With the President’s blessings through an executive order, even without the approval of the Congress, a place of extraordinary beauty and historical importance can become a National Monument. Though not as popular as National Parks, these monuments possess at least one unique resource that can make your vacation very memorable. So if you are looking for something different for your weekend family getaway, try actually going to a National Monument instead of just seeing pictures.
Before you unpack your bags and rent an RV, you must first consider whether you are looking for a National Monument where you can check out its animal inhabitants or you are just in it for the spectacular view. But what’s good about National Monuments is that there’s usually a combination of both, giving you the best of both worlds.
- The Admiralty Island located in Alaska, for example, is the seventh largest island in the United States and is part of the Tongass National Forest in the Alaska Panhandle. Aside from its lush greens and clean waters, it is home to grizzly bears as well as whales and mountain goats. This is a preserved environment, so you may just want to be careful not to do any harm to it, including hunting its animals.
- If you are looking for a monument with a lot of history in it, try going to the Canyon of the Ancients in Colorado. Formed in 2000, this preserve hosts more than 6,000 archaeological sites, which is the largest concentration in the US.
- The Carrizo Plain is the only surviving native grassland in California, which is surrounded by the Temblor Range and the Caliente Range. It’s a fascinating view that’s perfect for tourists and campers, and you can enjoy the Soda Lake at the center of the rock formations.
- Check out the Castillo de San Marcos if you are interested to see the fort built used in the American Revolution, the Civil War under the Confederacy, and the Spanish-American War under the United States. Built in 1672, this fort is 205 years old and still is a very mesmerizing site to see.
- Arizona’s Chiricahua is one of the favorites among spectators and tourists, as this National Monument holds the remains of an enormous volcanic eruption 27 million years ago. It boasts of its amazing rock formations and bears an interesting name given by the Apache – The Land of the Standing-Up Rocks.
- The Devil’s Postpile National Monument in California was once part of the Yosemite National Park and was formed by a lava flow 100,000 years ago. Due to the discovery of gold near the Mammoth Lakes, the Postpile has been separated from the national park. Its impressive basaltic columns are similar to world-renowned sites such as the Fingal’s Cave in Scotland, the Organ Pipes formation on Mount Cargill in New Zealand and the Kurille Islands in Russia.
- Dinosaur National Park is not a place where you could still see living prehistoric dinosaurs, but it holds the fossils of the Allosaurus and long neck sauropods. Located between the borders of Utah and Colorado, these fossils were discovered in 1909, and several years later, President Wilson proclaimed the area a National Monument. It is believed that the rock formations found here were formed during the Jurassic period, thus earning its name.
There’s a long list of other equally awe-inspiring National Monuments to choose from. This just proves that the United States is home to such remarkable scenery, and that you don’t have to go too far to experience nature’s gifts.