You are here

National Park Quiz 95: National Seashores

The Cape Lookout Lighthouse is illuminated by a quarter moon in this National Park Service photo. Cape Lookout National Seashore is located on the Atlantic Coast. Do you know how many other national seashores are also located on the Atlantic? Can you name them?

Take this quiz and see whether your knowledge of the national seashores is up to speed. Answers are at the end. Don't peek.

1. How many National Seashore-designated units of the National Park System are located on the Atlantic Coast? Give yourself an extra point if you can name all of them.

2. The national seashore that had the highest visitation in 2010 was
a. Padre Island National Seashore
b. Cape Cod National Seashore
c. Cape Hatteras National Seashore
d. Point Reyes National Seashore

3. Which of the following is a place in a national seashore where motorists are able to drive private vehicles on a paved road?
a. North Core Banks in Cape Lookout National Seashore
b. Long Point in Cape Cod National Seashore
c. Santa Rosa Island in Gulf Islands National Seashore
d. Cumberland Island in Cumberland Island National Seashore

4. Florida's Canaveral National Seashore shares Merritt Island with a number of other landowners, including NASA's Kennedy Space Center and a
a. national wildlife refuge
b. military base
c. state park
d. coal-burning power plant

5. All of the following national seashores contain federally designated wilderness EXCEPT: (Choose the one that "does not belong.")
a. Point Reyes National Seashore
b. Fire Island National Seashore
c. Assateague Island National Seashore
d. Cumberland Island National Seashore

6. True or false? National seashores account for less than one percent of the total area of the 394-unit National Park System.

7. True or false?  It is legal for visitors to keep seashells and sharks teeth they find on the beach at Cumberland Island National Seashore.

8. What is the largest National Seashore-designated unit (total land and water acreage) in the National Park System?

9. Name the two national seashores that have components located in more than one state.

10. Which national seashore has a visitor attraction called Portsmouth Village?

Extra Credit Question:

11. Cape Hatteras National Seashore is the oldest national seashore, having been authorized in 1937 and established in 1953. A national seashore that was authorized in 1964, but not established until much later, can be considered the youngest -- at least by date of establishment.  Can you name it?

Super Bonus Question:

12. What many consider the most viable proposal for an additional National Seashore is focused on a stretch of Hawaii's coastline. Can you identify this place and the island on which it is located?


(1) There are seven national seashores on the Atlantic Coast, including: Cape Cod, Fire Island, Assateague Island, Cape Hatteras, Cape Lookout, Cumberland Island, and Canaveral.  There are also two national seashores on the Gulf Coast ( Gulf Islands and Padre Island) and one on the Pacific Coast (Point Reyes).

(2)  b -- With nearly 4.7 million recreational visits tallied in 2010, Cape Cod National Seashore had the highest attendance of any national seashore. Gulf Islands National Seashore (4.28 million visits) was not far behind.

(3) c -- On Santa Rosa Island in Gulf Islands National Seashore, motorists can use Florida State Highway 399 to access to visitor facilities and attractions.
(4)  a -- The Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge is located on Merritt Island near Canaveral National Seashore. The Kennedy Space Center occupies the southern end of Merritt Island.
(5)  c -- There is no federally designated wilderness in Assateague Island National Seashore.

(6)  True. The ten National Seashore-designated park units encompass 595,014 acres, accounting for about 0.7% of the National Park System's total acreage.

(7) True, but there are some limitations.  “Unoccupied shells may be collected (limit 2 gallons), [and] shark teeth, dead sea stars, sea urchins and sand dollars are also allowed. Feathers, bones, and artifacts should not be disturbed.”

(8) Gulf Islands National Seashore is the largest National Seashore-designated National Park System unit. The total area of its Florida and Mississippi components measures 137,991 acres, only 19,445 acres of which is land.
(9) The two national seashores that have components located in more than one state are Gulf Islands National Seashore (Florida and Mississippi) and Assateague Island National Seashore (Maryland and Virginia).
(10) Portsmouth Village is located on North Core Banks in Cape Lookout National Seashore. Although the village boasted a population of nearly 700 in its 1860 heyday, it is now virtually abandoned. The village's remains are managed as cultural-historic resources.
(11) Having been established in 1984, New York’s Fire Island National Seashore is not only the smallest national seashore (19,579 acres), but also the youngest -- at least, by date of establishment.
(12)  Although it has not even advanced to the Special Resource Study (SRS) stage yet, a proposal to create a National Seashore on the Ka'u Coast of Hawaii's Big Island (Hawaii) is considered by many to be the most viable of the several existing proposals for additional National Seashores. The Ka'u Coast contains around 80 miles of the least-developed land in the state of Hawaii.

Grading: 9 or 10 correct, rest on your laurels; 7 or 8 correct, pretty darn good; 6 correct, passable fair; 5 or fewer correct, nothing to brag about.


The national parks and wildlife system in the USA is one of the things I miss the most. Having not been home in about three years, I think of the wildlife, seabirds, and landscape...there really is no place else like it. Well, except Canada.

Bob, regarding Questions 3 and 8: For certain, there are no paved roads on Shackleford and Core Banks at Cape Lookout, but I believe you will find a hard-surfaced entrance road and at least one paved parking lot at the Harkers Island Unit (Visitor Center). That unit is within the park boundary. Also, I'm curious where visitors will find a paved road at Cumberland Island NS as the official map at states there are no paved roads on the island itself. There is highway access to a component (visitor center, dock and admin building) of the park in St. Marys. That component has undergone significant improvements in the last decade. I doubt that would be possible if it were not within the official park boundary. Perhaps it is similar to the situation at CALO. These are really small points, but I'm curious to hear your response.

Thanks so much for the quizes. We really enjoy them and hope you'll keep them coming.

[Both questions 3 and 8 have been replaced. Ed.]

Since questions 3 and 8 have been replaced, thanks to RoadRanger's feedback, some additional explanantion is needed here. The original questions dealt with being able to access national seashores via hard-surfaced roads, and whether hard surfaced roads exist within certain parks. To clarify: Every national seashore has at least one small area within its boundaries that is accessible via a hard surfaced road. In the case of Georgia's Cumberland island National Seashore and North Carolina's Cape Lookout National Seashore, hard surfaced roads lead to visitor centers on the mainland, but are lacking in the rest of the park.

Add comment


This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

National Parks Traveler's Essential Park Guide