Get the RV fired up and the backpacks out of storage.

With travel restrictions still in place for many international destinations, along with a desire to avoid or escape dense populations in cities, outdoor itineraries within the U.S. are holding greater appeal as pandemic fears start to fade, according to a news release.

A recent study by ValuePenguin looked at the national park and monument visitation to see which parks saw the most and least visitors, and which ones are on the road to recovery.

Key findings:

  • National parks in 2021 reclaimed 91% of their 2019 pre-pandemic visitation. Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida was the big winner with a 154% increase in visits: nearly 2.6 million in 2021, versus roughly 1 million in 2019.
  • As pandemic fears faded, national park visitors stayed longer. While visitorship in 2021 was down 9% from 2019, the number of hours spent at national parks was down only 5%.
  • But not all parks fared the same during the early portion of the pandemic. Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park in Alaska saw a drop in visitors from more than 1.1 million in 2019 to only 297 — yes, 297 — in 2020.
  • Urban parks, monuments, and memorials typically have seen the slowest recoveries. Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, Boston National Historic Park, and the Statue of Liberty National Park in New York all ranked in the bottom five for percentage change in visitors between 2019 and 2021.

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