National Parks Road Trip
National Parks are one of the greatest ideas the United States has ever had. With the advent of the first national park in 1872 (Yellowstone), there have been 58 more protected areas in the United States designated as National Parks. Since are they so awesome, why not try to visit them all?
There are over 2 x 1059 different routes you could take to visit the 47 national parks that lie in the contiguous United States (we checked). It could take a very, very long time to use a computer to find the absolute optimal route, and by then you could have visited all 47 National Parks in the US, as well as the other 11 in Alaska and Hawaii. As a bonus, you could have also visited all of the National Monuments, Historic Places, Lakeshores, and more (There are more than 350 of these combined!).
Looking for an Epic road trip?
Luckily, there was someone out there who created an algorithm to speed this whole process up. Randy Olson created a blog post outlining this, as well as creating an optimal road trip across the US. His road trip includes National Parks, but does not come close to visiting all of them. That’s where we come in!
In this road trip that we have constructed, we give you a pretty optimal route to take you to all 47 national parks. We chose to exclude Hawaii as it is pretty hard to drive to. We also chose to exclude Alaska due to distance from the contiguous 48 – maybe a separate Alaska National Park map is in order?
An optimal route to take you to all 47 national parks
- This route is 15,758 miles and would take you 11 days, 14 hours and 30 minutes to drive straight through each location.
- Kings Canyon is currently closed due to the wildfires that are consuming California’s forests right now, and because of that it is not included in the interactive version.
- You’ll have to take a ferry to three of these National Parks, but these directions will take you as close as you can get on land.
We also included a couple of interactive maps. The link below shows you the routes you can take (made by yours truly!).
This interactive Tableau map shows you direct lines to each destination, and you can hover over each destination for more information about each national park.
— Written by Travis Tamez // Have an idea for another road trip? Let him know!