Closest national parks to College Station

Written by:
June 12, 2022
Paul Brady Photography // Shutterstock

Closest national parks to College Station

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 College Station. National parks are ranked by closest straight line distance, measured from representative points in College Station-Bryan, 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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Zack Frank // Shutterstock

#1. Hot Springs National Park (Arkansas)

- Distance: 327 miles
- Driving time: 6.5 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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Eric Foltz // Shutterstock

#2. Big Bend National Park (Texas)

- Distance: 418 miles
- Driving time: 10.4 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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Doug Meek // Shutterstock

#3. Carlsbad Caverns National Park (New Mexico)

- Distance: 479 miles
- Driving time: 9.1 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: 502 miles
- Driving time: 10.3 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: 586 miles
- Driving time: 11.6 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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Paul Brady Photography // Shutterstock

#6. Gateway Arch National Park (Missouri)

- Distance: 650 miles
- Driving time: 12.1 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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Kris Wiktor // Shutterstock

#7. Great Sand Dunes National Park (Colorado)

- Distance: 705 miles
- Driving time: 12.7 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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Wangkun Jia // Shutterstock

#8. Mammoth Cave National Park (Kentucky)

- Distance: 742 miles
- Driving time: 13.2 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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Sopotnicki // Shutterstock

#9. Mesa Verde National Park (Colorado)

- Distance: 818 miles
- Driving time: 15.9 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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Aviator31 // Wikimedia Commons

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

- Distance: 823 miles
- Driving time: 15.6 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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Felix Lipov // Shutterstock

#11. Petrified Forest National Park (Arizona)

- Distance: 827 miles
- Driving time: 14.4 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

#12. Saguaro National Park (Arizona)

- Distance: 833 miles
- Driving time: 14.6 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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SL-Photography // Shutterstock

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

- Distance: 835 miles
- Driving time: 16.6 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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Anna Krivitskaya // Shutterstock

#14. Rocky Mountain National Park (Colorado)

- Distance: 838 miles
- Driving time: 15.6 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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Delmas Lehman // Shutterstock

#15. Indiana Dunes National Park (Indiana)

- Distance: 917 miles
- Driving time: 16.6 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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Manamana // Shutterstock

#16. Canyonlands National Park (Utah)

- Distance: 922 miles
- Driving time: 22.5 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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Manamana // Shutterstock

#17. Arches National Park (Utah)

- Distance: 922 miles
- Driving time: 17.8 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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U.S. National Park Service // Wikimedia Commons

#18. Dry Tortugas National Park (Florida)

- Distance: 934 miles
- Driving time: 22.6 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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Jtmartin57 // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Congaree National Park (South Carolina)

- Distance: 942 miles
- Driving time: 16.8 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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Matt Ragen // Shutterstock

#20. Badlands National Park (South Dakota)

- Distance: 955 miles
- Driving time: 17.7 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

#21. Wind Cave National Park (South Dakota)

- Distance: 963 miles
- Driving time: 18.1 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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Josemaria Toscano // Shutterstock

#22. Grand Canyon National Park (Arizona)

- Distance: 974 miles
- Driving time: 17.5 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

#23. Capitol Reef National Park (Utah)

- Distance: 981 miles
- Driving time: 19.9 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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Steve Heap // Shutterstock

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

- Distance: 1,012 miles
- Driving time: 18.5 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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ronnybas frimages // Shutterstock

#25. Bryce Canyon National Park (Utah)

- Distance: 1,012 miles
- Driving time: 21.6 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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Simon Dannhauer // Shutterstock

#26. Everglades National Park (Florida)

- Distance: 1,020 miles
- Driving time: 20.7 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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Galyna Andrushko // Shutterstock

#27. Zion National Park (Utah)

- Distance: 1,050 miles
- Driving time: 21.3 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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NPS // Wikimedia Commons

#28. Biscayne National Park (Florida)

- Distance: 1,060 miles
- Driving time: 19.7 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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Zack Frank // Shutterstock

#29. Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Ohio)

- Distance: 1,103 miles
- Driving time: 19.7 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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Dennis Silvas // Shutterstock

#30. Joshua Tree National Park (California)

- Distance: 1,154 miles
- Driving time: 19.7 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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Arlene Waller // Shutterstock

#31. Great Basin National Park (Nevada)

- Distance: 1,157 miles
- Driving time: 22.9 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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Jon Bilous // Shutterstock

#32. Shenandoah National Park (Virginia)

- Distance: 1,161 miles
- Driving time: 20.8 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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Laurens Hoddenbagh // Shutterstock

#33. Theodore Roosevelt National Park (North Dakota)

- Distance: 1,179 miles
- Driving time: 22.5 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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Zack Frank // Shutterstock

#34. Grand Teton National Park (Wyoming)

- Distance: 1,189 miles
- Driving time: 22.1 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: 1,222 miles
- Driving time: 23.1 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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Bryan Brazil // Shutterstock

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

- Distance: 1,231 miles
- Driving time: 22.3 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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BlueBarronPhoto // Shutterstock

#37. Voyageurs National Park (Minnesota)

- Distance: 1,239 miles
- Driving time: 20.9 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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MDuchek // Wikimedia Commons

#38. Isle Royale National Park (Michigan)

- Distance: 1,268 miles
- Driving time: 23.7 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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Patrick Poendl // Shutterstock

#39. Kings Canyon National Park (California)

- Distance: 1,333 miles
- Driving time: 28.8 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

#40. Sequoia National Park (California)

- Distance: 1,335 miles
- Driving time: 27.8 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

#41. Channel Islands National Park (California)

- Distance: 1,356 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

#42. Yosemite National Park (California)

- Distance: 1,399 miles
- Driving time: 27.9 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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Yhelfman // Shutterstock

#43. Pinnacles National Park (California)

- Distance: 1,472 miles
- Driving time: 26.9 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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Pung // Shutterstock

#44. Glacier National Park (Montana)

- Distance: 1,547 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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Zack Frank // Shutterstock

#45. Lassen Volcanic National Park (California)

- Distance: 1,553 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
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Hank Shiffman // Shutterstock

#46. Crater Lake National Park (Oregon)

- Distance: 1,640 miles
- Driving time: 32.6 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

#47. Redwood National Park (California)

- Distance: 1,694 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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Diane Fetzner // Shutterstock

#48. Mount Rainier National Park (Washington)

- Distance: 1,745 miles
- Driving time: 32.7 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: 1,792 miles
- Driving time: 35.4 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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Romiana Lee // Shutterstock

#50. Acadia National Park (Maine)

- Distance: 1,800 miles
- Driving time: 33.5 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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f11photo // Shutterstock

#51. Olympic National Park (Washington)

- Distance: 1,855 miles
- Driving time: 36.0 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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Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

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

- Distance: 2,165 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: 2,696 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: 2,928 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: 3,149 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: 3,243 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: 3,292 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: 3,314 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: 3,415 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: 3,563 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: 3,722 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: 3,742 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: 5,815 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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