The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has designated 21 historical sites as World Heritage Sites in the United States of America (USA). UNESCO has designated Mesa Verde National Park and Yellowstone National Park both first world heritage sites in the United States in 1978 during World Heritage Committee’s second session in Washington D.C. The most recent site is Papahanaumokuakea which was included in the list in 2010. All 21 sites are located in 18 different states and two territories of the United States.
1. Mesa Verde National Park
Mesa Verde National Park is the first site which was designed by UNESCO as world heritage site in 1978. 572,329 tourists visited this site in 2011 year. This park is located in Montezuma County in Colorado state. It is the largest archaeological preserve in the United States with 52,485 acres of land. It makes also one of the largest national park in the United States. This national park has 600 dwellings, most popular are Balcony House, Cliff Palace and Square Tower House. All these dwellings were discovered in 1874 year. Visit Official website of Mesa Verde National Park as well as UNESCO listing here.
2. Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park is spread in three states of the United States i.e. Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. It was declared as national park in 1872 by Ulysses S Grant, the US President. It has total area of 2,219,791 acres which makes it one of the largest national park in USA. 3,394,326 tourist visited this park in 2012. It was designated as world heritage site in 1978. Official website of Yellowstone National Park and listing in UNESCO Official webpage.
3. Kluane / Wrangell – St. Elias / Glacier Bay / Tatshenshini-Alsek
It is one of the International park which spread in two countries, the United States and Canada. This park is located in three states Yukon, British Columbia and Alaska. It has total area of 32,000,000 acres which makes it one of the largest national park in the World. It was designated as world heritage site in 1994. Official website of Park and Official listing at UNESCO.
4. Grand Canyon National Park
UNESCO declared Grand Canyon National Park as world heritage site in 1979. It is located in Coconino and Mohave counties of Arizona state. It is 15th oldest national park in the United States which was established in 26th February, 1919. 4,298,178 tourists visited this park in 2011 as per NPS Annual Recreation Visits Report. Official website Grand Canyon National Park and Official listing page ofUNESCO.
5. Everglades National Park
Everglades National Park was declared as world heritage site in 1979 with reference number 76. It was established as national park in 6th December, 1947. It has attracted 934,351 tourists in 2011 year as per NPS annual report. Besides in the list of world heritage site, it has been included as International Biosphere Reserve and Wetland International Importance. It is located in Miami-Dade, Monroe and Collier counties of Florida state. Everglades National Park official webiste and UNESCO listing page.
6. Independence Hall
Independence Hall is the place where United States constitution and Declaration of Independence were debated and adopted. It is located on 520 Chestnut Street between 5th and 6th streets in Philadelphia of Pennsylvania state. Construction was started in 1732 and completed in 1753. It is maintained by United States’s National Park Service. It was declared as world heritage site in 1979 with reference number 78. Independence Hall official website and listing page at UNESCO website.
7. Redwood National and State Parks
Redwood National and State Parks is having one of the rare ecosystem in the World. Many threatened animal species found here such as Brown Pelican, Steller’s Sea Lion, Chinook and others. It was declared as world heritage site in 5th September, 1980. Besides listing in UNESCO, the park is also designated in International Biosphere Reserve on 30th June, 1983. This park has attracted 380,137 tourists in 2011 year. RNSP website and park’s UNESCO listing page.
8. Mammoth Cave National Park
Mammoth Cave National Park is the longest cave system known in the World. This park was established in 1st July, 1941 as national park. It has total area of 52,830 acres and attracted 508,054 tourists in 2012 year. It was designated as world heritage site in 1981 by UNESCO. Besides designated by UNESCO, it was also included in International Biosphere Reserve on 26th September, 1990. Mammoth Cave National Park website and UNESCO listing page.
9. Olympic National Park
Olympic National Park is located at Jefferson, Clallam, Mason and Grays Harbor counties in Washington. It was designated as national park by 32nd President of the United State Franklin Roosevelt. It was declared as World Heritage Site in 1981. It has attracted 2,966,502 visitors in 2011 year alone. It is being governed by the National Park Service. Olympic National Park official website and URL of UNESCO listing.
10. Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site
Cahokia is the most historic site in the United States. It was ancient native American city lies in era of C. 600 – 1400 CE. It was designated as World Heritage Site in 1982 with reference number 198 as cultural type. It has total area 2200 acres i.e. 890 ha which is located at St. Clair County, Illinois. Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site Official page and UNESCO listing webpage.
11. Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is located at Swain and Haywood counties in North Carolina as well as Sevier, Blount and Cocke counties in Tennessee state. It is one of the most visited national park in the United States. It has attracted 9,685,829 tourists in 2012 year as per NPS annual report. It was designated as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. Official website Great Smoky Mountains National Park and listing at UNESCO webpage.
12. La Fortaleza and San Juan National Historic Site
La Fortaleza (The Fortress) is one of the oldest fort in the World. It is currently used as official residence of the Governor of Puerto Rico. Fort was built between 1533-1540 year and still in good condition. It is located at San Juan in Puerto Rico state of the United States. It was listed in World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1983. It is also registered under US National Register of Historic Places and US National Historic Landmark.
San Juan National Historic site is also designated as World Heritage Site by UNESCO with La Fortaleza in San Juan. 1,054,492 tourists visited this section in 2005. Official website of San Juan National Historic Site and La Fortaleza as well as find here UNESCO listing.
13. Statue of Liberty
Statue of Liberty is the sculpture of female standing with torch. This statue was gifted by people of France to the United States on 28th October, 1886. It is located on Liberty Island which is the middle of New York city harbor in Manhattan of New York City. It has height of 151 feet 1 inch, from ground to torch 305 feet 1 inch.
It is one of the most visited place in New York. 3.2 million people visited this place in 2009. It was declared as World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1984 with reference number 307. Official website of Statue of Liberty and UNESCO listing webpage.
14. Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park is spanning across three counties i.e. Tuolumne, Mariposa and Madera in California state. It is located at Tuolumne, Mariposa, & Madera counties in California state. It was declared as UNESCO world heritage site in 1984. It has total area of 747,956 acres which makes it one of the largest national park in the United States. 3,853,404 people visited this national park in 2012. Yosemite National Park webpage and UNESCO webpage.
15. Chaco Culture National Historical Park
Chaco Culture National Historical Park is the most historical national park where exceptional concentration of pueblos in the American Southwest. It is located at San Juan County as well as McKinley County in New Mexico state. This national park is spread in 33,977.8 acres of land. It is designated as World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987 with reference number 353. 39,175 people visited this national park in 2011. Official webpage of CCNHP and Official listing webpage of UNESCO.
16. Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park
Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park is one of the most popular among tourists in the United States. There are two most active volcanoes are located in the park i.e. Kilauea and Mauna Loa. It is being used as research and study by scientists. It is located at Hawaii county in the Hawaii state. 1,483,928 people visited this place in 2012. It was designated as World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987 with reference number 409. Official webpage of HVNP and UNESCO webpage for 409.
17. Monticello and University of Virginia
Monticello is the area of plantation which spreads over 5,000 acres of land. It was started by Thomas Jefferson, the third US President with labor by slaves. It was designated as World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987 with reference number 442.
The University of Virginia is also declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site along with Monticello. It is the only university campus in the United States which is declared as World Heritage Site. It was established in 1819 for the purpose of public research. It is located at Charlottesville in Virginia state. Official website of Virginia University, Monticello official website and UNESCO listing of 442 ref no.
18. Taos Pueblo
Taos Pueblo is one of the oldest pueblo in the United States. It is believed that Taos Pueblo is 1000 years old which lies approx. 1 mile from Taos city of New Mexico state. It was declared as World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1992 with reference number 492. Official website of Taos Pueblo and UNESCO webpage with Ref. No. 492.
19. Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Carlsbad Caverns National Park is one of the largest in US with total land of 46,766 acres. It is located at Eddy County in New Mexico state. It was declared as World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1995 with reference number 721. Official webpage of CCNP and listing webpage of UNESCO. Main attraction of the park is Carlsbad Cavern cave. 365,000 people visited this national park in 2011 year.
20. Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park
This International park is located in two countries, Canada and the United States. This International park combined of Waterton Lakes National Park, Canada and Glacier National Park, USA. Both parks union declared as World Heritage Site in 1995 with Reference No. 354. Official webpage of Glacier National Park, Official webpage of Waterton National Park and UNESCO listing.
21. Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument
Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument is one of the largest World Heritage Site which encompassing 140,000 square miles which larger than Greece country. It was declared as World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2010 with Reference No. 1326. Official website of PMNM and UNESCO listing here.
Article last re-published on February 11, 2015.