Closest national parks to Baton Rouge

Written by:
July 13, 2022
U.S. National Park Service // Wikimedia Commons

Closest national parks to Baton Rouge

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 Baton Rouge. National parks are ranked by closest straight line distance, measured from representative points in Baton Rouge, LA 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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Zack Frank // Shutterstock

#1. Hot Springs National Park (Arkansas)

- Distance: 297 miles
- Driving time: 6.7 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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Wangkun Jia // Shutterstock

#2. Mammoth Cave National Park (Kentucky)

- Distance: 543 miles
- Driving time: 10.1 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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Paul Brady Photography // Shutterstock

#3. Gateway Arch National Park (Missouri)

- Distance: 562 miles
- Driving time: 9.8 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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Aviator31 // Wikimedia Commons

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

- Distance: 566 miles
- Driving time: 10.7 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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Jtmartin57 // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Congaree National Park (South Carolina)

- Distance: 647 miles
- Driving time: 11.5 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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U.S. National Park Service // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Dry Tortugas National Park (Florida)

- Distance: 648 miles
- Driving time: 16.9 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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Simon Dannhauer // Shutterstock

#7. Everglades National Park (Florida)

- Distance: 719 miles
- Driving time: 14.8 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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Eric Foltz // Shutterstock

#8. Big Bend National Park (Texas)

- Distance: 733 miles
- Driving time: 14.7 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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NPS // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Biscayne National Park (Florida)

- Distance: 753 miles
- Driving time: 13.9 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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Steve Heap // Shutterstock

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

- Distance: 775 miles
- Driving time: 13.8 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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Doug Meek // Shutterstock

#11. Carlsbad Caverns National Park (New Mexico)

- Distance: 795 miles
- Driving time: 13.9 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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Delmas Lehman // Shutterstock

#12. Indiana Dunes National Park (Indiana)

- Distance: 801 miles
- Driving time: 14.0 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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ShuPhoto // Shutterstock

#13. Guadalupe Mountains National Park (Texas)

- Distance: 819 miles
- Driving time: 15.2 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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Galyna Andrushko // Shutterstock

#14. White Sands National Park (New Mexico)

- Distance: 899 miles
- Driving time: 16.0 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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Zack Frank // Shutterstock

#15. Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Ohio)

- Distance: 913 miles
- Driving time: 16.5 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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Jon Bilous // Shutterstock

#16. Shenandoah National Park (Virginia)

- Distance: 913 miles
- Driving time: 16.1 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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Kris Wiktor // Shutterstock

#17. Great Sand Dunes National Park (Colorado)

- Distance: 961 miles
- Driving time: 17.2 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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Anna Krivitskaya // Shutterstock

#18. Rocky Mountain National Park (Colorado)

- Distance: 1,060 miles
- Driving time: 20.1 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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SL-Photography // Shutterstock

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

- Distance: 1,095 miles
- Driving time: 21.0 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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Sopotnicki // Shutterstock

#20. Mesa Verde National Park (Colorado)

- Distance: 1,097 miles
- Driving time: 20.3 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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Matt Ragen // Shutterstock

#21. Badlands National Park (South Dakota)

- Distance: 1,105 miles
- Driving time: 22.0 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

#22. Wind Cave National Park (South Dakota)

- Distance: 1,127 miles
- Driving time: 22.0 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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Felix Lipov // Shutterstock

#23. Petrified Forest National Park (Arizona)

- Distance: 1,128 miles
- Driving time: 18.6 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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kojihirano // Shutterstock

#24. Saguaro National Park (Arizona)

- Distance: 1,150 miles
- Driving time: 19.3 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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Manamana // Shutterstock

#25. Arches National Park (Utah)

- Distance: 1,189 miles
- Driving time: 22.3 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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Manamana // Shutterstock

#26. Canyonlands National Park (Utah)

- Distance: 1,195 miles
- Driving time: 27.0 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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MDuchek // Wikimedia Commons

#27. Isle Royale National Park (Michigan)

- Distance: 1,221 miles
- Driving time: 22.3 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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BlueBarronPhoto // Shutterstock

#28. Voyageurs National Park (Minnesota)

- Distance: 1,244 miles
- Driving time: 22.6 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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Layne V. Naylor // Shutterstock

#29. Capitol Reef National Park (Utah)

- Distance: 1,259 miles
- Driving time: 24.4 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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Josemaria Toscano // Shutterstock

#30. Grand Canyon National Park (Arizona)

- Distance: 1,272 miles
- Driving time: 22.1 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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ronnybas frimages // Shutterstock

#31. Bryce Canyon National Park (Utah)

- Distance: 1,298 miles
- Driving time: 25.7 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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Laurens Hoddenbagh // Shutterstock

#32. Theodore Roosevelt National Park (North Dakota)

- Distance: 1,312 miles
- Driving time: 25.9 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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Galyna Andrushko // Shutterstock

#33. Zion National Park (Utah)

- Distance: 1,340 miles
- Driving time: 25.7 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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Zack Frank // Shutterstock

#34. Grand Teton National Park (Wyoming)

- Distance: 1,411 miles
- Driving time: 26.8 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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Lane V. Erickson // Shutterstock

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

- Distance: 1,434 miles
- Driving time: 27.5 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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Arlene Waller // Shutterstock

#36. Great Basin National Park (Nevada)

- Distance: 1,436 miles
- Driving time: 27.3 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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Dennis Silvas // Shutterstock

#37. Joshua Tree National Park (California)

- Distance: 1,466 miles
- Driving time: 24.6 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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Bryan Brazil // Shutterstock

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

- Distance: 1,532 miles
- Driving time: 26.2 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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Romiana Lee // Shutterstock

#39. Acadia National Park (Maine)

- Distance: 1,571 miles
- Driving time: 29.1 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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Patrick Poendl // Shutterstock

#40. Kings Canyon National Park (California)

- Distance: 1,632 miles
- Driving time: 32.9 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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Virrage Images // Shutterstock

#41. Sequoia National Park (California)

- Distance: 1,637 miles
- Driving time: 32.0 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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Ethan Daniels // Shutterstock

#42. Channel Islands National Park (California)

- Distance: 1,669 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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Stephen Moehle // Shutterstock

#43. Yosemite National Park (California)

- Distance: 1,694 miles
- Driving time: 32.0 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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Pung // Shutterstock

#44. Glacier National Park (Montana)

- Distance: 1,741 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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Yhelfman // Shutterstock

#45. Pinnacles National Park (California)

- Distance: 1,774 miles
- Driving time: 30.5 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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Zack Frank // Shutterstock

#46. Lassen Volcanic National Park (California)

- Distance: 1,834 miles
- Driving time: 33.6 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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Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

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

- Distance: 1,856 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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Hank Shiffman // Shutterstock

#48. Crater Lake National Park (Oregon)

- Distance: 1,906 miles
- Driving time: 36.8 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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Bob Pool // Shutterstock

#49. Redwood National Park (California)

- Distance: 1,973 miles
- Driving time: 38.8 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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Diane Fetzner // Shutterstock

#50. Mount Rainier National Park (Washington)

- Distance: 1,983 miles
- Driving time: 37.2 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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National Park Service/Deby Dixon // Wikimedia Commons

#51. North Cascades National Park (Washington)

- Distance: 2,015 miles
- Driving time: 39.6 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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f11photo // Shutterstock

#52. Olympic National Park (Washington)

- Distance: 2,089 miles
- Driving time: 40.2 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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Alan Wu // Wikimedia Commons

#53. Glacier Bay National Park (Alaska)

- Distance: 2,886 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: 3,110 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: 3,344 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: 3,418 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: 3,483 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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Katmai National Park and Preserve // Wikimedia Commons

#58. Katmai National Park (Alaska)

- Distance: 3,520 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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National Park Service, Alaska Region // Wikimedia Commons

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

- Distance: 3,565 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: 3,718 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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jo Crebbin // Shutterstock

#61. Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park (Hawaii)

- Distance: 4,042 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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MH Anderson Photography // Shutterstock

#62. Haleakalā National Park (Hawaii)

- Distance: 4,062 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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Tavita Togia, National Park Service // Wikimedia Commons

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

- Distance: 6,112 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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