Travel Challenge: UNESCO World Heritage Sites of the USA
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The UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites provides the ultimate list of must see landmarks. It includes the Earth’s natural beauty, and historically significant and culturally important sites of human culture.
There are an impressive 1,092 World Heritage Sites all around the World. See how many you have visited here.
2.11% of the sites can be found in the United States of America. This may seem like a small percentage, but the country with the most sites, Italy, has only 4.30% of the overall sites.
Let’s get started.
The following World Heritage Sites have been ordered based on the year they were awarded UNESCO status.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the USA (1-10)
- Mesa Verde National Park (1978) meaning Green Table in English can be visited in Colorado and was the first landmark awarded the UNESCO World Heritage Site honour.
- The luscious Yellowstone National Park, also joined the list in 1978. It covers parts of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, totalling more than 3,400 sq miles.
- Wrap up warm when you visit Kluane / Wrangell–St. Elias / Glacier Bay / Tatshenshini-Alsek in Alaska. Added in 1979.
- Independence Hall in Pennsylvania became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979 because of its historical importance. This is where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of America were debated and adopted.
- Florida has the only endangered site in the USA and it’s The Everglades National Park (1979). Leave only footprints!
- The sixth UNESCO World Heritage Site can be explored on a day trip from Las Vegas or a 10-day kayaking expedition. How would you like to experience Grand Canyon National Park (1979), Arizona.
- If you love trees and find yourself in San Francisco visit Redwood National and State Park (1980), California.
- For any adventurer with a wild imagination the Mammoth Cave National Park (1981), Kentucky, must be on your travel list.
- Situated in the North-West of mainland USA, you can explore the epic Olympic National Park (1981), in Washington state.
- Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site (1982), Illinois is a pre-Columbian Native American site. Make sure you explore the park and visit Monks Mount.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the USA (11-20)
- Covering parts of Tennesse and North Carolina, Great Smoky Mountains National Park made the UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983.
- Outside of the mainland, La Fortaleza and San Juan National Historic Site (1983) in Puerto Rico is a breathtaking landmark to visit, when you get the chance.
- Another popular and famous national park made the list in 1984. It was Yosemite National Park in California.
- In 1880’s, the French sent the USA a gift to congratulate them for 100 years of Independence. Do you know what it was? It is the world-famous Statue of Liberty in New York City. It became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. To this day it is the only site in the ‘Big Apple’ with this special status.
- The unique natural beauty of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park was noticed and put under UNESCO protection in 1987. Before visiting check the National Park Service for alerts as the volcanoes remain active.
- New Mexico’s first landmark given UNESCO World Heritage status was Chaco Culture National Historical Park in 1987.
- The plantation home of 3rd president Thomas Jefferson, Monticello, was built from 1979 to 1809. More than 100 years later it become UNESCO protected. The University of Virginia in Charlottesville made the list with Monticello in 1987
- The second landmark, in New Mexico, added to the world heritage list was Taos Pueblo in 1992.
- Carlsbad Caverns National Park made the list in 1995. Giving the state of New Mexico the most UNESCO World Heritage site landmarks in the USA.
- Straddling two countries the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park became UNESCO registered in 1995. It covers parts of Montana, USA and Alberta, Canada.
Most Recent World Heritage Sites in the USA
The most recent attractions to become UNESCO recognised are Papahānaumokuākea (2010) in Hawaii, Monumental Earthworks of Poverty Point (2014) in Louisiana and San Antonio Missions (2015) in the great state of Texas.