New England's 18 National Parks operated by the National Park Service draw millions of travelers to the region each year. Which parks are the perennial annual favorites, drawing the largest numbers of visitors? Here's a quick look at the way the Top 10 Parks sort out according to 1999 attendance figures.
1999 Visitors: 4,915,414
Location: Wellfleet, Massachusetts
New England travelers love the beach! The total number of 1999 visitors to the Cape Cod National Seashore was nearly double the attendance at the next most visited National Park in the region. This park features 43,604 acres of shoreline and upland landscape features, plus lighthouses and other historic structures, numerous Cape Cod-style houses, six beaches for swimming, 11 self-guided nature trails for walking and hiking, and a variety of picnic and scenic overlook areas.
2. Acadia National Park
1999 Visitors: 2,602,227
Location: Bar Harbor, Maine
Acadia was the first National Park established east of the Mississippi River. Each year, millions of people flock to this preserved paradise that boasts ocean, mountains, forests, and lakes within its confines. Popular activities include driving the 27-mile Park Loop Road to view dazzling scenery; walking, hiking, and biking on 45 miles of carriage roads; hiking 115 miles of trails rated from easy to strenuous, fishing; boating; carriage rides; cross-country skiing; snowshoeing; and Ranger-led bird walks and other programs.
3. Boston National Historical Park
1999 Visitors: 2,330,011
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Boston National Historical Park is actually a collection of eight historic sites, seven of which are connected by the Freedom Trail, a 2.5-mile (4-km) walking tour of a total of 16 sites and structures of historic importance in downtown Boston and Charlestown. The eight sites are the Old South Meeting House, Old State House, Faneuil Hall, the Paul Revere House, Old North Church, Bunker Hill Monument, Charlestown Navy Yard, and Dorchester Heights. A visit to these sites provides an in-depth look at the roots of the American struggle for freedom.
4. Minute Man National Historical Park
1999 Visitors: 869,884
Location: Concord, Massachusetts
Since 1959, visitors to Minute Man National Historical Park have been able to roam the battlefields that served as the opening arena for the American Revolution. Minute Man consists of more than 900 acres of land that wind along original segments of the Battle Road for April 19, 1775. As an added attraction, the park also preserves and interprets the 19th-century literary revolution through The Wayside, former home of three New England writers--Nathaniel Hawthorne, Louisa May Alcott, and Margaret Sidney.
5. Salem Maritime National Historical Site
1999 Visitors: 762,869
Location: Salem, Massachusetts
New England's seafaring history is celebrated at this nine-acre park that includes 12 historic structures situated along Salem's historic waterfront. Engaging films at the Visitor Center and Orientation Center provide an overview of Salem Harbor's role in colonial trade. Visitors to this National Park will also find themselves within easy reach of all of Salem's other historic attractions.
Helpful National Park Service Links:
Salem Maritime National Historic Site Travel Basics
Salem Maritime National Historical Site for Kids