What States Have No National Parks: A Comprehensive Overview - The Roving Foley's
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What States Have No National Parks: A Comprehensive Overview

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When planning a trip to explore the natural wonders of the United States, you might be surprised to learn that not every state has a national park. Out of 63 national parks in the U.S. National Park System, some states are left without one, which might make you curious about which states lack these iconic outdoor destinations.

What states have no National Park? There are actually 20 states in the United States that do not have a national park. These include Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin.

As you venture through these states without national parks, don’t worry, there are still plenty of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors and immerse yourself in the local ecosystems. Each state boasts its own hidden gems, including state parks, nature reserves, national historic sites and scenic byways, which provide a rich and diverse array of landscapes for you to discover.

campsite at Brunswick, GA
Brunswick, GA

By familiarizing yourself with the 20 states that don’t have a national park, you’ll be equipped to make informed decisions when planning your next adventure. In doing so, you may just uncover some lesser-known natural treasures that are well-worth exploring.

What States Have No National Park?

While many states in the United States boast one or more incredible national parks, there are still some that don’t have any. In this section, we will focus on the states without national parks and the main reasons for this phenomenon. It’s essential to remember that even though a state may not have a national park, it doesn’t mean that it lacks beautiful landscapes and natural attractions worth exploring.

List of States

Here’s a list of states that do not have national parks:

  • Alabama
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Mississippi
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Wisconsin

Even though these states don’t have national parks, they still have various state parks, national monuments, historic sites, and other protected areas that showcase their unique landscapes, flora, and fauna. So, when planning your next adventure, don’t overlook these states simply because they lack a national park—a diverse range of experiences still awaits you.

Idaho would also be on this list but for the tiny bit of Yellowstone National Park that crosses into the state.

Alternative Attractions

While some states in the U.S. may not have any national parks, there is still a wealth of alternative attractions that you can visit and enjoy. In this section, we’ll focus on four types of attractions: National Monuments, State Parks, National Forests, and Wildlife Refuges.

National Monuments

National Monuments offer you the opportunity to explore unique and interesting landscapes. For instance, if you find yourself in Kansas, consider visiting the Monument Rocks National Natural Landmark. This stunning geological formation will leave you in awe of its beauty.

State Parks

Without national parks in certain states, State Parks often become the highlights. In Iowa, take the chance to visit Maquoketa Caves State Park. Here, you can explore the caves and enjoy the natural beauty of the area. Heading over to Massachusetts, make sure to stop by Great Falls Park for a scenic hike with stunning river views.

our rv at henrys lake state park, idaho
Henrys Lake State Park, ID

National Forests

National Forests provide you with vast expanses of preserved wilderness, perfect for outdoor activities like hiking, camping, and wildlife watching. In Idaho, the Salmon-Challis National Forest is a must-visit. This massive forest includes the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, where you can truly immerse yourself in nature and experience a sense of solitude.

Wildlife Refuges

If you’re interested in wildlife watching and conservation, Wildlife Refuges should be at the top of your list. In Louisiana, there are numerous refuges where you can spot birds and other wildlife in their natural habitats. The state is known for its rich birdlife, so make sure to bring your binoculars and enjoy the show!

Reasons for Not Having National Parks

Lack of Federal Land

One reason for not having national parks in some states is the lack of federal land. National parks are designated and managed by the federal government, and they typically exist on federally owned and managed lands. In states where there is limited federal land, it may be more challenging to establish a national park. As you plan your travels, it’s essential to keep in mind that the availability of federally managed lands may impact the presence of national parks in various regions.

map of US federal lands
US Federal Lands

Population Density

Another factor that can contribute to the absence of national parks in certain states is population density. Highly populated areas make it less likely for large, undeveloped natural spaces to be preserved and designated as federal parks. As a result, states with higher population densities might not have national parks within their borders. When exploring densely populated states, it’s important to consider that urban development and increased population may have influenced the lack of national park presence.

Natural and Historical Significance

Lastly, the natural and historical significance of an area plays a crucial role in determining whether it can be designated as a national park. National parks are designed to preserve unique, ecologically or culturally significant sites. Some states may not have areas that meet these criteria for designation as a national park. While planning your adventures, remember that national parks are typically established to protect and showcase these extraordinary places and not all states may have suitable locations for this distinction.

Benefits of National Parks

Tourism and Economy

Visiting national parks can be a significant boost to your local and national economy. For every dollar taxpayers invest in the National Park Service (NPS), approximately $10 is returned to the U.S. economy. In 2019, U.S. parks generated $41.7 billion in economic output and supported over 340,000 jobs. By visiting these parks, you contribute to local businesses, such as hotels, restaurants, and shops. Furthermore, parks often collaborate to build partnerships with nearby communities, enhancing economic and tourism opportunities.

Conservation and Wildlife

National parks play a crucial role in preserving the natural environment, protecting wild habitats, and conserving native species. As a visitor, you can witness diverse ecosystems and unique wildlife, all within the protected confines of a park. The NPS and other organizations work tirelessly to ensure the conservation of these national treasures through various educational, scientific, and management programs.

bison at yellowstone

By visiting a national park, you become one of the many people supporting conservation efforts. The parks aim to balance the needs of visitors with the protection of natural resources, taking measures to ensure minimal impact on the environment. For instance, visitor centers provide information on eco-friendly practices, maintaining trails, and minimally invasive camping.

In summation, your visit to a national park not only benefits the economy and tourism, but also contributes to crucial conservation work, helping to preserve these natural wonders for the enjoyment of future generations.

US National Parks by State

Here is a list of the 63 current National Parks by state: For more information, see the US National Parks Service.

Alaska National Parks

Denali National Park, Alaska

Gates of the Arctic National Park, Alaska

Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska

glacier bay national park

Katmai National Park, Alaska

Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska

Kobuk Valley National Park, Alaska

Lake Clark National Park, Alaska

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Alaska

American Samoa National Parks

National Park of American Samoa, American Samoa

Arizona National Parks

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona

Saguaro National Park, Arizona

Arkansas National Parks

Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas

California National Parks

Channel Islands National Park, California

Death Valley National Park, California and Nevada

joshua tree national park

Joshua Tree National Park, California

Kings Canyon National Park, California

Lassen Volcanic National Park, California

Pinnacles National Park, California

Redwood National Park, California

Sequoia National Park, California

Yosemite National Park, California

Colorado National Parks

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colorado

Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado

Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Florida National Parks

Biscayne National Park, Florida

Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida

fort jefferson, dry tortugas

Everglades National Park, Florida

Hawaii National Parks

Haleakala National Park, Hawaii

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii

Idaho National Parks

Yellowstone National Park, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming

Kentucky National Parks

Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky

Indiana National Parks

Indiana Dunes National Park

Maine National Parks

Acadia National Park, Maine

coastline of Acadia National Park

Michigan National Parks

Isle Royale National Park, Michigan

Minnesota National Parks

Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota

Missouri National Parks

Gateway Arch National Park, Missouri

Montana National Parks

Glacier National Park, Montana

Yellowstone National Park, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming

Nevada National Parks

Death Valley National Park, California and Nevada

Great Basin National Park, Nevada

New Mexico National Parks

Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico

inside carlsbad caverns

White Sands National Park, New Mexico

North Dakota National Parks

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

North Carolina National Parks

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina and Tennessee

Ohio National Parks

Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio

Oregon National Parks

Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

South Carolina National Parks

Congaree National Park, South Carolina

South Dakota National Parks

Badlands National Park, South Dakota

Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota

Tennessee National Parks

great smoky mountains national park sign

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina and Tennessee

Texas National Parks

Big Bend National Park, Texas

Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas

Utah National Parks

Arches National Park, Utah

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Capitol Reef National Park, Utah

Zion National Park, Utah

Virgin Islands National Parks

Virgin Islands National Park, Virgin Islands

Virginia National Parks

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

shenendoah national park

Washington National Parks

Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

North Cascades National Park, Washington

Olympic National Park, Washington

West Virginia National Parks

New River Gorge National Park, West Virginia

Wyoming National Parks

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Yellowstone National Park, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming

Advocacy and Future Possibilities

Current Proposals

As you may know, there are currently 20 states in the United States without a national park. Advocacy groups and conservation organizations have been working to identify locations suitable for the establishment of new national parks in these states. Some of these proposals include creating parks to protect unique landscapes, wildlife habitats, and cultural landmarks. It is important that you stay informed about new developments and support initiatives that will protect and preserve the natural beauty of your state.

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Public Support

Public support plays a crucial role in advocating for the creation of new national parks. You can participate in discussions, attend public meetings, and join environmental groups in your state to show your support for the establishment of new parks. Additionally, you can contribute by:

  • Signing petitions that call for the establishment of new national parks in your state
  • Supporting local and national advocacy groups working towards the parks’ creation
  • Contacting your state and federal representatives to express your support for new parks
  • Follow news and social media to stay informed on any developments or opportunities to participate in support actions.

Remember, your voice and active engagement in the advocacy process can make a difference in the future of national parks in your state and the United States.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which states have the most National Parks?

California has the most with nine national parks, followed by Alaska with eight national Parks, and Utah with five.

What are the most visited national Parks?

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited

Kids and mom standing on a hiking trail
Hiking a Trail in the Blue Ridge

What is the least visited National Park?

Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve in Alaska is the least visited national park, receiving approximately 11,000 visitors per year, due to its remote location and challenging accessibility.

How Many National Parks Are There?

There are currently 63 national parks in the United States.

What was the first National Park?

Yellowstone National Park was the very first NP in the world, dating back to 1872.

Is there a National Park named after a President?

Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota is named after the 26th president of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, in honor of his dedication to preserving the natural beauty of the country.

frank foley the roving foleys
Frank Foley

Frank is the Head Hubby, Daddy, and Fix-It Guy of the Roving Foleys clan. He ia an avid traveler and has spent over 5 years traveling full time with his family. he loves helping others learn about the RV life. He has also traveled in Europe, Asia, and Australia with his wife Grainne.

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