Today is the 105th birthday of the National Park Service! It’s also a fee-free day, which means that no admission is charged to enter NPS sites today! In addition to 63 official National Parks, the NPS manages 423 parks across the country, including historic sites, forests, seashores, trails and even parkways! This month’s issue of COBBLESTONE Magazine is all about the history of the National Parks. To celebrate their special anniversary, here are 5 special NPS sites recommended by the team at COBBLESTONE! What’s your favorite park?
Grand Canyon National Park, AZ
Everyone should travel to the Grand Canyon at least once in their life. Photos of it are beautiful, but they can’t capture its “grandness.” It should be called the “As-Far-As-the-Eye-Can-See Canyon.” Viewing it in person made us feel the power of nature, time, and the elements.
Lincoln Memorial, Washington DC
Our nation’s capital is filled with monuments and memorials, but our favorite one is the Lincoln Memorial. It’s beautiful any time of day, any time of year. The steps, the columns, the quotes from famous speeches, and the massive statue of Abraham Lincoln—they all work together to create an inspiring memorial to a great American president. The steps are a great place to watch people!
Manzanar National Historic Site, CA
Our visit to Manzanar was eerie. Manzanar is one of 10 sites that became a war relocation center during World War II. Imagining 10,000 Japanese Americans being forced to live in that desolate place, waiting out the war, was difficult. But we all agreed that it was super powerful and important to experience.
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan
Pictured Rocks’ location is naturally dramatic. It’s on the shore of Lake Superior, a lake so big that it feels like an ocean. We discover something new to do every visit. In the summer, we’ve gone hiking and swimming. In the winter, we’ve tried ice climbing and ice fishing. In every season, the sandstone cliffs remind us that nature works in mysterious ways!
Valley Forge National Historical Park, Pennsylvania
We thought we knew all about the Continental Army’s winter at Valley Forge during the Revolutionary War. But the replicas of the soldiers’ cramped cabins gave us a taste of what those American patriots endured. We also learned that the soldiers came out of that winter a stronger fighting unit.