AAA survey shows increased interest in national parks

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Visitors take a mule ride through Grand Canyon National Park.
Visitors take a mule ride through Grand Canyon National Park.

Nearly 40% of respondents to a AAA survey said they are more likely to visit a national park in the next year compared to recent years, likely building on the momentum of the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary next month, said AAA.

According to the survey, 37% are more likely to visit a national park in the next 12 months, while 42% reported no change in their likelihood to visit a national park in the next year. Twenty-one percent said they are less likely to visit a national park.

The survey found that 85% of adults have visited at least one national park. Most of them (91%) drove to their destination, while others flew (18%), took a train (10%) or a bus (10%), or cruised or took a boat (7%). Survey respondents were permitted to give multiple modes of transportation.

When it came to accommodations, the majority (66%) said they stayed in a hotel, lodge or motel when visiting a national park. Tent or RV camping was also popular, with 41% reporting that was their form of accommodations, while others stayed in a vacation rental (38%), family or friend’s home (33%) or bed and breakfast (27%).

National parks are popular, with 73% of survey respondents reporting they either agree or strongly agree that they are a must-see vacation destination. Less than one-fifth (20%) neither agreed nor disagreed that national parks are must-sees, while 9% either disagreed or strongly disagreed.

In destination, respondents’ favorite activities were walking or hiking trails, sightseeing, fishing, wildlife viewing, and swimming, snorkeling or scuba diving.

The top national parks that respondents wanted to visit were Yellowstone, Yosemite and Grand Canyon.

“The demand for national parks is off the charts this year, and it’s exciting to see that Americans are poised to take even more national park vacations in the years to come,” said Bryan Shilling, managing director of AAA Travel products and services. “In times of global uncertainty, many people are turning to domestic vacations and the wide variety of national parks offer something for every traveler to discover.”

AAA surveyed 1,012 U.S. adults contacted via telephone from June 23 to 26.

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