Mark and Andy Wilson
Mark, left, and Andy Wilson. Credit: WIS-TV/Youtube

Father and Son Set Speed Record For Visiting Every National Park

Andy Wilson and his dad Mark set the record for visiting every national park in the lower 48 states in the shortest number of days.

Guinness World Records are hit or miss. Sometimes they're really cool and other times they're sort of lame. For example, a Brazilian man recently broke the world record for the most flexible foot after he twisted it 210.66 degrees. Difficult? Extremely. Gross? Absolutely. Cool? I dunno. But a South Carolina father-and-son team just did one that was kind of awesome. Andy Wilson and his dad Mark set the record for most national parks visited in the shortest number of days. They finished their adventure on May 30 in Shenandoah National Park.

How they set the world record

Like other world records, the Wilsons' is incredibly narrow in scope. Although there are 429 national park sites, just 63 are designated as a "park." What's more, they only visited ones in the lower 48, which reduces the total number they visited to 51. So what was the record? They visited all 51 in 15 days, which means they visited about three parks per day. By now, you might be wondering: how'd they travel across the country so quickly? And the answer is Andy is a pilot and has been for five years, so they flew everywhere.

Why national parks

Although they had already visited several national parks in their lifetime, Andy told WIS-TV that the idea of visiting every national park came spontaneously. That he then had to plan for a year. Still, he thought of it as a way to spend quality time with his father. "I think when it comes to family . . . you just don't know how long you have, and every day is a blessing and a gift," he said. He added that he wanted to create meaningful memories. For those who desire something more, he suggested: "Take the time and do something — it doesn't have to be as insane and crazy as what we did — but make the time to have those experiences together."