Closest national parks to Champaign

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

Closest national parks to Champaign

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 Champaign. National parks are ranked by closest straight line distance, measured from representative points in Champaign-Urbana, 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.

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#1. Indiana Dunes National Park (Indiana)

- Distance: 126 miles
- Driving time: 2.5 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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Paul Brady Photography // Shutterstock

#2. Gateway Arch National Park (Missouri)

- Distance: 143 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
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Wangkun Jia // Shutterstock

#3. Mammoth Cave National Park (Kentucky)

- Distance: 235 miles
- Driving time: 5.6 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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Zack Frank // Shutterstock

#4. Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Ohio)

- Distance: 364 miles
- Driving time: 6.6 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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Aviator31 // Wikimedia Commons

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

- Distance: 402 miles
- Driving time: 8.7 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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Steve Heap // Shutterstock

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

- Distance: 413 miles
- Driving time: 8.4 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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Zack Frank // Shutterstock

#7. Hot Springs National Park (Arkansas)

- Distance: 465 miles
- Driving time: 8.2 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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Jon Bilous // Shutterstock

#8. Shenandoah National Park (Virginia)

- Distance: 545 miles
- Driving time: 11.9 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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MDuchek // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Isle Royale National Park (Michigan)

- Distance: 552 miles
- Driving time: 10.3 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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Jtmartin57 // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Congaree National Park (South Carolina)

- Distance: 603 miles
- Driving time: 12.6 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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BlueBarronPhoto // Shutterstock

#11. Voyageurs National Park (Minnesota)

- Distance: 622 miles
- Driving time: 11.2 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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Matt Ragen // Shutterstock

#12. Badlands National Park (South Dakota)

- Distance: 772 miles
- Driving time: 13.6 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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Zack Frank // Shutterstock

#13. Wind Cave National Park (South Dakota)

- Distance: 817 miles
- Driving time: 14.9 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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Laurens Hoddenbagh // Shutterstock

#14. Theodore Roosevelt National Park (North Dakota)

- Distance: 893 miles
- Driving time: 15.9 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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Anna Krivitskaya // Shutterstock

#15. Rocky Mountain National Park (Colorado)

- Distance: 911 miles
- Driving time: 15.4 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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Kris Wiktor // Shutterstock

#16. Great Sand Dunes National Park (Colorado)

- Distance: 939 miles
- Driving time: 16.9 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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SL-Photography // Shutterstock

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

- Distance: 1,043 miles
- Driving time: 19.6 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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#18. Carlsbad Caverns National Park (New Mexico)

- Distance: 1,052 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
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Romiana Lee // Shutterstock

#19. Acadia National Park (Maine)

- Distance: 1,069 miles
- Driving time: 21.5 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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#20. Guadalupe Mountains National Park (Texas)

- Distance: 1,083 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

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NPS // Wikimedia Commons

#21. Biscayne National Park (Florida)

- Distance: 1,104 miles
- Driving time: 19.5 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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#22. Everglades National Park (Florida)

- Distance: 1,105 miles
- Driving time: 20.6 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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Sopotnicki // Shutterstock

#23. Mesa Verde National Park (Colorado)

- Distance: 1,107 miles
- Driving time: 21.0 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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U.S. National Park Service // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Dry Tortugas National Park (Florida)

- Distance: 1,112 miles
- Driving time: 22.5 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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Galyna Andrushko // Shutterstock

#25. White Sands National Park (New Mexico)

- Distance: 1,112 miles
- Driving time: 19.1 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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#26. Big Bend National Park (Texas)

- Distance: 1,130 miles
- Driving time: 21.7 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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#27. Arches National Park (Utah)

- Distance: 1,139 miles
- Driving time: 20.0 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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#28. Canyonlands National Park (Utah)

- Distance: 1,165 miles
- Driving time: 27.2 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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#29. Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming, Montana, Idaho)

- Distance: 1,173 miles
- Driving time: 21.7 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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Zack Frank // Shutterstock

#30. Grand Teton National Park (Wyoming)

- Distance: 1,182 miles
- Driving time: 20.7 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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Felix Lipov // Shutterstock

#31. Petrified Forest National Park (Arizona)

- Distance: 1,224 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
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Layne V. Naylor // Shutterstock

#32. Capitol Reef National Park (Utah)

- Distance: 1,231 miles
- Driving time: 21.6 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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ronnybas frimages // Shutterstock

#33. Bryce Canyon National Park (Utah)

- Distance: 1,295 miles
- Driving time: 23.7 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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Josemaria Toscano // Shutterstock

#34. Grand Canyon National Park (Arizona)

- Distance: 1,324 miles
- Driving time: 23.9 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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Galyna Andrushko // Shutterstock

#35. Zion National Park (Utah)

- Distance: 1,346 miles
- Driving time: 24.2 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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#36. Saguaro National Park (Arizona)

- Distance: 1,348 miles
- Driving time: 24.1 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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#37. Great Basin National Park (Nevada)

- Distance: 1,385 miles
- Driving time: 24.2 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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#38. Glacier National Park (Montana)

- Distance: 1,396 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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#39. Death Valley National Park (California, Nevada)

- Distance: 1,568 miles
- Driving time: 27.4 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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#40. Joshua Tree National Park (California)

- Distance: 1,580 miles
- Driving time: 27.7 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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#41. Kings Canyon National Park (California)

- Distance: 1,647 miles
- Driving time: 35.7 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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#42. Sequoia National Park (California)

- Distance: 1,662 miles
- Driving time: 34.0 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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Stephen Moehle // Shutterstock

#43. Yosemite National Park (California)

- Distance: 1,678 miles
- Driving time: 33.1 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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National Park Service/Deby Dixon // Wikimedia Commons

#44. North Cascades National Park (Washington)

- Distance: 1,716 miles
- Driving time: 32.8 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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Diane Fetzner // Shutterstock

#45. Mount Rainier National Park (Washington)

- Distance: 1,730 miles
- Driving time: 31.4 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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Zack Frank // Shutterstock

#46. Lassen Volcanic National Park (California)

- Distance: 1,743 miles
- Driving time: 30.2 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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#47. Crater Lake National Park (Oregon)

- Distance: 1,751 miles
- Driving time: 31.3 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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#48. Channel Islands National Park (California)

- Distance: 1,760 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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Yhelfman // Shutterstock

#49. Pinnacles National Park (California)

- Distance: 1,792 miles
- Driving time: 32.5 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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f11photo // Shutterstock

#50. Olympic National Park (Washington)

- Distance: 1,817 miles
- Driving time: 33.4 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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Bob Pool // Shutterstock

#51. Redwood National Park (California)

- Distance: 1,862 miles
- Driving time: 34.7 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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Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

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

- Distance: 2,056 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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Alan Wu // Wikimedia Commons

#53. Glacier Bay National Park (Alaska)

- Distance: 2,465 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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Sewtex // Wikimedia Commons

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

- Distance: 2,663 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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National Park Service, Alaska Region // Wikimedia Commons

#55. Kenai Fjords National Park (Alaska)

- Distance: 2,920 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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Denali National Park and Preserve // Wikimedia Commons

#56. Denali National Park (Alaska)

- Distance: 2,952 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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Ryjil Christianson // Wikimedia Commons

#57. Lake Clark National Park (Alaska)

- Distance: 3,047 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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National Park Service, Alaska Region // Wikimedia Commons

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

- Distance: 3,051 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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Katmai National Park and Preserve // Wikimedia Commons

#59. Katmai National Park (Alaska)

- Distance: 3,115 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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LCGS Russ // Wikimedia Commons

#60. Kobuk Valley National Park (Alaska)

- Distance: 3,208 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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MH Anderson Photography // Shutterstock

#61. Haleakalā National Park (Hawaii)

- Distance: 4,163 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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jo Crebbin // Shutterstock

#62. Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park (Hawaii)

- Distance: 4,165 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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Tavita Togia, National Park Service // Wikimedia Commons

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

- Distance: 6,453 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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