Most Popular National & State Parks: 2023 Camping Stats

Most Popular National & State Parks in the United States in 2023

 In this age where technology is in every space of life, many Americans are ditching tech for trees. Camping exploded in popularity in 2020 when people found themselves craving adventure with nowhere to travel at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the tradition is continuing as many are going on more financially savvy trips. 

A new report by insurance comparison website, Insuranks, finds 2 in 3 Americans are going camping in 2023, but as more people are drawn to this affordable type of vacation, it’s getting harder to find quiet places to go! We determined every state's most popular state or national park based on which ones people are searching about the most. 

Most popular national or state park in the U.S. - report by

Many people are camping across the U.S. to soak up nature and save a few pennies in the process. In a survey of more than 1,000 people, nearly 1 in 5 (19%) shared they’re going on more camping trips in 2023 to save money. However, these budget-friendly trips don’t appear to be immune to inflation. 70% feel camping is getting more expensive in 2023.

Some of the most beloved and popular camping sites to enjoy nature are national and state parks. In states that have national parks, those are often the most popular. Unsurprisingly, Yellowstone National Park is the favorite park of both Idaho and Wyoming. Although a small part of the park resides in Montana, Glacier National Park is the favorite there!

With its abundance of national and state parks, there are a lot of options for people to explore in California. But the number one choice is Joshua Tree National Park. The park beat out Yosemite as the most popular in the state.

There are so many beautiful spots in Tennessee that two state parks are tied for the best in the state. Fall Creek Falls State Park and Rock Island State Park share the top spot. Out further East, one of the most popular state parks in New York wasn’t Niagara Falls, but the Grand Canyon of the East: Letchworth State Park.

Most popular national parks in the U.S. - report by

Across the entire U.S., state parks didn’t stand a chance against national parks. The most popular parks in the nation are all national parks or trails, many of them out West. Yellowstone ranked first followed by the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park. Once again, Joshua Tree beat out Yosemite as the 5th most popular place.

In the top 10, only two parks were on the East Coast: Acadia National Park and the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. It’s no wonder the Appalachian Trail is popular… the trail spans across 14 states and is more than 2,100 miles long!

It’s a bucket list item for many to visit national or state parks, but while many love to drive through and hike in these parks, not everyone prefers to camp in these spaces. 1 in 3 prefer to camp in private campgrounds instead.

However, finding the ideal camping site is getting harder for Americans. Nearly 2 in 3 (65%) say camping spots have gotten busier since 2020. In fact, 37% had to camp elsewhere after finding first come, first serve campsites full while on a trip. For campsites requiring reservations, more than 1 in 4 (29%) are having trouble getting a spot. On average, people say they’re having to make reservations six months in advance!

While 27% find reviews to be most important when choosing a campground, some people may purposefully not review their favorite spots. More than 1 in 4 (26%) admitted they try to keep their favorite camping spot a secret so it doesn’t get too busy.

Camping vs Glamping in 2023

Whether it’s bugs or a lack of bathroom accommodations, camping isn’t for everyone. However, some are being drawn to the outdoors with the promise of “glamping.” Glamping is camping with all the amenities. It’s described as more luxurious camping because it includes comfortable sleeping arrangements, bathrooms (usually even running water!), as well as food. But all of that also comes with a price tag.

When it comes to glamping vs camping, on average, Americans are spending more to glamp. Campers will shell out an average of $258, but while glamping, people spend nearly double that: $487. The added cost appears to be worth it for those who have tried glamping because 68% say they like it better than camping.

Glamping is often promoted by influencers online, and social media seems to draw some out of their homes and into the wilderness. Nearly 1 in 6 (14%) camp in places based on how ‘Instagrammable’ it is, meaning they choose their vacations based on which will provide the best images for social media. It’s especially important for younger generations: 22% of Gen Z admit to doing this!

No matter what your motivation may be, getting outside is good for your health. Camping is a great way to breathe in some fresh air and take in the beauty of the world. We hope you have plenty of trips in your future and enjoy exploring everything this Earth has to offer.


To determine the most popular national or state park, we analyzed the Google search volume of 3,785 search phrases and terms relating to the names of state and national parks in America over the period from May 2020 to May 2023. 

In July 2023, we surveyed 1,053 people about camping habits and preferences. People ranged in age from 18 to 85, averaging 41. 50% were men, 49% were women, and 1% were nonbinary. 

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