An Ode to America’s National Parks

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In 1864, President Abraham Lincoln signed a park bill that created the Yosemite Grant, marking the first time that the U.S. federal government had specifically set aside land for public use. The Yosemite Grant paved the way for Yellowstone to become the first official national park eight years later in 1871.

Finally, in 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed an act creating the National Park Service.

Today, the national park system includes 401 protected and recognized areas across the country, including national parks, monuments, battlefields, military parks, historical parks, historic sites, lakeshores, seashores, recreation areas, and scenic rivers and trails.

Below are all the sites I have had the pleasure of visiting on my travels (this list will be updated as I explore more of the U.S.!).

Total so far: 29


Alaska national parks


Grand Canyon and Glen Canyon


California national parks


  • Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park

District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.)

Korean War Veterans Memorial
Lincoln Memorial
Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial
Thomas Jefferson Memorial
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Washington Monument
World War II Memorial

National Mall and Memorials


Everglades National Park


  • Fort Frederica National Monument (on St. Simon's Island)


  • World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument (at Pearl Harbor)

USS Arizona Memorial


  • Boston National Historical Park (including Faneuil Hall, Old North Church, the Paul Revere House, and other sites along the Freedom Trail)

Boston National Historical Park


  • Jefferson National Expansion Memorial (including the Gateway Arch in St. Louis)

Gateway Arch


New Mexico

Pecos National Historical Park

New York

  • Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island

Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

North Carolina

Wright Brothers National Memorial

North Dakota

  • Theodore Roosevelt National Park


Perry's Victory Monument and Cuyahoga Valley NP


  • Oklahoma City National Memorial (site of the OKC bombing in 1995)

Oklahoma City National Memorial

South Carolina

  • Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor (including antebellum plantations where the culture was first shaped by captive Africans brought to the southern United States from West Africa)

Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor

South Dakota


Arches National Park


Historic Jamestowne


  • Grand Teton National Park


What are some of YOUR favorite parks/memorials in the U.S.?



"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and, if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might get swept off to." - JRR Tolkien

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36 Comments on “An Ode to America’s National Parks

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  1. You should visit the Ouachita National Forest. My fiancee hopes to backpack its whole trail someday.

      Nice! That’s a pretty cool goal.

    I am a big fan of National Parks of USA. I haven’t been much to east but have covered some in South-west! Have a look here.

      Yup, the US really has some great parks!

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