USA

The Beauty of America’s National Parks

Each spring the National Park Service and National Park Foundation celebrate America’s national parks through National Park Week (sorry for all the “national” mentions in that sentence). This year’s festivities are taking place this week from April 19 through the 27.

While the first national park in the United States (and the world) was not established until 1872 (Yellowstone National Park would have this honor), as early as 1832 President Andrew Jackson signed legislation that the 22nd United States Congress had enacted to set aside four sections of land around what is now Hot Springs, Arkansas, to protect the natural, thermal springs and adjacent mountainsides for the future disposal of the United States government. No legal authority was ever established there and federal control of the area did not occur until 1877. However, what made President Jackson’s signing this legislation so significant was that it was the first effort by any government to set aside protected lands for conservation purposes. Considering that by 1832, the United States was just over 50 years old, this was pretty amazing.

I was inspired recently to document all of the national parks I have visited in the United States. I’ve been to a decent number of ones here on the East Coast but have yet to visit those parks out west which look incredible. My top three that I would love to see one day are Mesa Verde in Colorado, Grand Teton in Wyoming, and Arches National Park in Utah.

Here’s a thing about growing up on the East Coast, you’re surrounded by history. So yes, a dominant theme on my list are those national park sites that have a history connection.

For now here is my list grouped by state.

Hawaii
(I would have had one more with the USS Arizona but the Federal Government decided to behave like immature and irresponsible children with the government shutdown last fall and thus ruined my plans along with thousands of other travelers.)
  
Maryland

Fort McHenry 

New York

Ellis Island

Statue of Liberty

    
Pennsylvania

Delaware Water Gap

Gettysburg National Park

Hopewell Furnace

Independence National Historic Park

Valley Forge National Park

Virginia

Arlington House-Robert E. Lee Memorial

Blue Ridge Parkway

Fredericksburg Battlefield Park
Jamestown

Richmond Battlefield Park

Shenandoah National Park

Washington D.C.

Ford’s Theater

Jefferson Memorial 

Korean War Veterans Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Washington Monument 

World War II Memorial

 

West Virginia

Harper’s Ferry 

National parks would go on to become a “worldwide craze” but it was the United States that truly set the bar. If you haven’t already done so, go visit a national park this week to enjoy their pure awesomeness but if not this week, then make it your travel goal of 2014.

 

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Rebecca
    April 24, 2014 at 1:15 am

    The national parks in the US are stunning (Iove the big redwoods of CA), Yellowstone is at the top of my list (along with some of those in Utah). A can’t remember if you’ve been to vegas but there are two great ones in the vacinity (Red Rock and Valley of Fire), which add a different dimension to any Vegas trip!

    • Reply
      Julie Tulba
      April 25, 2014 at 1:37 pm

      I’ve never been to Vegas but getting out of the city to visit some of the nearby national parks would be a top priority! I’m so fascinated by the western national parks since they’re a complete 180 from what I’m accustomed to here!

    • Reply
      Rebecca
      April 26, 2014 at 8:46 am

      I loved Sequoia and Kings Canyon over Yosemite (although that was also spectacular!).

    • Reply
      Julie Tulba
      April 28, 2014 at 1:03 pm

      So many to visit, if only the country weren’t so big or also, I had more vacation time to squander in the best of ways 🙂

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