When it comes to recreation, Americans love going to a national park where they can sight see, picnic, bike, hike and much more. Many people spend their weekends at said national parks, or take vacations year-round to see places as Yosemite or Yellowstone.
Some vacationers or park visitors head to national parks via RVs, cars or SUVs with camping gear and other recreational items in tow like jetskis, or watercraft if they know the national park has a lake, river or waterway to take advantage.
Whatever way you like to visit a national park be sure you are prepared with everything you need from clothing and food a First-Aid kit in case you have an unexpected emergency.
And as a result of their increased popularity, America’s largest cities invested more than $7 billion on parks in 2018, according to a report released by the website WalletHub called 2018’s Best & Worst Cities for Recreation.
To highlight the benefits of recreational activities for consumers and economies across the country, WalletHub compared the 100 largest U.S. cities across 45 key indicators of recreation-friendliness. For each city, it examined the accessibility of entertainment and recreational facilities, the quality of parks and the weather.
Did your favorite park or state that may have a national park make the grade for being among the best or did it land in the bottom?
Best Cities for Recreation Worst Cities for Recreation
1 Orlando, FL 91 Memphis, TN
2 Las Vegas, NV 92 Gilbert, AZ
3 San Diego, CA 93 Fort Wayne, IN
4 Cincinnati, OH 94 Oakland, CA
5 Tampa, FL 95 Durham, NC
6 Atlanta, GA 96 Wichita, KS
7 Scottsdale, AZ 97 Anchorage, AK
8 Tucson, AZ 98 Hialeah, FL
9 Boise, ID 99 Jersey City, NJ
10 Philadelphia, PA 100 Irving, TX
Best vs. Worst
Not surprisingly, New York has the most park playgrounds per square root of the population, 0.5737, which is 17.4 times more than in Hialeah, Fla., the city with the fewest at 0.0330.
San Francisco has the highest share of the population with walk-able park access, 98 percent, which is 4.9 times higher than in Louisville, Ky., the city with the lowest at 20 percent.
St. Louis has the highest spending on parks per capita, $482, which is 25.4 times higher than in Jersey City, N.J., the city with the lowest at $19.
Of course, San Francisco has the most bike rental facilities per square root of the population, 0.0694, which is 49.6 times more than in Fresno, Calif., the city with the fewest at 0.0014.
For the full report, you can visit here.
The U.S. National Park Service offers these tips on its website to help you prepare before you go:
- Most national parks don’t even charge an entrance fee. Admission for those parks that do charge a fee range from $3 to $25, good for an entire carload of people for a week. And some days are fee free! An annual pass, to all of our parks, is also an option.
- Find A Park gets you where you want to go. Select a park from the list or use the map to search by state.
- Once you’ve decided where you’re headed, check out the park’s online Plan Your Visitsection. You’ll find great things to do, maps, calendars, directions, park brochures, and operating hours.
- Be sure to read the park’s Basic Information section so you can have a safe, enjoyable visit.
- If you’re traveling with children, learn more about the Junior Ranger Program. It’s sure to be a hit with the kids.
- If you’re traveling with pets, be sure to check with the park. Many of our parks allow pets on leashes and in campgrounds, some even have kennels. You’ll generally find pet information in the Plan Your Visit section or contact the park (see each park’s Contact Us page for details).
- Check out www.recreation.gov. You can make online reservations for some of our tours and campgrounds here, as well as learn about activities at other recreation sites.