According to the National Park Service, there are 62 registered and recognized national parks in the U.S. While not every state has a national park; some have multiple parks to make up for those that don’t. Fortunately, Florida is one of the few states that have more than one.
ESTA-America.com has released a comprehensive list of all national parks ranked area size (km2) and the number of visitors over the course of a year to estimate noise levels and determine the quietest national parks in the country.
Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Park notched spots in the top-15 of the list, joining Alaska as one of two states with multiple national parks in the top-15.
It is estimated that roughly 210,000 square kilometers of U.S. land are protected by national parks, with just over 6,300 square kilometers spread between the Everglades and Dry Tortugas.
The pandemic foiled many travel plans for millions across the country and abroad, hampering the amount of travel that could have been done, but also allowed the national parks to breathe and regrow during that span of time.
Visiting national parks is a great way to experience the frontier and outdoor scenery that the country has to offer. National parks have much more to offer than meets the eye. And while most people associate the parks with adventurers, that’s not the case. National parks serve as a reminder that nature and our surrounding environment are to be protected and preserved for years to come so that the people who come after us can witness the grace and peacefulness it offers.
“As the world slowly opens up to travel once more, and we start looking forward to our next trip, it’s safe to say that many people will be itching to tick a few dream destinations from their bucket list off – such as a US national park,” said Jayne Forrester, Director of International Development at ESTA-America.com.
Taking a look at the Rankings
Florida Everglades – Coming in at number 13 on the list, Everglades National Park is Florida’s most recognized park. With thousands of wildlife species and plants, it is one of the most visited parks in the country. According to ESTA’s research, the Everglades occupies an estimated 6,106.5 (km2) and attracts over 1.1 million visitors per year, meaning the park has an estimated total of 183 visitors per (km2). It may seem like a small amount, but when compared with the top-five parks on the list, which have a combined visitors per (km2) of 12, it isn’t so quiet after all.
Dry Tortugas – Coming in at number 15, Dry Tortugas National Park is a bit of a surprise considering how remote it is. Located 70 miles off the coast of Key West, this park sits largely underwater. ESTA data revealed that Dry Tortugas occupies a measly 261.8 (km2) but attracted 79,200 visitors in 2019, bringing the visitors per square kilometer to 303. The reason for this is simply because there is a smaller landmass: visitor ratio when compared to the Everglades, making it seem less quiet than it really is.
Florida’s third national park, Biscayne National Park, came in at number 30 on the overall list for quietest parks with a visitors per kilometer squared rating of 1012. This number can be attributed to the proximity it has to the bay in Miami and the activities offered for beach-goers.
While Everglades National Park and Dry Tortugas notched top spots on the quiet list, they also were recently revealed to be some of the deadliest parks in the nation, citing transportation and swimming-related deaths as the major causes for their ranking.
Hiking, kayaking, climbing, camping, fishing, and so much more can be done at these parks. If that doesn’t interest you, a simple road trip to sightsee will suffice.
“We know that traveling again may come with some new deal-breakers, such as being able to socially distance,” added Forrester. “With this top list of the quietest national parks to choose from, you not only get to enjoy a tranquil and once-in-a-lifetime trip, but you don’t need to worry about overcrowding as the majority have less than 20 visitors per km2 each year.”
To see the full list, click here. All information is courtesy of ESTA.
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Melissa’s career in writing started more than 20 years ago. Today, she lives in South Florida with her husband and two boys.