2014: America's Most Loved Parks

The National Park Service set a new visitor record in 2014, attracting more than 290 million people to the nation's 405 national parks, monuments and historic sites. Here are the 10 most popular places in the national park system in 2014. [Read more about the most popular national parks]

1. Golden Gate National Recreation Area, California

In 2014, the most visited place in the national park system was California's Golden Gate National Recreation Area in San Francisco. More than 15 million tourists and locals flocked to this group of historic sites and parks, which includes Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and the Presidio. (Photo credit: NPS/Chee Tung)

2. Blue Ridge Parkway

Spectacular fall color along the Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the many reasons that nearly 14 million people visited the meandering 469 mile park (755 kilometers) in 2014. (Photo credit: Blue Ridge Parkway)

3. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains was also the most visited national park in 2014, of the 59 national parks. (Photo credit: Great Smoky Mountains National Park)

4. George Washington Memorial Parkway

George Washington Memorial Parkway in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia encompasses a scenic road, trails and historic monuments. (Photo credit: GWMP)

5. Lincoln Memorial

A supermoon rises near the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., on March 19, 2011. (Photo credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

6. Lake Mead National Recreation Area 

Lake Mead National Recreation Area in Arizona and Nevada is popular with boaters and swimmers, though lake levels are low because of an ongoing drought. (Photo credit: Lake Mead NRA Public Affairs)

7. Gateway National Recreation Area

Gateway National Recreation Area includes 26,000 acres of beaches, historic buildings and marshes near New York City. Here, autumn colors are seen at a saltmarsh landscape in Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. (Photo credit: GNRA)

8. Natchez Trace Parkway

The Natchez Trace preserves the historic trading route that connected towns and villages in the southeast. (Photo credit: Natchez Trace Parkway)

9. Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historic Park

The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal delivered Appalachian coal to coastal ports. Now a national park, it received more than 5 million visitors in 2014. (Photo credit: C&O Canal NPS)

10. Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona claimed the final spot with more than 4.7 million visitors in 2014. (Photo credit: National Park Service)

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Becky Oskin
Contributing Writer
Becky Oskin covers Earth science, climate change and space, as well as general science topics. Becky was a science reporter at Live Science and The Pasadena Star-News; she has freelanced for New Scientist and the American Institute of Physics. She earned a master's degree in geology from Caltech, a bachelor's degree from Washington State University, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz.