Are you planning a trip to one of the National Park Service’s 59 National Parks? With 417 National Park units in the system, very often there are great sites nearby to visit. Here are 10 great units to add to your itinerary when you visit one of those great National Parks!
When visiting Everglades National Park, also visit Big Cypress National Preserve
If you are planning a visit to Everglades National Park, add a half day to drive through Big Cypress National Preserve. Big Cypress boasts 729,000 acres of swampland just North of Everglades and features a great variety of short hikes (many with boardwalks) that take you through a rainforest of palm and cypress trees. It also has the same opportunities to view wildlife as Everglades like the American alligator and Florida panther. Photo Credit
When visiting Death Valley National Park, also visit Manzanar National Historic Site
If you are planning a trip to Death Valley National Park, consider a visit to Manzanar National Historic Site. Manzanar War Relocation Center was one of ten camps where Japanese American citizens and resident Japanese aliens were incarcerated during World War II. Manzanar is a site that you can spend a couple of hours to a full day exploring and learning. It features two reconstructed barracks and excavated Japanese gardens and other remnants. Photo Credit
When visiting Mesa Verde National Park, also visit Hovenweep National Monument
If planning a trip to Mesa Verde National Park, consider adding Hovenweep National Monument to your itinerary. Hovenweep is a 1 hour drive west of Mesa Verde National Park and includes six prehistoric villages built between A.D. 1200 and 1300. Photo Credit
When visiting Shenandoah National Park, also visit Cedar Creek & Belle Grove National Historical Park
Just a few miles North of Shenandoah National Park is the Cedar Creek & Belle Grove National Historical Park. This National Park unit has multiple facets in one location. You can learn about the American Indians in the Shenandoah Valley, the colonial settlement established there in the 1730s, and the Civil War battle at Cedar Creek. All with the backdrop of the Appalachian mountains. Photo Credit
When visiting Zion National Park, also visit Cedar Breaks National Monument
When visiting Zion National Park, consider also visiting Cedar Breaks National Monument. Cedar Breaks National Monument is what you would see if Zion National park and Bryce Canyon had a baby. It’s no surprise as it is located right between them. This National monument has meadows filled with colorful flowers contrasting with orange-hued hoodoos. At over 10,000 ft in elevation, this is a great place to take breathtaking panorama pictures without the bustle of crowds that you find at the more famous National Parks. Photo Credit
When visiting Yosemite National Park, also visit Devils Postpile National Monument
Everyone should experience Yosemite National Park once in their life. When you decide to go make sure to also include Devils Postpile National Monument. This National Park unit features a strange and unique geological formation that looks like someone neatly stacked 60 feet high rock columns next to each other. Photo Credit
When visiting North Cascades National Park, also visit San Juan Island National Historical Park
When in the Pacific Northwest you are presented a variety of breathtaking sights. The National park Service has protected a lot of these lands around North Cascades, Olympic, and Mt Rainier National Parks. But also near the Seattle area sits an island with historical significance. San Juan Island National Historical Park is home to beautiful vistas and orca watching but it is also the site that involves a war that almost happened because of a pig! You can read more about the Photo Credit
When visiting Badlands National Park, also visit Minuteman Missile National Historical Site
Near Badlands National Park, in the Great Plains of South Dakota, lies the Minuteman Missile National Historical Site. During the Cold War, nuclear missiles were placed in silos all across the Great Plains. This site marks the site of two launch control facilities of the Minuteman Intercontinental Ballistic Missile program. “Exhibits share stories of the technology that made it possible, service men and women, citizens near and far who feared the worst, the call for civil defense, and leaders at home and abroad who led the world to the brink and back.” Photo Credit
When visiting Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, also visit Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park
When visiting Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the big island of Hawaii, you definitely should take the time to also visit Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park. This National Park unit highlights the native people who live on this island under the shadow of the volcanoes that formed the island. Photo Credit
When visiting Grand Canyon National Park, also visit Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument
It is easy to get caught up with the majestic views of the Grand Canyon when visiting the Grand Circle of National Parks. But this area also features a volcano: Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument. The highlight is the Lava Flow Trail: a 1 mile loop hike that takes you through the path of lava flow and through black sand and burned forest. Only a few miles East of Flagstaff, Arizona, this is a must-see when visiting the South Rim of the Grand Canyon! Photo Credit
There are so many great National Park Units to Visit!
There are so many great places to visit in the National Park system! Next time you plan your itinerary, give these a try! Do you have a great National Park unit that people may not have heard of? Tell us in the comments!