Closest national parks to Wilmington

Written by:
June 12, 2022
Zack Frank // Shutterstock

Closest national parks to Wilmington

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 Wilmington. National parks are ranked by closest straight line distance, measured from representative points in Wilmington, NC 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: Cities with the fastest growing home prices in Wilmington metro area

1 / 63
Jtmartin57 // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Congaree National Park (South Carolina)

- Distance: 172 miles
- Driving time: 4.2 hours
- Date founded: November 10, 2003
- 2020 visitors: 119,306 (#51 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 26,476.47 acres
2 / 63
Jon Bilous // Shutterstock

#2. Shenandoah National Park (Virginia)

- Distance: 284 miles
- Driving time: 5.9 hours
- Date founded: December 26, 1935
- 2020 visitors: 1,666,265 (#14 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 199,223.77 acres
3 / 63
Steve Heap // Shutterstock

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

- Distance: 308 miles
- Driving time: 6.1 hours
- Date founded: December 27, 2020
- 2020 visitors: 1,054,374 (#19 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 7,021 acres
4 / 63
Aviator31 // Wikimedia Commons

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

- Distance: 331 miles
- Driving time: 7.5 hours
- Date founded: June 15, 1934
- 2020 visitors: 12,095,720 (#1 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 522,426.88 acres
5 / 63
Wangkun Jia // Shutterstock

#5. Mammoth Cave National Park (Kentucky)

- Distance: 498 miles
- Driving time: 11.0 hours
- Date founded: July 1, 1941
- 2020 visitors: 290,392 (#41 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 54,011.91 acres

You may also like: People from these metros are finding new jobs in Wilmington

6 / 63
Zack Frank // Shutterstock

#6. Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Ohio)

- Distance: 511 miles
- Driving time: 10.1 hours
- Date founded: October 11, 2000
- 2020 visitors: 2,755,628 (#7 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 32,571.88 acres
7 / 63
NPS // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Biscayne National Park (Florida)

- Distance: 619 miles
- Driving time: 12.2 hours
- Date founded: June 28, 1980
- 2020 visitors: 402,770 (#36 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 172,971.11 acres
8 / 63
Simon Dannhauer // Shutterstock

#8. Everglades National Park (Florida)

- Distance: 653 miles
- Driving time: 13.1 hours
- Date founded: May 30, 1934
- 2020 visitors: 702,319 (#25 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 1,508,938.57 acres
9 / 63
Delmas Lehman // Shutterstock

#9. Indiana Dunes National Park (Indiana)

- Distance: 705 miles
- Driving time: 14.3 hours
- Date founded: February 15, 2019
- 2020 visitors: 2,293,106 (#11 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 15,349.08 acres
10 / 63
U.S. National Park Service // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Dry Tortugas National Park (Florida)

- Distance: 738 miles
- Driving time: 15.2 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: Metros where people in Wilmington are getting new jobs

11 / 63
Paul Brady Photography // Shutterstock

#11. Gateway Arch National Park (Missouri)

- Distance: 743 miles
- Driving time: 14.1 hours
- Date founded: February 22, 2018[47]
- 2020 visitors: 486,021 (#31 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 192.83 acres
12 / 63
Romiana Lee // Shutterstock

#12. Acadia National Park (Maine)

- Distance: 857 miles
- Driving time: 17.9 hours
- Date founded: February 26, 1919
- 2020 visitors: 2,669,034 (#8 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 49,076.63 acres
13 / 63
Zack Frank // Shutterstock

#13. Hot Springs National Park (Arkansas)

- Distance: 865 miles
- Driving time: 15.1 hours
- Date founded: March 4, 1921
- 2020 visitors: 1,348,215 (#16 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 5,554.15 acres
14 / 63
MDuchek // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Isle Royale National Park (Michigan)

- Distance: 1,092 miles
- Driving time: 22.4 hours
- Date founded: April 3, 1940
- 2020 visitors: 6,493 (#59 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 571,790.30 acres
15 / 63
BlueBarronPhoto // Shutterstock

#15. Voyageurs National Park (Minnesota)

- Distance: 1,240 miles
- Driving time: 24.6 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: Most expensive homes for sale in Wilmington

16 / 63
Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

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

- Distance: 1,373 miles
- Date founded: August 2, 1956
- 2020 visitors: 167,540 (#46 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 15,052.53 acres
17 / 63
Matt Ragen // Shutterstock

#17. Badlands National Park (South Dakota)

- Distance: 1,464 miles
- Driving time: 27.4 hours
- Date founded: November 10, 1978
- 2020 visitors: 916,932 (#21 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 242,755.94 acres
18 / 63
Zack Frank // Shutterstock

#18. Wind Cave National Park (South Dakota)

- Distance: 1,507 miles
- Driving time: 28.5 hours
- Date founded: January 9, 1903
- 2020 visitors: 448,405 (#33 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 33,970.84 acres
19 / 63
Eric Foltz // Shutterstock

#19. Big Bend National Park (Texas)

- Distance: 1,529 miles
- Driving time: 29.1 hours
- Date founded: June 12, 1944
- 2020 visitors: 393,907 (#37 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 801,163.21 acres
20 / 63
Doug Meek // Shutterstock

#20. Carlsbad Caverns National Park (New Mexico)

- Distance: 1,540 miles
- Driving time: 25.9 hours
- Date founded: May 14, 1930
- 2020 visitors: 183,835 (#45 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 46,766.45 acres

You may also like: Highest paying jobs in Wilmington that require a graduate degree

21 / 63
Kris Wiktor // Shutterstock

#21. Great Sand Dunes National Park (Colorado)

- Distance: 1,557 miles
- Driving time: 28.1 hours
- Date founded: September 24, 2004
- 2020 visitors: 461,532 (#32 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 107,341.87 acres
22 / 63
ShuPhoto // Shutterstock

#22. Guadalupe Mountains National Park (Texas)

- Distance: 1,569 miles
- Driving time: 26.9 hours
- Date founded: October 15, 1966
- 2020 visitors: 151,256 (#49 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 86,367.10 acres
23 / 63
Anna Krivitskaya // Shutterstock

#23. Rocky Mountain National Park (Colorado)

- Distance: 1,571 miles
- Driving time: 27.5 hours
- Date founded: January 26, 1915
- 2020 visitors: 3,305,199 (#4 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 265,807.25 acres
24 / 63
Laurens Hoddenbagh // Shutterstock

#24. Theodore Roosevelt National Park (North Dakota)

- Distance: 1,586 miles
- Driving time: 29.2 hours
- Date founded: November 10, 1978
- 2020 visitors: 551,303 (#28 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 70,446.89 acres
25 / 63
Galyna Andrushko // Shutterstock

#25. White Sands National Park (New Mexico)

- Distance: 1,630 miles
- Driving time: 27.9 hours
- Date founded: December 20, 2019[111]
- 2020 visitors: 415,383 (#34 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 146,344.31 acres

You may also like: Zip codes with the most expensive homes in Wilmington metro area

26 / 63
SL-Photography // Shutterstock

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

- Distance: 1,677 miles
- Driving time: 30.9 hours
- Date founded: October 21, 1999
- 2020 visitors: 341,620 (#39 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 30,779.83 acres
27 / 63
Sopotnicki // Shutterstock

#27. Mesa Verde National Park (Colorado)

- Distance: 1,722 miles
- Driving time: 31.1 hours
- Date founded: June 29, 1906
- 2020 visitors: 287,477 (#42 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 52,485.17 acres
28 / 63
Manamana // Shutterstock

#28. Arches National Park (Utah)

- Distance: 1,778 miles
- Driving time: 31.6 hours
- Date founded: November 12, 1971
- 2020 visitors: 1,238,083 (#17 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 76,678.98 acres
29 / 63
Manamana // Shutterstock

#29. Canyonlands National Park (Utah)

- Distance: 1,798 miles
- Driving time: 37.7 hours
- Date founded: September 12, 1964
- 2020 visitors: 493,914 (#30 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 337,597.83 acres
30 / 63
Felix Lipov // Shutterstock

#30. Petrified Forest National Park (Arizona)

- Distance: 1,807 miles
- Driving time: 29.4 hours
- Date founded: December 9, 1962
- 2020 visitors: 384,483 (#38 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 221,390.21 acres

You may also like: Highest-earning zip codes in Wilmington metro area

31 / 63
Lane V. Erickson // Shutterstock

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

- Distance: 1,863 miles
- Driving time: 34.4 hours
- Date founded: March 1, 1872
- 2020 visitors: 3,806,306 (#2 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 2,219,790.71 acres
32 / 63
Layne V. Naylor // Shutterstock

#32. Capitol Reef National Park (Utah)

- Distance: 1,865 miles
- Driving time: 33.1 hours
- Date founded: December 18, 1971
- 2020 visitors: 981,038 (#20 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 241,904.50 acres
33 / 63
Zack Frank // Shutterstock

#33. Grand Teton National Park (Wyoming)

- Distance: 1,868 miles
- Driving time: 33.4 hours
- Date founded: February 26, 1929
- 2020 visitors: 3,289,638 (#5 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 310,044.36 acres
34 / 63
kojihirano // Shutterstock

#34. Saguaro National Park (Arizona)

- Distance: 1,884 miles
- Driving time: 31.6 hours
- Date founded: October 14, 1994
- 2020 visitors: 762,226 (#24 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 92,867.42 acres
35 / 63
ronnybas frimages // Shutterstock

#35. Bryce Canyon National Park (Utah)

- Distance: 1,923 miles
- Driving time: 35.1 hours
- Date founded: February 25, 1928
- 2020 visitors: 1,464,655 (#15 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 35,835.08 acres

You may also like: Cities with the most expensive homes in Wilmington metro area

36 / 63
Josemaria Toscano // Shutterstock

#36. Grand Canyon National Park (Arizona)

- Distance: 1,930 miles
- Driving time: 32.9 hours
- Date founded: February 26, 1919
- 2020 visitors: 2,897,098 (#6 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 1,201,647.03 acres
37 / 63
Galyna Andrushko // Shutterstock

#37. Zion National Park (Utah)

- Distance: 1,972 miles
- Driving time: 35.6 hours
- Date founded: November 19, 1919
- 2020 visitors: 3,591,254 (#3 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 147,242.66 acres
38 / 63
Arlene Waller // Shutterstock

#38. Great Basin National Park (Nevada)

- Distance: 2,032 miles
- Driving time: 35.6 hours
- Date founded: October 27, 1986
- 2020 visitors: 120,248 (#50 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 77,180.00 acres
39 / 63
Pung // Shutterstock

#39. Glacier National Park (Montana)

- Distance: 2,090 miles
- Date founded: May 11, 1910
- 2020 visitors: 1,698,864 (#13 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 1,013,125.99 acres
40 / 63
Dennis Silvas // Shutterstock

#40. Joshua Tree National Park (California)

- Distance: 2,167 miles
- Driving time: 36.6 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
Bryan Brazil // Shutterstock

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

- Distance: 2,188 miles
- Driving time: 37.1 hours
- Date founded: October 31, 1994
- 2020 visitors: 820,023 (#22 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 3,408,406.73 acres
42 / 63
Patrick Poendl // Shutterstock

#42. Kings Canyon National Park (California)

- Distance: 2,278 miles
- Driving time: 43.6 hours
- Date founded: March 4, 1940
- 2020 visitors: 415,077 (#35 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 461,901.20 acres
43 / 63
Virrage Images // Shutterstock

#43. Sequoia National Park (California)

- Distance: 2,289 miles
- Driving time: 42.6 hours
- Date founded: September 25, 1890
- 2020 visitors: 796,086 (#23 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 404,062.63 acres
44 / 63
Stephen Moehle // Shutterstock

#44. Yosemite National Park (California)

- Distance: 2,320 miles
- Driving time: 42.8 hours
- Date founded: October 1, 1890
- 2020 visitors: 2,268,313 (#12 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 761,747.50 acres
45 / 63
Ethan Daniels // Shutterstock

#45. Channel Islands National Park (California)

- Distance: 2,361 miles
- Date founded: March 5, 1980
- 2020 visitors: 167,290 (#47 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 249,561.00 acres
46 / 63
Zack Frank // Shutterstock

#46. Lassen Volcanic National Park (California)

- Distance: 2,409 miles
- Driving time: 43.5 hours
- Date founded: August 9, 1916
- 2020 visitors: 542,274 (#29 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 106,589.02 acres
47 / 63
National Park Service/Deby Dixon // Wikimedia Commons

#47. North Cascades National Park (Washington)

- Distance: 2,411 miles
- Driving time: 46.7 hours
- Date founded: October 2, 1968
- 2020 visitors: 30,885 (#56 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 504,780.94 acres
48 / 63
Diane Fetzner // Shutterstock

#48. Mount Rainier National Park (Washington)

- Distance: 2,423 miles
- Driving time: 44.1 hours
- Date founded: March 2, 1899
- 2020 visitors: 1,160,754 (#18 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 236,381.64 acres
49 / 63
Yhelfman // Shutterstock

#49. Pinnacles National Park (California)

- Distance: 2,424 miles
- Driving time: 41.3 hours
- Date founded: January 10, 2013
- 2020 visitors: 165,740 (#48 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 26,685.73 acres
50 / 63
Hank Shiffman // Shutterstock

#50. Crater Lake National Park (Oregon)

- Distance: 2,432 miles
- Driving time: 44.6 hours
- Date founded: May 22, 1902
- 2020 visitors: 670,500 (#26 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 183,224.05 acres
51 / 63
f11photo // Shutterstock

#51. Olympic National Park (Washington)

- Distance: 2,511 miles
- Driving time: 47.9 hours
- Date founded: June 29, 1938
- 2020 visitors: 2,499,177 (#9 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 922,649.41 acres
52 / 63
Bob Pool // Shutterstock

#52. Redwood National Park (California)

- Distance: 2,535 miles
- Driving time: 48.0 hours
- Date founded: October 2, 1968
- 2020 visitors: 265,177 (#43 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 138,999.37 acres
53 / 63
Alan Wu // Wikimedia Commons

#53. Glacier Bay National Park (Alaska)

- Distance: 3,137 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: 3,323 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: 3,586 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: 3,599 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
National Park Service, Alaska Region // Wikimedia Commons

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

- Distance: 3,669 miles
- Date founded: December 2, 1980
- 2020 visitors: 2,872 (#63 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 7,523,897.45 acres
58 / 63
Ryjil Christianson // Wikimedia Commons

#58. Lake Clark National Park (Alaska)

- Distance: 3,707 miles
- Date founded: December 2, 1980
- 2020 visitors: 4,948 (#61 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 2,619,816.49 acres
59 / 63
Katmai National Park and Preserve // Wikimedia Commons

#59. Katmai National Park (Alaska)

- Distance: 3,786 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: 3,827 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
jo Crebbin // Shutterstock

#61. Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park (Hawaii)

- Distance: 4,774 miles
- Date founded: August 1, 1916
- 2020 visitors: 589,775 (#27 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 325,605.28 acres
62 / 63
MH Anderson Photography // Shutterstock

#62. Haleakalā National Park (Hawaii)

- Distance: 4,782 miles
- Date founded: July 1, 1961
- 2020 visitors: 319,147 (#40 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 33,264.62 acres
63 / 63
Tavita Togia, National Park Service // Wikimedia Commons

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

- Distance: 6,927 miles
- Date founded: October 31, 1988
- 2020 visitors: 4,819 (#62 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 8,256.67 acres

Trending Now