Local Parks Among the Top Outdoor Areas Americans Visit to Experience the Health Benefits of Nature

(March 4, 2019)

Local park and recreation agencies offer a variety of outdoor locations where people can experience nature

Ashburn, Va. (Mar. 4, 2019) — According to a recent poll conducted by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), local parks or picnic areas are among the favorite outdoor places Americans visit to experience the health benefits of nature — such as reduced stress and increased energy levels. Other popular outdoor areas include:

  • Lakes, riverfronts or beaches (56 percent)
  • Local parks or picnic areas (55 percent)
  • Trails or campsites (36 percent)
  • Botanical gardens, arboretums, conservancies or observatories (24 percent)
  • Community playgrounds (21 percent)
  • Outdoor sporting venues such as baseball or soccer fields (20 percent)
  • Dog parks (17 percent)

People of all ages, particularly millennials (89 percent), enjoy the outdoors to experience the health benefits of nature. In addition, the clear majority of Gen Xers (82 percent) and baby boomers (77 percent) are likely to visit outdoor locations for health benefits. Furthermore, parents are more likely to visit lakes, riverfronts, beaches (64 percent) and trails or campsites (44 percent) compared to non-parents (53 percent and 32 percent, respectively) and the overall public (56 percent and 36 percent, respectively).   

“The health benefits of nature are well-established,” said Barbara Tulipane, CAE, NRPA president and CEO. “Anyone looking to experience these benefits should visit a local park or open space where there are opportunities for everyone to improve their overall health and wellness.”

Parks provide a connection to nature, which studies demonstrate relieves stress levels, tightens interpersonal relationships and improves overall mental health. Moreover, 26 percent of park and rec agencies nationwide offer nature centers where people of all ages can experience nature hands-on.

This poll is part of NRPA’s Park Pulse, a continuing series of monthly surveys that gauge the public’s opinion on topics relating to parks and recreation. To explore previous Park Pulse survey results, visit www.nrpa.org/Park-Pulse.   

To view the interactive charts with the survey results, click here.

To view the full-size infographic, click here.

To learn more about NRPA, visit www.nrpa.org.   


About the National Recreation and Park Association
The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that all Americans have access to parks and recreation for health, conservation and social equity. Through its network of 60,000 recreation and park professionals and advocates, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit www.nrpa.org. For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit www.parksandrecreation.org.