The National Park Service was created on 25th August 1916 by an act of Congress, the National Park Service Organic Act. The agency was charged with a dual purpose for the places entrusted to them - to make them available for public access and enjoyment, whilst also ensuring they are preserved and protected.
President Woodrow Wilson signed the bill which mandated the agency to “leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations”. We like to think that we are simply borrowing the National Parks from future generations - we owe it to them to leave these places in better condition than we found them.
Today, the National Park Service manages 419 areas - these are technically called units. But these aren’t all National Parks - they include National Monuments, National Battlefields, National Rivers and many more!
We’re on a journey to visit all 419 National Park Units in the US. The map below shows how we’re doing - parks we’ve been to are shown in green while those still to go are yellow!
Parks We’ve Visited
In summer of 2018, we left our home and hit the road full-time in our RV. After a few months of adjusting to life on the road, we made it to our first National Park Unit, Carlsbad Caverns National Park in October 2018.
Since then, we’ve continued our journey, and we’ve now visited 39 National Park Units - still a long way to go to visit them all!
Here are all the National Park Units we’ve visited on this journey, with the most recent first.
- Big Thicket National Preserve
- Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve
- New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park
- Yucca House National Monument
- Golden Spike National Historical Park
- Dinosaur National Monument
- Colorado National Monument
- Great Sand Dunes National Preserve
- Great Sand Dunes National Park
- Mesa Verde National Park
- Curecanti National Recreation Area
- Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
- Rocky Mountain National Park
- El Malpais National Monument
- El Morro National Monument
- Petrified Forest National Park
- Walnut Canyon National Monument
- Tuzigoot National Monument
- Montezuma Castle National Monument
- Wupatki National Monument
- Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument
- Mojave National Preserve
- Channel Islands National Park
- Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
- Cabrillo National Monument
- Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
- Hohokam Pima National Monument
- Tonto National Monument
- Casa Grande Ruins National Monument
- Saguaro National Park
- Tumacácori National Historical Park
- Coronado National Memorial
- Chiricahua National Monument
- Fort Bowie National Historic Site
- Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
- White Sands National Monument
- Chamizal National Memorial
- Guadalupe Mountains National Park
- Carlsbad Caverns National Park