Blue Ridge Parkway Named Most Visited National Park Service Destination

The Blue Ridge Parkway welcomed over 16.5 million visitors in 2023, making it the most visited U.S. National Park Service destination!

Blue Ridge Parkway Named Most Visited National Park Service Destination
Courtesy of the National Parks Service

The Blue Ridge Parkway remained the No. 1 most visited National Park Service destination in 2023, drawing about a million more people than then Golden Gate National Recreation Area in San Francisco, which came in at No. 2.

Known as “America’s Favorite Drive,” the Blue Ridge Parkway is a 469-mile drive that features amazing overlooks, spectacular mountain views, and awesome hiking and camping opportunities. The parkway runs from just outside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park entrance in Cherokee, NC, to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.

The Blue Ridge Parkway’s numbers have continued to rise over the years, with 14.7 million in 2018 and 15.9 million in 2021. The numbers do not include drivers who use the parkway for commuting.

The Blue Ridge Parkway is the product of a series of major public works projects, which provided a boost to the travel and tourism industry and helped the Appalachian region climb out the depths of the Great Depression in the 1930s. It was built in parts through the years, with its final section completed in 1987.

The entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway in Cherokee, NC, is about 3 hours away from Atlanta, making it a perfect weekend getaway destination. Make sure to check their website for road closures (especially in the winter months!) before heading out.

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Blue Ridge Parkway Named Most Visited National Park Service Destination