National Parks & World Heritage Sites in America, Canada and Mexico

National Park Service

August 25, 1916 – August 25, 2016
Happy 100th Birthday, NPS!

Since we began our full-time travels in our RV in 2007, and during our cruise of Mexico on our sailboat (2010-2013), we’ve made it a point to visit as many National Parks, National Monuments and UNESCO World Heritage Sites throughout North America as possible.

This page provides an index of links to all of our blog posts from these special places, grouped by country. They appear in reverse chronological order. America’s National Parks are also broken down by state. This page is accessible from the Menus as well.

If there is a particular park you are looking for, use the “Ctrl-F” key (Windows) or “Command-F” key (Mac) to search for it on this page.

Links to the official websites for each of North America’s National Park agencies plus lists of the UNESCO World Heritage sites in each country are given at the bottom of this page.

Google Maps links to the locations of all the parks we’ve visited are at the bottom of this page as well. These are interactive maps that you can zoom in and out of.

You can navigate to each section of this page using these links:

In our travels, we have loved all of the National Parks we have visited, and we were intrigued to learn that Yellowstone National Park was the first National Park ever created in the world. It was established by the US Congress with the Yellowstone Act of March 1, 1872, which was signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant. Lots more National Parks followed, both in the US and abroad.

On August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson created the National Park Service, a bureau in the Department of the Interior, to consolidate the management of Yellowstone and the 35 other National Parks that had been established in the years since 1872.

This year, on August 25, 2016, the National Park Service is celebrating its 100th anniversary.

Happy 100th Birthday NPS!!

Following is the index of posts from our visits to these wonderful places…

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America’s National Parks and National Monuments

The National Park Service manages not only America’s National Parks but also the National Monuments, National Seashores, National Historic Sites, Battlefields, some of the National Recreation Areas and much much more.

In the summer of 2016, the National Park Service is managing 412 sites that spread out across more than 131 square miles. The sites were visited by over 307 million tourists in 2015, and the NPS had 22,000 employees and 221,000 volunteers.

Here are the ones we’ve visited in our RV travels:

ARIZONA

Sunrise Horseshoe Bend Arizona

Horseshoe Bend, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

CALIFORNIA

Death Valley National Park California

Death Valley National Park

COLORADO

Mesa Verde National Park Colorado

Mesa Verde National Park

FLORIDA

Gulf Island National Seashore Florida

Gulf Islands National Seashore

IDAHO

Craters of the Moon National Monument

Craters of the Moon National Monument

MAINE

Ford Model A car drives down Cadillac Mountain Acadia National Park Maine

Acadia National Park – Cadillac Mountain

MISSISSIPPI

Natchez Trace Parkway Mississippi

Natchez Trace Parkway

MONTANA

Happy camper Glacier National Park Montana

Glacier National Park

NEW MEXICO

White Sands National Monument New Mexico

White Sands National Monument

NORTH CAROLINA

Indian Creek Waterfall Deep Creek Hiking Trail Great Smoky Mountains National Park N. Carolina

Great Smoky Mountains National Park – Indian Creek Waterfall

OREGON

Crater Lake National Park Oregon

Crater Lake National Park

TEXAS

Rio Grande at Santa Elena Canyon iin Big Bend Texas

Big Bend National Park – Santa Elena Canyon on the Rio Grande

VIRGINIA

Mabry Mill Blue Ridge Parkway RV camping adventure

Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia – Mabry Mill

UTAH

Turret Arch Arches National Park Utah

Arches National Park – Turret Arch

WYOMING

Mirrored magic in Grand Teton National Park Wyoming

Grand Teton National Park at Dawn

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Canada’s National Parks and World Heritage Sites

In 1911, Canada was the first country in the world to establish a government agency specifically to oversee its National Parks. This agency is Parks Canada.

Parks Canada preserves and protects nationally significant examples of Canada’s natural and cultural history and is mandated to commemorate Canada’s history. In 2016, Parks Canada is managing 46 National Parks, 168 National Historic Sites and 11 UNESCO World Heritage Sites covering nearly 350,000 square miles of land and water.

We’ve enjoyed the extraordinary beauty of Canada’s National Parks located in the Canadian Rockies in British Columbia and Alberta as well as the picture postcard perfect town of UNESCO World Heritage Site Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.

Moraine Lake RV travel Banff National Park Alberta Canada

Banff National Park – Moraine Lake

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Mexico’s National Parks and World Heritage Sites

Many of Mexico’s most thrilling places are designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and some are National Parks as well. These sites include expansive grounds of ancient ruins that were built by the Mayans, Zapotecs and other cultures 2,000 years ago as well as historic Spanish Colonial cities that are home to exquisite architecture and cathedrals built by the Spanish in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Unique natural sites have also been preserved, including some of the islands in the Sea of Cortez as well as habitats on the mainland where migratory monarch butterflies come each year.

If you have never traveled in Mexico, we highly recommend it. The Mexicans have an exuberant and colorful culture that is extraordinarily friendly. Mexico is easily the friendliest place we’ve traveled (besides Maysville, KY…). If you are concerned about safety, we jotted down some notes that are worth pondering at this link: Is Mexico Safe?

Other helpful posts for planning a travel adventure in Mexico are: Spanish Learning Tools and Long Distance Bus Travel in Mexico and Mexican Dentists.

Monte Alban Ancient Zapotec Ruins National Park Oaxaca Mexico

Monte Alban – Oaxaca, Mexico – Step Pyramids Built by the Zapotecs 2,000 Years Ago

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More info about North America’s National Parks and UNESCO World Heritage Sites:

Map Links for the Locations of America’s National Parks & Monuments We’ve Visited

These maps will give you an idea of where these wonderful sites are in each state, but they are not intended for routing or itinerary purposes. You can only absorb the beauty of so many National Parks at once! Please note that you can zoom in and out of each map too.

Map Links for Canada’s National Parks & World Heritage Sites

Map Link for Mexico’s National Parks & World Heritage Sites

For our European readers, renting an RV is great way to explore America:

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4 thoughts on “National Parks & World Heritage Sites in America, Canada and Mexico

  1. What a great addition to your site! My wife and I plan on Full timing in the next 6 – 12 months (depends on house sale) and your blog is one that I have in a folder as a resource for parks to visit. You just made it so much easier!

    Thanks!

  2. What a wonderful way to pay tribute to “America’s best idea” on the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary! Thank you for this (and so many others) thoughtful posts. I just got back from a drive-through visit to the Blue Ridge Parkway and Shenandoah National Park. Looking forward to going back and lingering along the way.

    • I was very tickled when I came up with the idea and really enjoyed the retrospective process as I put it together. It was especially timely too, because we’ve spent so much time in the National Parks in the last two years. That series of drives from the Smokies and then along the Blue Ridge Parkway to Shenandoah are really wonderful — what a fun trip for you. We want to go back and linger too!

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