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5 closest national parks to Richmond

63 national parks contain at least 247 species of endangered or threatened plants and animals
Shenandoah National Park is about a 2-hour drive from Richmond.
Shenandoah National Park is about a 2-hour drive from Richmond.(Tony Alverson)
Published: May. 25, 2022 at 3:44 PM EDT
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Approximately 237 million people visited American national parks in 2020, representing a 28% year-over-year decrease attributed to the coronavirus pandemic. Many parks were forced to close to combat the spread of the virus, but that’s not the whole story — when the parks were open, many of them saw record crowds as throngs of people desperate to safely enjoy nature descended onto parks when they reopened.

President Woodrow Wilson in 1916 signed the act creating the National Park Service to leave natural and historic phenomenons “unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.” Since then, our national parks have welcomed visitors from around the world to experience some of the best the country has to offer and showcase the country’s natural beauty and cultural heritage.

Today, the country’s 63 national parks contain at least 247 species of endangered or threatened plants and animals, more than 75,000 archaeological sites, and 18,000 miles of trails.

Stacker compiled a list of the closest national parks to Richmond. National parks are ranked by closest straight line distance, measured from representative points in Richmond and each national park.

All featured distances and driving times are estimated using representative locations from the center of each metro and national park—for some places within the metro area, the actual distance may be slightly shorter or longer to reach the closest entryway to a park.

Be sure to check with individual parks before you visit to find out about ongoing, pandemic-related safety precautions at www.nps.gov/coronavirus.

#1. Shenandoah National Park (Virginia)

  • Distance: 92 miles
  • Driving time: 2.3 hours
  • Date founded: December 26, 1935
  • 2020 visitors: 1,666,265 (#14 highest among all national parks)
  • Park area: 199,223.77 acres

#2. New River Gorge National Park (West Virginia)

  • Distance: 204 miles
  • Driving time: 4.4 hours
  • Date founded: December 27, 2020
  • 2020 visitors: 1,054,374 (#19 highest among all national parks)
  • Park area: 7,021 acres

#3. Congaree National Park (South Carolina)

  • Distance: 313 miles
  • Driving time: 6.3 hours
  • Date founded: November 10, 2003
  • 2020 visitors: 119,306 (#51 highest among all national parks)
  • Park area: 26,476.47 acres

#4. Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Ohio)

  • Distance: 344 miles
  • Driving time: 7.3 hours
  • Date founded: October 11, 2000
  • 2020 visitors: 2,755,628 (#7 highest among all national parks)
  • Park area: 32,571.88 acres

#5. Great Smoky Mountains National Park (North Carolina, Tennessee)

  • Distance: 359 miles
  • Driving time: 7.1 hours
  • Date founded: June 15, 1934
  • 2020 visitors: 12,095,720 (#1 highest among all national parks)
  • Park area: 522,426.88 acres

Copyright 2022 Stacker via Gray Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

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