You May Be Surprised To Learn The Two Most Visited National Parks In The U.S. Are Both In North Carolina

From the mountains to the sea, we really do have it all here in North Carolina, including the two most visited National Parks — a park and a unit — in America! (Some states aren’t fortunate enough to have even one National Park.) When it comes to scenic and spectacular outdoor recreation, the Tar Heel State is a popular place for natives and tourists alike. If you’re looking for an amazing national park to visit in North Carolina, you can’t go wrong with either the Blue Ridge Parkway or the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

When it comes to a fantastic national park to visit in North Carolina, both the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park take the cake. How fortunate are we to have the two most popular National Park locations right here at home? When was the last time you reconnected with either one? Let’s make this the year to spend more time exploring both!

Keep reading here to explore 19 of the Blue Ridge Parkway tunnels located in North Carolina!

The OIYS Visitor Center

national park to visit in North Carolina

February 11, 2022

How many national parks are in North Carolina?

Now that you’ve learned about two of the best national parks to visit in North Carolina — the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park — you may be curious to learn about other parks in the Tar Heel State. North Carolina is home to 14 national park service locations, some of which are parks, others of which are trails, sites, and units. These places include the Appalachian Trail, the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area, Carl Sandburg Home, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail, Trail of Tears National Historic Trail, Guilford Courthouse National Military Park, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Cape Lookout National Seashore, Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor, Moores Creek National Battlefield, and the Wright Brothers National Memorial.

What are the best hiking trails in North Carolina?

North Carolina is a hiking enthusiast’s dream. With no shortage of impressive trails, the Tar Heel State is perfect for hikers of all ages and abilities. If you’re looking to experience the best of North Carolina’s great outdoors, there are a handful of trails that we would recommend. At the top of the list is Roan Mountain. Offering some of the most unique mountain scenery in the state, this Western North Carolina trail is one for the books. Visit in the early summer and you can look forward to seeing rhododendron and wildflower blooms. Next up on the list would be Grandfather Trail. Despite being one of the most dangerous hikes in the region, this trail also offers amble rewards for its challenges. Other bucket-list-worthy trails include Linville Gorge, Craggy Gardens, and the Mountain-to-Sea Trail. Learn more when you read our previous article: If There Are Only 5 Hikes You Ever Do In North Carolina, Make Them These.