Jul 5, 2022 - News

Visitors spend $371M at Texas' National Parks

🏕 National Park visitor spending, 2021
Data: National Park Service; Note: Delaware does not include any National Parks that collect visitor data; Map: Axios Visuals

Heading to one of Texas' national parks this summer? Chances are you're going to buy some jerky, peanuts, gas and, if you're feeling old-school, a compass.

Nearly 6 million visitors traveled to Texas national park properties in 2021, spending more than $371 million, per new data released by the National Park Service.

The big picture: Texas has 14 National Park Service sites. This includes two national parks — Big Bend and Guadalupe Mountains National Park — and 12 national park lands, including national monuments, recreation areas, national preserves and more.

By the numbers: The properties generated nearly $580 million in economic activity last year, the highest the figure has been since officials began tracking the data in 2012.

  • At the San Antonio Missions, a national historical park and the only UNESCO World Heritage site in Texas, 1.3 million tourists generated more than $104 million in visitor spending in 2021 — the most of any NPS site in the state.
  • Park land in Texas generates 5,410 jobs.

Of note: NPS measures economic output as the total estimated value of the production of goods and services from visitor spending near park lands.

Between the lines: More than 95% of Texas land is in private hands.

  • California, 48% of which is privately owned, has nine national parks.

Nicole's thought bubble: Take a day trip to Johnson City, home of Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park.

  • The LBJ Ranch driving tour allows you to see the one-room Junction School, which the former president briefly attended as a 4-year-old, the "Texas White House," his airplane hangar and more.
  • Pro tip: Stop at a Johnson City winery on your way home.
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