One sure-fire way to gauge a national park’s popularity is to look at how often it’s mentioned on social media.
“Social media continues to play a pivotal role in where we decide to travel for vacation or for a weekend trip because many social media users look to their favorite platform to find the most beautiful spots at their chosen destination,” a spokesperson for travel destination site Places To Travel told TravelAwaits.
The sheer number of hashtagged posts on Instagram can be deceiving, however, because park size varies considerably. To really dig deep, Places To Travel looked at the number of hashtags for U.S. National Parks, then divided each park’s number of hashtagged posts by its acreage to determine each park’s number of hashtagged posts per acre.
The resulting data shows the most “Instagram-able” U.S. National Parks, Places To Travel told TravelAwaits.
“This study provides a great insight into which locations are the most photogenic and can guarantee visitors that ‘perfect Insta pic,’” Places To Travel explained.
Here are the top 10 U.S. National Parks with the most hashtagged posts on Instagram per acre.
1. Gateway Arch National Park, Missouri
123 Hashtags Per Acre
Gateway Arch National Park, set on a total of just 90.9 acres in the heart of St. Louis, has 11,221 hashtagged posts on Instagram, Places To Travel points out.
The park commemorates Thomas Jefferson’s vision of a unified continental nation as well as St. Louis’s role as the “Gateway to the American West” during the 19th century. It also preserves the Old Courthouse as the site of the Dred Scott case.
2. Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
20.3 Hashtags Per Acre
Bryce Canyon National Park, which sits on 35,835 acres of land, has 728,221 hashtagged posts on Instagram, Places To Travel notes.
The park, which is known for its scenic views and fantastic hiking, also has an 18-mile road bisecting the park. Along the way, visitors can stop at four of the park’s most popular scenic overlooks: Bryce Point, Inspiration Point, Sunset Point, and Sunrise Point. Those points also serve as trailheads for some of the park’s most popular hiking trails.
3. Acadia National Park, Maine
12.1 Hashtags Per Acre
Acadia National Park, which the National Park Service (NPS) calls the “Crown Jewel of the North Atlantic Coast,” is a 47,748-acre recreation area. The park has 579,344 hashtagged Instagram posts, Places To Travel explains.
The park, which is around 50 miles from Bangor, is famous for its rocky beaches and granite peaks. Visitors travel to Acadia to enjoy 27 miles of historic motor roads, 158 miles of hiking trails, and 45 miles of carriage roads.
4. Zion National Park, Utah
9.7 Hashtags Per Acre
The 146,597-acre Zion National Park has 1,428,038 hashtagged posts on Instagram, according to Places To Travel.
Zion is well-known for rock climbing, river trips, and hiking trails because it’s home to the 15-mile-long Zion Canyon. Two of the park’s most popular hiking trails are the Narrows and Angels Landing — a 5.4-mile-long (one-way) trail that has an elevation change of 1,488 feet and offers a spectacular view of Zion Canyon below.
5. Arches National Park, Utah
8.7 Hashtags Per Acre
Also in Utah, Arches National Park is comprised of 76,519 acres. Places To Travel notes that the park has 669,062 hashtagged posts on Instagram.
People travel from around the world to see Arches’s red rock formations and landscape that the NPS describes as “timeless, dream-like, or even other-worldly.” Amazingly, the park is home to more than 2,000 natural stone arches, towers, pinnacles, and balanced rocks.
6. Haleakalā National Park, Hawaii
8.65 Hashtags Per Acre
Haleakalā National Park, which spans 30,183 acres, has 261,253 hashtagged Instagram posts, according to Places To Travel.
The park is also home to Haleakalā, Maui’s highest peak. When the Sun rises, the view is spectacular. In fact, the view is so breathtaking that the NPS now requires visitors to make a reservation. That reservation system reduces crowds and keeps the roads and parking manageable.
7. Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas
8.61 Hashtags Per Acre
Hot Springs National Park may only be comprised of 5,550 acres, but the park has 47,815 hashtagged posts on Instagram, Places To Travel explains.
Located in Hot Springs, Arkansas, the area now known as Hot Springs National Park is famous for its hot spring water which many people believe holds medicinal properties. In addition to the thermal springs, the park is known for 26 miles of hiking trails through the forest.
8. Indiana Dunes National Park, Indiana
6 Hashtags Per Acre
Indiana Dunes National Park, which has 15,349 acres, also has 92,337 hashtagged Instagram posts, Places To Travel points out.
There are 15 miles of sandy beach as well as 50 miles of trails through wetlands, prairies, rivers, and forests for visitors to explore at Indiana Dunes, just 50 miles from Chicago. The sand dunes, created by thousands of years of winds and waves from Lake Michigan, can reach heights of 100 feet or more.
9. Yosemite National Park, California
4.5 Hashtags Per Acre
Yosemite National Park, which has 3,404,670 hashtagged Instagram posts according to Places To Travel, is made up of 747,956 acres.
The park’s most crowded attraction is Yosemite Valley, which stands to reason since it’s the best place to see the world-famous granite cliffs: Half Dome and El Capitan. However, visitors from around the world also travel to Yosemite to see its numerous waterfalls, ancient Sequoia trees, deep valleys, giant meadows, vast sections of wilderness, and an abundance of wildlife.
10. National Park Of American Samoa, American Samoa
4.4 Hashtags Per Acre
Interestingly, about 4,000 acres of the National Park of American Samoa’s total 13,500 acres are underwater. The park has 59,542 hashtagged posts, Places To Travel points out.
The national park includes sections of three volcanic islands: Tutuila, Ta’ū, and Ofu. The journey to reach the park can be daunting since it’s approximately 2,600 air miles southwest of Hawaii. The park’s beauty makes the trip worthwhile, however, and many of its visitors travel there for diving and snorkeling opportunities among the many coral reefs.
While you’re thinking about a possible trip, be sure to also read all of our U.S. National Parks content, including: