July 28, 2016
National parks are gaining popularity as more Americans decide to travel closer to home. Frequent reports of unrest in Europe have some would-be international travelers looking for a domestic alternative, and many are finding it in national parks. More about this release:
- Times of global uncertainty have many people turning to domestic vacations.
- Demand is off the charts this year with Americans booking trips to national parks.
- Visitation reached an all-time high in 2015, and officials expect attendance to be even higher this year.
- The U.S. National Park Service’s 100th anniversary is on August 25.
- All sites that normally charge entrance fees will offer free admission Aug. 25-28, Sept. 24 and Nov. 11.
- Download broadcast quality Sound Bites & B-RollAurora, Ill., (July 28, 2016) – National parks are gaining popularity as more Americans decide to travel closer to home. Frequent reports of unrest in Europe have some would-be international travelers looking for a domestic alternative, and many are finding it in national parks.
“The demand for national parks is off the charts this year, as Americans seek new and exciting domestic destinations,” said Beth Mosher, director of public affairs for AAA Chicago. “Unrest in European countries has left some Americans uneasy about international travel; but they’re finding equally beautiful landscapes and endless adventure right here in their own back yard.”
Visitation to national parks reached an all-time high in 2015, with more than 307 million visitors, according to the National Park Service. Travelers can expect these parks to get even busier in the year ahead as the U.S. National Park Service celebrates its 100th anniversary on Aug. 25.
Top 5 Most Visited National Parks in 2015 (National Park Service)
1. Great Smoky Mountains (10.7 million)
2. Grand Canyon (5.5 million)
3. Rocky Mountain (4.16 million)
4. Yosemite (4.10 million)
5. Yellowstone (4.1 million)
According to a recent AAA survey, the majority of Americans (79%) say they are as likely (42 percent) or more likely (37 percent) to visit a national park in the next 12 months, building on the momentum of this year’s centennial celebrations.
Eighty-five percent of Americans have visited at least one national park, and a majority say the national parks are a “must-see” vacation destination (73 percent). National parks are growing in popularity among younger generations, with nearly half of Millennials (46 percent) citing that they are more likely to visit a national park in the next year, outpacing both Generation X and Baby Boomers.
“It’s not surprising to see that younger generations are particularly interested in visiting national parks,” added Mosher. “Travel is part of Millennial (more)