STACKER — As COVID-19 restrictions begin to ease up in Virginia, many are looking forward to once again enjoying the activities that were deemed off-limits during the pandemic. This includes visiting their favorite national parks.

Since the height of the pandemic, many of the country’s 63 national parks were forced to close to combat the spread of the virus.

The parks are home to at least 247 species of endangered or threatened plants and animals, and contain more than 75,000 archaeological sites and 18,000 miles of trails.

Below are the 15 nationals parks that are closest to Richmond, plus how long it would take to drive there. Before you make the trip, be sure to check the parks’ ongoing COVID guidelines on the National Park Service’s website.

Shenandoah National Park. Photo: Jon Bilous / Shutterstock

#1. Shenandoah National Park (Virginia)

  • Distance: 92 miles
  • Driving time: 2.3 hours
  • Date founded: December 26, 1935
  • 2020 visitors: 1,666,265 (#14 highest among all national parks)
  • Park area: 199,223.77 acres

#2. New River Gorge National Park (West Virginia)

  • Distance: 204 miles
  • Driving time: 4.4 hours
  • Date founded: December 27, 2020
  • 2020 visitors: 1,054,374 (#19 highest among all national parks)
  • Park area: 7,021 acres

#3. Congaree National Park (South Carolina)

  • Distance: 313 miles
  • Driving time: 6.3 hours
  • Date founded: November 10, 2003
  • 2020 visitors: 119,306 (#51 highest among all national parks)
  • Park area: 26,476.47 acres
Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Photo: Zack Frank / Shutterstock.

#4. Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Ohio)

  • Distance: 344 miles
  • Driving time: 7.3 hours
  • Date founded: October 11, 2000
  • 2020 visitors: 2,755,628 (#7 highest among all national parks)
  • Park area: 32,571.88 acres

#5. Great Smoky Mountains National Park (North Carolina, Tennessee)

  • Distance: 359 miles
  • Driving time: 7.1 hours
  • Date founded: June 15, 1934
  • 2020 visitors: 12,095,720 (#1 highest among all national parks)
  • Park area: 522,426.88 acres

#6. Mammoth Cave National Park (Kentucky)

  • Distance: 477 miles
  • Driving time: 9.7 hours
  • Date founded: July 1, 1941
  • 2020 visitors: 290,392 (#41 highest among all national parks)
  • Park area: 54,011.91 acres

#7. Indiana Dunes National Park (Indiana)

  • Distance: 590 miles
  • Driving time: 12.0 hours
  • Date founded: February 15, 2019
  • 2020 visitors: 2,293,106 (#11 highest among all national parks)
  • Park area: 15,349.08 acres
Acadia National Park. Photo: Romiana Lee / Shutterstock.

#8. Acadia National Park (Maine)

  • Distance: 680 miles
  • Driving time: 14.2 hours
  • Date founded: February 26, 1919
  • 2020 visitors: 2,669,034 (#8 highest among all national parks)
  • Park area: 49,076.63 acres

#9. Gateway Arch National Park (Missouri)

  • Distance: 700 miles
  • Driving time: 12.4 hours
  • Date founded: February 22, 2018[47]
  • 2020 visitors: 486,021 (#31 highest among all national parks)
  • Park area: 192.83 acres

#10. Biscayne National Park (Florida)

  • Distance: 825 miles
  • Driving time: 14.3 hours
  • Date founded: June 28, 1980
  • 2020 visitors: 402,770 (#36 highest among all national parks)
  • Park area: 172,971.11 acres

#11. Everglades National Park (Florida)

  • Distance: 858 miles
  • Driving time: 15.2 hours
  • Date founded: May 30, 1934
  • 2020 visitors: 702,319 (#25 highest among all national parks)
  • Park area: 1,508,938.57 acres

#12. Hot Springs National Park (Arkansas)

  • Distance: 896 miles
  • Driving time: 15.4 hours
  • Date founded: March 4, 1921
  • 2020 visitors: 1,348,215 (#16 highest among all national parks)
  • Park area: 5,554.15 acres
Isle Royale National Park. Photo: MDuchek / Wikimedia Commons.

#13. Isle Royale National Park (Michigan)

  • Distance: 927 miles
  • Driving time: 19.5 hours
  • Date founded: April 3, 1940
  • 2020 visitors: 6,493 (#59 highest among all national parks)
  • Park area: 571,790.30 acres

#14. Dry Tortugas National Park (Florida)

  • Distance: 937 miles
  • Driving time: 17.5 hours
  • Date founded: October 26, 1992
  • 2020 visitors: 48,543 (#55 highest among all national parks)
  • Park area: 64,701.22 acres

#15. Voyageurs National Park (Minnesota)

  • Distance: 1,091 miles
  • Driving time: 22.5 hours
  • Date founded: April 8, 1975
  • 2020 visitors: 263,091 (#44 highest among all national parks)
  • Park area: 218,222.35 acres

Estimated driving times are from here and are only available within the lower 48 states.