Closest national parks to San Antonio

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

Closest national parks to San Antonio

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 San Antonio. National parks are ranked by closest straight line distance, measured from representative points in San Antonio-New Braunfels, 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: 280 miles
- Driving time: 7.5 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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#2. Carlsbad Caverns National Park (New Mexico)

- Distance: 395 miles
- Driving time: 6.7 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

#3. Guadalupe Mountains National Park (Texas)

- Distance: 410 miles
- Driving time: 7.2 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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Zack Frank // Shutterstock

#4. Hot Springs National Park (Arkansas)

- Distance: 478 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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Galyna Andrushko // Shutterstock

#5. White Sands National Park (New Mexico)

- Distance: 504 miles
- Driving time: 8.8 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: 696 miles
- Driving time: 13.1 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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#7. Saguaro National Park (Arizona)

- Distance: 733 miles
- Driving time: 12.1 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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#8. Petrified Forest National Park (Arizona)

- Distance: 760 miles
- Driving time: 13.5 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

#9. Mesa Verde National Park (Colorado)

- Distance: 781 miles
- Driving time: 15.4 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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Paul Brady Photography // Shutterstock

#10. Gateway Arch National Park (Missouri)

- Distance: 796 miles
- Driving time: 13.7 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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SL-Photography // Shutterstock

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

- Distance: 818 miles
- Driving time: 16.9 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

#12. Rocky Mountain National Park (Colorado)

- Distance: 853 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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#13. Canyonlands National Park (Utah)

- Distance: 887 miles
- Driving time: 22.1 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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#14. Arches National Park (Utah)

- Distance: 894 miles
- Driving time: 17.3 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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Wangkun Jia // Shutterstock

#15. Mammoth Cave National Park (Kentucky)

- Distance: 898 miles
- Driving time: 15.0 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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#16. Grand Canyon National Park (Arizona)

- Distance: 910 miles
- Driving time: 16.6 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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#17. Capitol Reef National Park (Utah)

- Distance: 940 miles
- Driving time: 19.5 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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#18. Bryce Canyon National Park (Utah)

- Distance: 962 miles
- Driving time: 20.7 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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Aviator31 // Wikimedia Commons

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

- Distance: 978 miles
- Driving time: 17.5 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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Galyna Andrushko // Shutterstock

#20. Zion National Park (Utah)

- Distance: 994 miles
- Driving time: 20.7 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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#21. Badlands National Park (South Dakota)

- Distance: 1,010 miles
- Driving time: 19.3 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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#22. Wind Cave National Park (South Dakota)

- Distance: 1,011 miles
- Driving time: 18.7 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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U.S. National Park Service // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Dry Tortugas National Park (Florida)

- Distance: 1,024 miles
- Driving time: 24.0 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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#24. Joshua Tree National Park (California)

- Distance: 1,061 miles
- Driving time: 17.2 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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#25. Indiana Dunes National Park (Indiana)

- Distance: 1,063 miles
- Driving time: 18.5 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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Jtmartin57 // Wikimedia Commons

#26. Congaree National Park (South Carolina)

- Distance: 1,091 miles
- Driving time: 19.3 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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#27. Great Basin National Park (Nevada)

- Distance: 1,111 miles
- Driving time: 22.3 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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#28. Everglades National Park (Florida)

- Distance: 1,122 miles
- Driving time: 22.2 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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#29. Death Valley National Park (California, Nevada)

- Distance: 1,156 miles
- Driving time: 20.7 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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NPS // Wikimedia Commons

#30. Biscayne National Park (Florida)

- Distance: 1,165 miles
- Driving time: 21.6 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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#31. New River Gorge National Park (West Virginia)

- Distance: 1,169 miles
- Driving time: 20.5 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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Zack Frank // Shutterstock

#32. Grand Teton National Park (Wyoming)

- Distance: 1,194 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. Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming, Montana, Idaho)

- Distance: 1,232 miles
- Driving time: 23.4 hours
- Date founded: March 1, 1872
- 2020 visitors: 3,806,306 (#2 highest among all national parks)
- Park area: 2,219,790.71 acres
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#34. Theodore Roosevelt National Park (North Dakota)

- Distance: 1,237 miles
- Driving time: 23.6 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

#35. Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Ohio)

- Distance: 1,257 miles
- Driving time: 21.6 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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#36. Sequoia National Park (California)

- Distance: 1,259 miles
- Driving time: 25.4 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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#37. Kings Canyon National Park (California)

- Distance: 1,260 miles
- Driving time: 26.4 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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#38. Channel Islands National Park (California)

- Distance: 1,263 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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#39. Shenandoah National Park (Virginia)

- Distance: 1,317 miles
- Driving time: 22.7 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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#40. Yosemite National Park (California)

- Distance: 1,332 miles
- Driving time: 25.5 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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#41. Voyageurs National Park (Minnesota)

- Distance: 1,350 miles
- Driving time: 22.5 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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#42. Pinnacles National Park (California)

- Distance: 1,393 miles
- Driving time: 23.7 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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MDuchek // Wikimedia Commons

#43. Isle Royale National Park (Michigan)

- Distance: 1,395 miles
- Driving time: 25.2 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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Zack Frank // Shutterstock

#44. Lassen Volcanic National Park (California)

- Distance: 1,500 miles
- Driving time: 28.4 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: 1,565 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: 1,601 miles
- Driving time: 30.9 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: 1,642 miles
- Driving time: 32.1 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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#48. Mount Rainier National Park (Washington)

- Distance: 1,729 miles
- Driving time: 32.5 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: 1,787 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: 1,841 miles
- Driving time: 35.5 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: 1,956 miles
- Driving time: 35.5 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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Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

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

- Distance: 2,266 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: 2,706 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: 2,943 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: 3,154 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: 3,260 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: 3,299 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: 3,312 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: 3,446 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: 3,590 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: 3,599 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: 3,623 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: 5,664 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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