It was the millennial generation that first really started to completely challenge the “standard” white picket fence life their parents strived for. Many in the generation born between 1981 and 1996 prioritized travel and exploring rather than settling down.
Millennials actually make up for 40% of all National Park visits each year. Many millennials watched their grandparents wait until they were retired to travel the country and enjoy life, all while they may have not been in the best years of their health.
Why not explore some of the most beautiful places in the world while you’re living in the best years of your life instead of the harder ones?
There are 423 locations or “units” in the National Park System
The oldest National Park is Yellowstone which spans three states, Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana. It was founded in 1872.
There are some more interesting National Park facts on this infographic titled The 25 Most Visited Places in the National Park System. The map and accompanying illustrations show the breakdown of the number of visitors per park, by the millions.
I was surprised to learn that the majority of them are on the East coast, and there are a lot more monuments and bridges compared to wild outdoor spaces with camping options.
For example, the number 1 most visited National Park System in 2021 was Blue Ridge Parkway traveling through parts of Virginia and North Carolina. This parkway spans over 469 miles through protected diversities of flora and fauna. The Park had 15,948,148 visitors that year alone. Nature is imperative to the human soul and the economy.
The national park visitors for that same year contributed $42.5 billion dollars through tourism alone.
So many communities survive solely on these parks and destinations and it’s up to us to keep exploring, learning and contributing positively to the places we would love to see the most.