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





  • 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



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


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


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


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


New Mexico

New York

  • Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island

North Carolina

  • (where the first manned, powered flight took place)

North Dakota

  • Theodore Roosevelt National Park



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

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)

South Dakota




  • 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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