Closest national parks to Austin

Written by:
July 13, 2022
Kris Wiktor // Shutterstock

Closest national parks to Austin

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 Austin. National parks are ranked by closest straight line distance, measured from representative points in Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown, TX 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. Big Bend National Park (Texas)

- Distance: 344 miles
- Driving time: 8.8 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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Zack Frank // Shutterstock

#2. Hot Springs National Park (Arkansas)

- Distance: 398 miles
- Driving time: 7.2 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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#3. Carlsbad Caverns National Park (New Mexico)

- Distance: 423 miles
- Driving time: 7.7 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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ShuPhoto // Shutterstock

#4. Guadalupe Mountains National Park (Texas)

- Distance: 443 miles
- Driving time: 8.9 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

#5. White Sands National Park (New Mexico)

- Distance: 532 miles
- Driving time: 9.8 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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Kris Wiktor // Shutterstock

#6. Great Sand Dunes National Park (Colorado)

- Distance: 685 miles
- Driving time: 13.2 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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Paul Brady Photography // Shutterstock

#7. Gateway Arch National Park (Missouri)

- Distance: 717 miles
- Driving time: 12.6 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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kojihirano // Shutterstock

#8. Saguaro National Park (Arizona)

- Distance: 772 miles
- Driving time: 13.2 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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Felix Lipov // Shutterstock

#9. Petrified Forest National Park (Arizona)

- Distance: 780 miles
- Driving time: 14.5 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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Sopotnicki // Shutterstock

#10. Mesa Verde National Park (Colorado)

- Distance: 785 miles
- Driving time: 16.0 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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SL-Photography // Shutterstock

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

- Distance: 811 miles
- Driving time: 17.0 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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Wangkun Jia // Shutterstock

#12. Mammoth Cave National Park (Kentucky)

- Distance: 818 miles
- Driving time: 13.9 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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Anna Krivitskaya // Shutterstock

#13. Rocky Mountain National Park (Colorado)

- Distance: 830 miles
- Driving time: 16.0 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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Manamana // Shutterstock

#14. Canyonlands National Park (Utah)

- Distance: 890 miles
- Driving time: 22.7 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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#15. Arches National Park (Utah)

- Distance: 893 miles
- Driving time: 18.0 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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Aviator31 // Wikimedia Commons

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

- Distance: 900 miles
- Driving time: 16.3 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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Josemaria Toscano // Shutterstock

#17. Grand Canyon National Park (Arizona)

- Distance: 929 miles
- Driving time: 17.3 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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Layne V. Naylor // Shutterstock

#18. Capitol Reef National Park (Utah)

- Distance: 947 miles
- Driving time: 20.1 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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#19. Badlands National Park (South Dakota)

- Distance: 968 miles
- Driving time: 18.4 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

#20. Wind Cave National Park (South Dakota)

- Distance: 973 miles
- Driving time: 18.4 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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#21. Bryce Canyon National Park (Utah)

- Distance: 974 miles
- Driving time: 21.4 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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#22. Indiana Dunes National Park (Indiana)

- Distance: 984 miles
- Driving time: 17.4 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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U.S. National Park Service // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Dry Tortugas National Park (Florida)

- Distance: 986 miles
- Driving time: 23.5 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

#24. Zion National Park (Utah)

- Distance: 1,009 miles
- Driving time: 21.4 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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Jtmartin57 // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Congaree National Park (South Carolina)

- Distance: 1,018 miles
- Driving time: 18.2 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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#26. Everglades National Park (Florida)

- Distance: 1,077 miles
- Driving time: 21.6 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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#27. New River Gorge National Park (West Virginia)

- Distance: 1,089 miles
- Driving time: 19.3 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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#28. Joshua Tree National Park (California)

- Distance: 1,097 miles
- Driving time: 18.2 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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NPS // Wikimedia Commons

#29. Biscayne National Park (Florida)

- Distance: 1,119 miles
- Driving time: 20.6 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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#30. Great Basin National Park (Nevada)

- Distance: 1,121 miles
- Driving time: 23.0 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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Zack Frank // Shutterstock

#31. Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Ohio)

- Distance: 1,177 miles
- Driving time: 20.5 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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Zack Frank // Shutterstock

#32. Grand Teton National Park (Wyoming)

- Distance: 1,177 miles
- Driving time: 22.5 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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#33. Death Valley National Park (California, Nevada)

- Distance: 1,182 miles
- Driving time: 21.7 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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#34. Theodore Roosevelt National Park (North Dakota)

- Distance: 1,194 miles
- Driving time: 23.0 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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Lane V. Erickson // Shutterstock

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

- Distance: 1,213 miles
- Driving time: 23.5 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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#36. Shenandoah National Park (Virginia)

- Distance: 1,238 miles
- Driving time: 21.6 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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#37. Voyageurs National Park (Minnesota)

- Distance: 1,284 miles
- Driving time: 21.3 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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#38. Kings Canyon National Park (California)

- Distance: 1,285 miles
- Driving time: 27.4 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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#39. Sequoia National Park (California)

- Distance: 1,286 miles
- Driving time: 26.4 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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#40. Channel Islands National Park (California)

- Distance: 1,300 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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MDuchek // Wikimedia Commons

#41. Isle Royale National Park (Michigan)

- Distance: 1,323 miles
- Driving time: 24.2 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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#42. Yosemite National Park (California)

- Distance: 1,354 miles
- Driving time: 26.5 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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#43. Pinnacles National Park (California)

- Distance: 1,421 miles
- Driving time: 24.7 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

#44. Lassen Volcanic National Park (California)

- Distance: 1,514 miles
- Driving time: 29.1 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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Pung // Shutterstock

#45. Glacier National Park (Montana)

- Distance: 1,542 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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#46. Crater Lake National Park (Oregon)

- Distance: 1,607 miles
- Driving time: 32.4 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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#47. Redwood National Park (California)

- Distance: 1,656 miles
- Driving time: 33.4 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

#48. Mount Rainier National Park (Washington)

- Distance: 1,724 miles
- Driving time: 33.1 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

#49. North Cascades National Park (Washington)

- Distance: 1,776 miles
- Driving time: 35.5 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

#50. Olympic National Park (Washington)

- Distance: 1,834 miles
- Driving time: 36.5 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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Romiana Lee // Shutterstock

#51. Acadia National Park (Maine)

- Distance: 1,876 miles
- Driving time: 34.3 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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Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

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

- Distance: 2,223 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: 2,688 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: 2,923 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: 3,139 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: 3,239 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: 3,283 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: 3,301 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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National Park Service, Alaska Region // Wikimedia Commons

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

- Distance: 3,418 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: 3,564 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: 3,654 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: 3,676 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: 5,738 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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