Visitation to National Park System sites across the country was down in 2018 versus 2017, however the Cape Hatteras National Seashore was one of the notable exceptions of the park system’s 418 units, with the highest recorded visitation since 2003.
Cape Hatteras National Seashore (CHNS) recorded 157,353 more visitors in 2018 over 2017, with a total of 2,591,056 visitors reported in 2018.
Across the board, the National Park System received more 318 million recreational visits in 2018, which was a 12.67 million decrease (or 3.8%) from 2017. Even so, 2018 was the third highest year for recreation visits throughout the country, behind 2016 and 2017.
CHNS also ranked #43 in terms of visitation out of all NPS system sites, with the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Blue Ridge Parkway, and Great Smoky Mountains National Park coming in first, second and third place, respectively.
Cape Hatteras NS was also the third most visited National Seashore out of 10 designated sites, behind Gulf Islands NS in Florida, (which recorded 4,229,968 visits), and Cape Cod NS in Massachusetts, (which recorded 3,926,462 visits for the year.)
“I am happy that America’s first national seashore reached a level of visitation in 2018 that has not been seen in 15 years — a clear indication that Americans love the special places and resources that the National Park Service works hard to protect,” stated National Parks of Eastern North Carolina Superintendent David Hallac. “Cape Hatteras National Seashore staff look forward to welcoming many more recreational visitors in 2019.”