Spending time in the wilderness is one of the best ways to cope better with stress, feel happier and have more self-esteem, according to science. Going on a hike or a camping trip in America’s national treasures, which are its parks, may be one of the best ideas you’ll have all year. The problem is which one.
Last year was a record-breaking one in terms of visits to the national parks, the country’s “best idea.” There were 331 million recreation stays—a third consecutive all-time attendance record for the National Park Service (NPS).
Half of all national park visits was recorded in 26 parks, but it grew more than 10 percent in parks that see more modest annual visitation. The National Park Services’ centennial is one factor that helped drive the record numbers.
Four parks were included in the statistics system because they reported visitation for the first time. They contribute with about 300,000 visits to the total.