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Reader Participation Day: Which Is Your Favorite "Historical" National Park?


It seems that when "national parks" are mentioned, images of Yellowstone, Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, or Shenandoah national parks come to mind. But as you know, there are hundreds more units of the National Park System, many of them "historic" or "historical."

Places such as Fort Laramie National Historic Site and Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site as well as Colonial National Historical Park and Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park.

Tell us, travelers, which is your favorite "historic" or "historical" unit of the National Park System, and why?

To help you recall the dozens and dozens of units that fall under these categories, check out Traveler's master parks page.


I like Jamestown Island. A historic chuch, archeological digs, the original fort outlined, a great visitor center, and a even greater museum. It's a favorite of my children and grandchildren.
Hint: Senior - buy your Golden Age Passport and visit all the National Parks without visitor fee.

Fort Raleigh National Historic Site where the first Englishchild,
Virginia Dare, was born.
There's almost nothing there except great people to interpret the site.
Danny Bernstein

I second the previous vote for Cumberland Gap NHP.  Beautiful & interesting place with history and hiking.

I would like to nominate Ft, Jefferson NM, now a part of Dry Tortugas NP. The idea of a huge masonary fort 75 miles due east of Key West on islands found by Ponce De Leon in the 1500's and garrisoned by the North during the Civil War is amazing. It also served as the prison for Dr. Samuel Mudd, convicted of being one of the conspirators in the assasination of President Lincoln because he treated Booth's leg after he injured it jumping to the stage. The USS Maine stopped there to refuel on its ill-fated trip to Cuba.

The waters surrounding the Fort are as clear as one can find in Florida's salt water environments so the diiving is superb. It is truly a remarkable combination of cultural and natural resources.


I'm in a pinch here. Living at and being married to a staff member of the Klondike Gold Rush NHP has to sway my vote a bit.

I have two NHP favorites: Cumberland Gap and Harper's Ferry.
I love Cumberland Gap for it's interesting geology and panoramic views of the Upper Tennessee River Valley. On a clear day you can stand at the Pinnacle Overlook and look across the valley to the Great Smoky and Blue Ridge Mountains. It's not hard to appreciate why this gap in the mountains was so important to American History. Early explorers like Daniel Boone and Lewis & Clark passed through Cumberland Gap as they forged a pathway to the west. Control of the Gap was also considered to be strategically important in the Civil War.
I love Harper's Ferry for similar reasons. The topography of the heights and views of the Potomac & Shenandoah River are stunning. Harper's Ferry also played a pivotal role in the Lewis & Clark expedition as well as the Civil War. It's an inspiring place.

C&O National Historical Park. Imagine a ribbon of history paralleling the Potomac River from the tidewater at Georgetown in Washington, DC, to Cumberland, Maryland, deep in the Appalachian Mountains. It's 184 miles of social, political and industrial history and geography from pre-Colonial times to the present. I doubt that there is another unit in the organization that contains such a range of historical and natural themes. Every Traveler reader should plan a visit to this fascinating resource, one that very nearly ended up under a parkway.

Gotta go with California sites (since I love California) Cabrillo National Monument - A small site with a lighthouse that's easy to explore.  Tidepools nearby and an easy day trip in San Diego

Manzanar - Perhaps one of the most important historical national parks in California, as it shows one of America's greatest mistakes - the incarceration of Japanese-Americans. In the windswept desert just not too much north of Lone Pine, CA.  Check out the graveyard for a white pillar monument against the backdrop of the crest of the Sierra Nevada.

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