Alaska)

- Distance: 2,427 miles
- Date founded: December 2, 1980
- 2020 visitors: 5,748 (#60 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 3,223,383.43 acres
54 / 63
Sewtex // Wikimedia Commons

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

- Distance: 2,625 miles
- Date founded: December 2, 1980
- 2020 visitors: 16,655 (#57 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 8,323,146.48 acres
55 / 63
National Park Service, Alaska Region // Wikimedia Commons

#55. Kenai Fjords National Park (Alaska)

- Distance: 2,881 miles
- Date founded: December 2, 1980
- 2020 visitors: 115,882 (#52 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 669,650.05 acres
56 / 63
Denali National Park and Preserve // Wikimedia Commons

#56. Denali National Park (Alaska)

- Distance: 2,914 miles
- Date founded: February 26, 1917
- 2020 visitors: 54,850 (#53 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 4,740,911.16 acres
57 / 63
Ryjil Christianson // Wikimedia Commons

#57. Lake Clark National Park (Alaska)

- Distance: 3,008 miles
- Date founded: December 2, 1980
- 2020 visitors: 4,948 (#61 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 2,619,816.49 acres
58 / 63
National Park Service, Alaska Region // Wikimedia Commons

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

- Distance: 3,014 miles
- Date founded: December 2, 1980
- 2020 visitors: 2,872 (#63 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 7,523,897.45 acres
59 / 63
Katmai National Park and Preserve // Wikimedia Commons

#59. Katmai National Park (Alaska)

- Distance: 3,076 miles
- Date founded: December 2, 1980
- 2020 visitors: 51,511 (#54 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 3,674,529.33 acres
60 / 63
LCGS Russ // Wikimedia Commons

#60. Kobuk Valley National Park (Alaska)

- Distance: 3,171 miles
- Date founded: December 2, 1980
- 2020 visitors: 11,185 (#58 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 1,750,716.16 acres
61 / 63
MH Anderson Photography // Shutterstock

#61. Haleakalā National Park (Hawaii)

- Distance: 4,133 miles
- Date founded: July 1, 1961
- 2020 visitors: 319,147 (#40 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 33,264.62 acres
62 / 63
jo Crebbin // Shutterstock

#62. Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park (Hawaii)

- Distance: 4,136 miles
- Date founded: August 1, 1916
- 2020 visitors: 589,775 (#27 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 325,605.28 acres
63 / 63
Tavita Togia, National Park Service // Wikimedia Commons

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

- Distance: 6,433 miles
- Date founded: October 31, 1988
- 2020 visitors: 4,819 (#62 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 8,256.67 acres

Trending Now