Nearly nearly 38 million visitors to national parks in the D.C. region contributed more than $1.4 billion to the local economy in 2014, according to a new report by the National Park Service.
In D.C. proper, that amounted to $685 million in visitor spending—so the escaleftors are good forsomething. That puts the District eighth for tourism spending in the country; Virginia, with a total of $929 million, ranked fourth. It also represents a pretty big jump from last year's total of $610 million.
Visitor spending mostly went to lodging (30.6 percent) and food and drink (20.3 percent), with gas and oil (11.9 percent), admissions and fees (10.2 percent) and souvenirs (9.9 percent) accounting for most of the remainder.
“The national parks in the greater Washington area attract visitors from across the country and around the world,” Regional Director Bob Vogel said in a release. “This new report shows that national park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy—returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service—and a big factor in this region’s economy as well.”
Among the most popular sites in the region are the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park (5 million visitors), George Washington Memorial Parkway (7.4 million), Korean War Veterans Memorial (3.7 million), Lincoln Memorial (7.1 million), Martin Luther King. Jr. Memorial (3.1 million), Vietnam Veterans Memorial (4.4 million), and the World Ward II Memorial (4.2 million).
For those who really want to nerd out on park data, the Park Service breaks out the visitor spending by state as well as the figures for a number of the most popular sites in the country. Mediate on the $$$ next time you're surrounded by shrieking school children at the Lincoln Memorial.