US Shutdown: Tourist attractions and destinations affected

In case you hadn’t heard there is a little situation in the US at the moment. Having not been able to agree a budget the US Government has gone into a partial shutdown. Travelling itself is not severely affected at the moment (air traffic control and airports are operating so at least you can get there!). However, if you are planning a trip to the US in the coming days or maybe even weeks (depends on what unfolds) there may be a few of your travel “must see” attractions that may have to be scratched off the list. Check out this guide to what you might end up missing out on during a trip to the US as long as the shutdown continues.

National Parks

A staggering 401 parks and sites run by the National Parks Service will be closed as a result of the US Government Shutdown. With visitor numbers last October around the 715,000 mark there is sure to be major disruption and loss of income in the tourist trade. If you are planning a trip to the wilds of America you will have to think again.

When the shutdown commenced Yosemite in California was left, in the words of a park ranger, like a Ghost Park as it shut its doors. As did the first national park, Yellow Stone Park in Wyoming which is also part of the National Parks Service. The list goes on.

Alcatraz, the Island in San Francisco and home of the former prison, will also be cut off from visitors.

Mount Rushmore, in South Dakota, famed for its sculpture carved into the face of the rock will be closed with only some views available from a distance on the road.

Great Smokey Mountains Park, a UNESCO World heritage site and one of the countries most visited parks, will be closed for the duration.

While the Grand Canyon is on the list of closures, helicopter tours will still be able to fly over it – just don’t expect to be taking any jeep rides through it.

The Statue of Liberty and Liberty Island, high on the must visit list of those in New York, are also run by the National Parks service and will be closed to tourists. However boats trips are still running and so a view of the monument just from a little bit further afield is still possible.

While it may be disappointing that arrangements need to be altered in relation to park visits spare a thought for those already on their holiday in one of the hotels within the parks – they were given 48 hours to leave and should now be en route home or to alternative accommodation.


There are 19 Smithsonian museums operating mostly in Washington DC that have all been closed including the National Portrait Gallery, the Natural History Museum and the National Air and Space Museum. Also off the list are two popular destinations for aviation enthusiasts: the National Museum of Naval Aviation in Florida and the National Museum of the US Air Force in Ohio.

Other Attractions

The National Zoo in Washington DC will also be closed (but thankfully the animals are still being fed!) as will many of the memorial sites such as the iconic Lincoln Memorial also in Washington DC. Police tape and barricades are preventing access to tourists.

International sites run by US departments will also be closed despite not being on US soil including the Normandy American Cemetery in France.

If you are travelling to the US in coming days you will have to find alternatives from the old reliables to keep yourself occupied!

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