7 USA Towns Furthest from National Parks
Planning a vacation to towns furthest from national parks might not be on everyone’s bucket list. But you’ll be surprised at what can you might find in the most unlikely places.
Set your scopes on locations offering natural beauty without the crowds of national parks. You’ll likely be the only person you know choosing to visit one of these lesser-known towns.
About the Towns Furthest from National Parks
The towns on this list offer the adventurous and curious traveler an opportunity to explore off-the-beaten-path destinations.
While they may not be close to national parks, they all have unique aspects that make them worth visiting. State parks and nature preserves offer a different perspective of nature from the large, often overly crowded, national parks.
Most of these towns are located along the Gulf Coast or up through the center of the country. They’re along large swaths of land that many people overlook when planning vacations.
Let’s see what these seven towns furthest from national parks offer.
#7 Pascagoula, Mississippi
About the Town: Located along the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, Pascagoula is 388 miles from Hot Springs National Park. With a population of about 22,000, it’s perfect for a peaceful weekend getaway.
While this town may seem far from a significant national attraction, it has a lot to offer visitors.
The Historic Pascagoula Bike Trail has 15 points of interest along the route. Keep your camera handy for shots of the Round Island Lighthouse, several historic districts, and singer Jimmy Buffets’ childhood home. In Lighthouse Park, you can sit under the branches of the beautiful century-old Gateway oak tree.
Closest State Park in the Area: Shepard State Park sits just six miles outside Pascagoula. The park offers eight miles of nature trails, a disc golf course, a dog park, and an archery range.
Camping is available for $18 per night for RV and tent campers. Sites include 30 and 50-Amp electric service and water hookups with a dump station available for use.
Best Campground Near Town: A short half-hour drive from Pascagoula is the Gulf Beach RV resort in Biloxi, Mississippi.
Enjoy views of the Gulf of Mexico, on-site restaurants, a pool, clubhouse, and on-site laundry facilities. All sites are on concrete pads with 30/50-Amp full hookups available.
#6 Brookville, Kansas
About the Town: This tiny town of about 250 people is around 400 miles from the closest national park. In fact, it’s equidistant between Gateway Arch National Park in Missouri and Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.
Brookville started because of the railroad and reached its highest population density, approximately 800 people, in the 1870s. Now, the area is nearly a ghost town with just a few small businesses, including a couple of restaurants and a church.
Beyond saying you’ve been there, Brookville doesn’t have much to offer. So you might want to stay in Salina, which is about 20 minutes east of Brookville. Salina offers a zoo and a water park, plus it has a small museum and nature discovery center. Better yet, stay at Kanopolis State Park…
Closest State Park in the Area: Kanopolis State Park, located 15 miles south of Brookville, offers a little something for everyone. Activities include fishing, boating, hiking, and wildlife viewing.
Nearby Mushroom Rock State Park is a neat place to walk among unique rock formations resembling large mushrooms. The rocks are the remains of beach sands and sediment from the Cretaceous Period dating as far back as 144 million years ago.
Best Campground Near Town: The Riverside Campground, located half an hour away from Brookville, sits along the banks of Kanopolis Lake.
Operated by the Army Corp of Engineers, RV and tent camping sites can be reserved for $20 per night. Partial hookups are available with 20 and 30-Amp electric service and water. The sites can accommodate RVs and trailers up to 28 feet long.
#5 Warrington, Florida
About the Town: Warrington is located 402 miles from Hot Springs National Park. Covering only eight square miles of land with a population of just over 15,000, this is a quaint get-away from city life.
If you’re a fan of the paranormal, the Seville Quarter Haunted Ghost Tour and Lunch will be right up your alley. You’ll have your chance to dine in Pensacola’s most haunted and oldest restaurant.
Pensacola, Florida, is just six miles away and offers a variety of entertainment and activity options.
Closest State Park in the Area: Tarkiln Bayou Preserve State Park is a short 10-mile drive from Warrington. The park is over 4000 acres and offers many family-friendly activities. Nature lovers will appreciate the opportunity to view the endangered pitcher plant native to the Gulf Coast.
The Tarkiln Bayou Trail is a half-mile ADA-accessible trail. The observation area at the end of the trail offers a beautiful view of the bayou.
Big Lagoon State Park is also 10 miles from Warrington and is a popular spot for bicycling and birding. A 2.5-mile paved path allows bike riders to view tidal marshes and pine flats along the route.
Seventy-five camping sites for tents and RVs up to 40 feet are available at Big Lagoon with 30 and 50-Amp electric and water hookups. Three full-service restrooms and a dump station for also available.
Best Campground Near Town: A & M Perdido Resort, located 12 miles away, offers 56 level gravel sites with 30 and 50-Amp full hookups. Fishing, biking, and walking paths are all available to enjoy during your stay.
If you’re active or retired military, the Oak Grove Park Military FamCamp is only 5 miles away from Warrington. Their 51 RV sites offer full hookups and an affordable rate of $26-$32 per night.
#4 Matagorda, Texas
About the Town: With a population of less than 500, you’d think Matagorda wouldn’t have much to offer. However, it’s a wonderful little tourist town on the Gulf of Mexico with multiple charter fishing opportunities. It also offers a beautiful nature park that we’ll discuss later.
It’s approximately 419 miles to the nearest national site, though the closest national park is Hot Springs NP in Arkansas. Big Bend National Park is slightly farther away at the southern tip of Texas.
Closest State Park in the Area: Goose Island State Park in Rockport, Texas, may be over 100 miles away from Matagorda, but we highly recommend a visit. Here, you can visit the largest live oak in the US, appropriately named the Big Tree.
This park has two distinct areas, the mainland, and the island. On the mainland, where the Big Tree lives, you’ll see local wildlife among various flora and fauna.
If you’d rather not drive so far out of town, Matagorda Bay Nature Park offers excellent outdoor activities, which we talk about below.
Best Campground Near Town: Matagorda Bay Nature Park’s campground has full hookup sites with 30 and 50-Amp electric service. Some of the sites are pull-through and can accommodate larger RVs. Waterfront sites can be reserved if you want to be as close as possible to water activities and wildlife viewing.
Kayaking, river rafting, swimming, and beachcombing are just some of the fun to be had at this park. Naturalists also offer guided daytime tours and stargazing sessions with provided telescopes.
Pro Tip: Looking to escape the snow this winter and head south to Texas? These are 7 Pros and Cons of the Texas Gulf Coast.
#3 Venice, Louisiana
About the Town: Located along the western bank of the Mississippi River, this is the smallest and least populated town on our list. Sitting on just under 2 square miles of land, 162 people call Venice, Louisiana, home.
While it’s around 420 miles from the nearest national park, plenty of enjoyable activities are available in nearby parks and New Orleans.
Closest State Park in the Area: St. Bernard State Park is a great place to experience nature while still near a city. A network of man-made lagoons mixed with the natural setting of the Mississippi River provides a relaxing atmosphere.
New Orleans is a short 30-minute drive from the park. The proximity to city activities makes St. Bernard a great option for families wanting a little bit of everything on their vacation.
The water playground in the park is a fun way to spend a warm afternoon before settling down for a night of camping.
Best Campground Near Town: St. Bernard State Park has 51 partial hookup campsites suitable for tents and large RVs up to 45 feet long. Paved sites are set in a wooded setting and offer plenty of space to spread out.
Nightly rates are between $20-$28, depending on days of the week and time of the year you’re visiting. America the Beautiful Senior and Access pass holders get a 50% discount.
Staying here gets you close to New Orleans and the equally popular Bayou Segnette State Park.
#2 Gulf Shores, Alabama
About the Town: The resort town of Gulf Shores is 423 miles from the nearest national park. There’s a lot to do in this small town of 15,000 people.
Visitors to the area enjoy miles of beaches, fishing, boating, hiking, and wildlife viewing. Kids, and the young at heart, will enjoy Waterville USA, a 20-acre water and amusement park.
Long ago, pirates used nearby Perdido Bay to raid ships. It’s been said they likely buried their treasures around Gulf Shores, though none have been found – yet.
Closest State Park in the Area: You won’t have to go far to enjoy all that Gulf State Park has to offer. Visitors have the options of biking trails, kayaking, picnicking, fishing, and even a stroll through a butterfly garden.
There are 28 miles of trails to explore the various ecosystems throughout the park. The 3-mile Gulf Oak Ridge trail winds below ancient mossy oak trees and will have you feeling like you’re in a different world.
Best Campground Near Town: Nearly 500 camping sites are available for RVs and tents. Nightly rates are $46 and provide 30 and 50-Amp electric, water, and sewer.
You’ll camp within close proximity to nature trails, beaches, bike trails, and more to enjoy during your stay.
Pro Tip: Looking for somewhere to stay in Gulf Shores? Check out these 5 Amazing Gulf Shores Campgrounds.
#1 Adak, Alaska
About the Town: Adak, Alaska, is by far the US town furthest from any national park at about 946 miles. You’ll definitely want to scope out the attractions in closer proximity.
This 5-square-mile town is the furthest west you can go and still be within the US. It sits on Adak Island and, as of 2020, has a population of just 171.
In 1913, the government designated Adak Island as a wildlife preserve. Eagles and caribou call Adak home. You can see sea otters, seagulls, and salmon along the shores of the island.
If you really want to get away from it all, this is the place!
Closest State Park in the Area: “Close” is a relative term when considering travel in Alaska. Since Adak is the southernmost location in the state and located on an island, access is either by plane or boat.
With that said, Buskin River State Recreation Site in Kodiak, Alaska, is the closest state park to Adak. If you enjoy fishing, the Buskin River is a great place to catch sockeye and coho salmon. Hiking and biking trails are also plentiful throughout the beautiful spruce forest.
Best Place to Stay Near Town: The Adak/Aleutian Experience offers accommodations in an extraordinarily peaceful and serene setting. For $150 per night, you can stay in one of three 1,500-square foot condos. Each condo has a full kitchen, laundry room, two bedrooms, and two bathrooms.
Towns Furthest from a National Park Can Still Be Fun
This list of 7 towns furthest from national parks gives you a starting point for planning your next unique vacation. Well-known and heavily populated attractions are great sometimes.
But if you’re the kind of traveler that likes unusual locations, you’ll find these towns worth visiting.
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