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Optimal Road Trip to 375 National Park Service Sites

August 16, 2016

With the National Park Service turning 100 this August 25th, popular data scientist Randy Olson created The Optimal U.S. National Parks Centennial Road Trip. However, Randy's map has some problems.

 

A few hundred to be exact...

 

Randy's road trip visits the 47 National Parks in the lower 48 United States, leaving out the twelve in Alaska, Hawaii, American Samoa and the Virgin Islands (understandably, the lack of access roads and ocean crossings makes it difficult for a road trip). He states that "the U.S. national park system, it consists of 59 protected areas" then suggests visiting "all of the national parks in one epic road trip."

 

But Randy leaves out over 300 accessible national park system sites.

 

During this year of the Centennial especially, we should remember that the National Park Service actually offers 412 sites (including National Lakeshores, National Monuments, National Scenic Trails, etc.), not just the 59 National Parks popularly recognized and shared as "all of the national parks."

 

That's why I teamed up with fellow parks enthusiast Adam Larsen to build "The Optimal National Park Service Road Trip." We created this map to raise awareness of the other wonderful 353 sites and because we are each on our own journeys to visit all 412 units of the National Park Service:

 

Myself, Mikah Meyer (TBCMikah.com), visiting all 412 on one continuous trip in an attempt to not only become the first person to do so, but also the youngest person to experience all 412 units. And Adam Larsen and his wife Danyel (SoManyParks.com), currently at 182 parks on a quest to visit all 412 during summer and teaching breaks.

 

This optimal route takes into account the 375 National Park Service sites accessible in the lower 48 United States and is a great reminder that while only 27 states and 2 territories have a capital N, capital P National Park, all 50 states and every territory have at least one National Park Service site.

 

  Click here for an interactive map and details on its creation. See an ordered list below.

 

This route begins at the Washington Monument and ends at the Lincoln Memorial to reflect the start/end locations of my 2016 - 2019 trip, but a road tripper could easily start at the national park nearest to them.

 

So what are you waiting for?

 

There's still over four months left in 2016 to go #FindYourPark. You can even do it in 2017 for the 50th Anniversary of the National Park Foundation, 2019 for the 100th anniversary of the National Parks Conservation Association, or any year thanks to organizations and dedicated individuals like NPS Director Jonathan Jarvis (below) making sure all 412 parks are around for 100+ years to come.

 

 

The National Park Travelers Club even helps track any NPS visit with a Passport.

 

See you on the road!

 

 

About the Authors:

 

Mikah Meyer planned his first road trip at age 19. When his expected launch date turned out to be only ten days after his road-trip-loving father's funeral, Mikah's journey taught him the healing power of travel. Having since done an annual road trip to honor that experience, including a 260 day, 16,400 mile Dream Road Trip at age 25, Mikah's goal is to take one "epic" road trip every five years for the retirement his father never got, and he might never get. Having just turned 30, he is now on a quest to visit all 412 U.S. National Park sites to encourage greater youth and LGBT involvement. To support his self/donations-funded project, visit: TBCMikah.com/donate

 

Or follow his Facebook - Instagram - Twitter - YouTube

 

 

Adam Larsen is an enthusiastic nerd who loves education, data, traveling, playing trumpet, and writing code. He and his wife Danyel are on a long-term journey to visit every unit in the National Park Service. They are chronicling their many trips on their website SoManyParks.com and on Instagram and Twitter. Adam is currently employed as Assistant Superintendent at a K-12 school district in northern Illinois and also owns and operates Aurora Educational Technology, a data consulting and software development business. He and Danyel both work in education, which affords them wonderful opportunities to travel in the summer and see America’s National Parks, but they would probably leave and travel full-time if the right company came along to sponsor their journey.

 

 

List of the 375 National Park Service sites on this road trip:

 

1. Washington Monument

2. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial

3. Constitution Gardens

4. Korean War Veterans Memorial

5. Theodore Roosevelt Island

6. Fort Washington Park

7. Thomas Jefferson Memorial

8. Frederick Douglass National Historic Site

9. World War I Memorial

10. Greenbelt Park

11. Carter G. Woodson Home National Historic Site

12. White House

13. Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial

14. Manassas National Battlefield Park

15. Lyndon Baines Johnson Memorial Grove on the Potomac

16. Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial

17. Belmont-Paul Women's Equality National Monument

18. National Mall

19. National Capital Parks

20. Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site

21. Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail

22. Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts

23. Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park

24. Rock Creek Park

25. Clara Barton National Historic Site

26. Monocacy National Battlefield

27. Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

28. Appalachian National Scenic Trail - Headquarters in Harpers Ferry

29. Antietam National Battlefield

30. Catoctin Mountain Park

31. Gettysburg National Military Park

32. Eisenhower National Historic Site

33. Hampton National Historic Site

34. Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine

35. Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park

36. Assateague Island National Seashore

37. First State National Historical Park

38. Valley Forge National Historical Park

39. Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site

40. Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial

41. Independence National Historical Park

42. Great Egg Harbor Scenic and Recreational River

43. Gateway National Recreation Area

44. Governors Island National Monument

45. Federal Hall National Memorial

46. Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park

47. Morristown National Historical Park

48. Statue of Liberty National Monument

49. Castle Clinton National Monument

50. Thomas Edison National Historical Park

51. General Grant National Memorial

52. Saint Paul's Church National Historic Site

53. Hamilton Grange National Memorial

54. Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site

55. African Burial Ground National Monument

56. Stonewall National Monument

57. Fire Island National Seashore

58. Sagamore Hill National Historic Site

59. Weir Farm National Historic Site

60. Springfield Armory National Historic Site

61. Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park

62. Roger Williams National Memorial

63. New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park

64. Cape Cod National Seashore

65. Saint Croix Island International Historic Site

66. Acadia National Park

67. Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site

68. Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area

69. Boston African American National Historic Site

70. Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site

71. John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site

72. Longfellow House-Washington's Headquarters National Historic Site

73. Boston National Historical Park

74. Adams National Historical Park

75. Salem Maritime National Historic Site

76. Lowell National Historical Park

77. Minute Man National Historical Park

78. Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site

79. Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park

80. Saratoga National Historical Park

81. Martin Van Buren National Historic Site

82. Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site

83. Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site

84. Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site

85. Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River

86. Middle Delaware National Scenic River

87. Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area

88. Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site

89. Steamtown National Historic Site

90. Fort Stanwix National Monument

91. Women's Rights National Historical Park

92. Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site

93. Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site

94. Johnstown Flood National Memorial

95. Flight 93 National Memorial

96. Friendship Hill National Historic Site

97. Fort Necessity National Battlefield

98. Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park

99. Shenandoah National Park

100. Richmond National Battlefield Park

101. Petersburg National Battlefield

102. Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site

103. Appomattox Court House National Historical Park

104. Booker T. Washington National Monument

105. Bluestone National Scenic River

106. New River Gorge National River

107. Gauley River National Recreation Area

108. Hopewell Culture National Historical Park

109. First Ladies National Historic Site

110. Cuyahoga Valley National Park

111. James A. Garfield National Historic Site

112. Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial

113. River Raisin National Battlefield Park

114. Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park

115. Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument

116. William Howard Taft National Historic Site

117. George Rogers Clark National Historical Park

118. Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial

119. Mammoth Cave National Park

120. Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park

121. Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area

122. Obed Wild and Scenic River

123. Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park

124. Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park

125. Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area

126. Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site

127. Ocmulgee National Monument

128. Andersonville National Historic Site

129. Jimmy Carter National Historic Site

130. Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site

131. Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site

132. Horseshoe Bend National Military Park

133. Little River Canyon National Preserve

134. Russell Cave National Monument

135. Stones River National Battlefield

136. Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail

137. Tupelo National Battlefield

138. Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield Site

139. Shiloh National Military Park

140. Fort Donelson National Battlefield

141. Ozark National Scenic Riverways

142. Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site

143. Jefferson National Expansion Memorial

144. Lincoln Home National Historic Site

145. Herbert Hoover National Historic Site

146. Effigy Mounds National Monument

147. Pullman National Monument

148. Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

149. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

150. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

151. Isle Royale National Park

152. Keweenaw National Historical Park

153. Grand Portage National Monument

154. Voyageurs National Park

155. Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

156. Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway

157. Mississippi National River and Recreation Area

158. Pipestone National Monument

159. Missouri National Recreational River

160. Homestead National Monument of America

161. Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

162. Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site

163. Harry S Truman National Historic Site

164. Fort Scott National Historic Site

165. Wilson's Creek National Battlefield

166. George Washington Carver National Monument

167. Pea Ridge National Military Park

168. Fort Smith National Historic Site

169. Chickasaw National Recreation Area

170. Washita Battlefield National Historic Site

171. Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument

172. Lake Meredith National Recreation Area

173. Fort Larned National Historic Site

174. Nicodemus National Historic Site

175. Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site

176. Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site

177. Capulin Volcano National Monument

178. Fort Union National Monument

179. Pecos National Historical Park

180. Great Sand Dunes National Park

181. Great Sand Dunes National Preserve

182. Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument

183. Rocky Mountain National Park

184. Scotts Bluff National Monument

185. Fort Laramie National Historic Site

186. Agate Fossil Beds National Monument

187. Devils Tower National Monument

188. Jewel Cave National Monument

189. Wind Cave National Park

190. Mount Rushmore National Memorial

191. Minuteman Missile National Historic Site

192. Badlands National Park

193. Niobrara National Scenic River

194. Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site

195. Theodore Roosevelt National Park

196. Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site

197. Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument

198. Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area

199. Yellowstone National Park

200. John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway

201. Grand Teton National Park

202. Fossil Butte National Monument

203. Timpanogos Cave National Monument

204. Golden Spike National Historic Site

205. City of Rocks National Reserve

206. Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument

207. Minidoka National Historic Site

208. Craters of the Moon National Preserve

209. Craters of the Moon National Monument

210. Big Hole National Battlefield

211. Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site

212. Glacier National Park

213. Nez Perce National Historical Park

214. Whitman Mission National Historic Site

215. Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area

216. Lake Chelan National Recreation Area

217. North Cascades National Park

218. Ross Lake National Recreation Area

219. San Juan Island National Historical Park

220. Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve

221. Olympic National Park

222. Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park - Washington Unit

223. Mount Rainier National Park

224. Lewis and Clark National Historical Park

225. Fort Vancouver National Historic Site

226. John Day Fossil Beds National Monument

227. World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument - California Unit

228. Lava Beds National Monument

229. Crater Lake National Park

230. Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve

231. Redwood National Park

232. Whiskeytown-Shasta-Trinity National Recreation Area

233. Lassen Volcanic National Park

234. Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial

235. Eugene O'Neill National Historic Site

236. John Muir National Historic Site

237. Fort Point National Historic Site

238. Point Reyes National Seashore

239. Golden Gate National Recreation Area

240. San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park

241. Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park

242. Muir Woods National Monument

243. Pinnacles National Park

244. Sequoia National Park

245. Kings Canyon National Park

246. Yosemite National Park

247. Devils Postpile National Monument

248. Manzanar National Historic Site

249. Death Valley National Park

250. César E. Chávez National Monument

251. Channel Islands National Park

252. Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area

253. Cabrillo National Monument

254. Joshua Tree National Park

255. Mojave National Preserve

256. Castle Mountains National Monument

257. Lake Mead National Recreation Area

258. Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument

259. Great Basin National Park

260. Bryce Canyon National Park

261. Cedar Breaks National Monument

262. Zion National Park

263. Pipe Spring National Monument

264. Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

265. Rainbow Bridge National Monument

266. Capitol Reef National Park

267. Natural Bridges National Monument

268. Arches National Park

269. Colorado National Monument

270. Curecanti National Recreation Area

271. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

272. Dinosaur National Monument

273. Canyonlands National Park

274. Hovenweep National Monument

275. Yucca House National Monument

276. Mesa Verde National Park

277. Aztec Ruins National Monument

278. Chaco Culture National Historical Park

279. Valles Caldera National Preserve

280. Bandelier National Monument

281. Manhattan Project National Historical Park - New Mexico Unit

282. Petroglyph National Monument

283. El Malpais National Monument

284. El Morro National Monument

285. Petrified Forest National Park

286. Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site

287. Canyon De Chelly National Monument

288. Navajo National Monument

289. Wupatki National Monument

290. Walnut Canyon National Monument

291. Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument

292. Grand Canyon National Park

293. Tuzigoot National Monument

294. Montezuma Castle National Monument

295. Tonto National Monument

296. Hohokam Pima National Monument

297. Casa Grande Ruins National Monument

298. Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

299. Tumacácori National Historical Park

300. Coronado National Memorial

301. Saguaro National Park

302. Chiricahua National Monument

303. Fort Bowie National Historic Site

304. Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument

305. Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument

306. White Sands National Monument

307. Chamizal National Memorial

308. Guadalupe Mountains National Park

309. Carlsbad Caverns National Park

310. Fort Davis National Historic Site

311. Big Bend National Park

312. Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River

313. Amistad National Recreation Area

314. Padre Island National Seashore

315. Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park

316. San Antonio Missions National Historical Park

317. Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park

318. Waco Mammoth National Monument

319. Big Thicket National Preserve

320. Cane River Creole National Historical Park

321. President William Jefferson Clinton Birthplace Home National Historic Site

322. Hot Springs National Park

323. Buffalo National River

324. Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site

325. Arkansas Post National Memorial

326. Poverty Point National Monument

327. Vicksburg National Military Park

328. Natchez National Historical Park

329. Natchez Trace Parkway

330. New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park

331. Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve

332. Gulf Islands National Seashore

333. De Soto National Memorial

334. Big Cypress National Preserve

335. Everglades National Park

336. Dry Tortugas National Park

337. Biscayne National Park

338. Canaveral National Seashore

339. Fort Matanzas National Monument

340. Castillo de San Marcos National Monument

341. Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve

342. Cumberland Island National Seashore

343. Fort Caroline National Memorial

344. Fort Frederica National Monument

345. Fort Pulaski National Monument

346. Fort Sumter National Monument

347. Charles Pinckney National Historic Site

348. Congaree National Park

349. Ninety Six National Historic Site

350. Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site

351. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

352. Cumberland Gap National Historical Park

353. Andrew Johnson National Historic Site

354. Cowpens National Battlefield

355. Kings Mountain National Military Park

356. Blue Ridge Parkway

357. Guilford Courthouse National Military Park

358. Moores Creek National Battlefield

359. Cape Lookout National Seashore

360. Cape Hatteras National Seashore

361. Fort Raleigh National Historic Site

362. Wright Brothers National Memorial

363. Colonial National Historical Park

364. Fort Monroe National Monument

365. George Washington Birthplace National Monument

366. Thomas Stone National Historic Site

367. Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania County Battlefields Memorial National Military Park

368. Prince William Forest Park

369. Piscataway Park

370. George Washington Memorial Parkway

371. World War II Memorial

372. Vietnam Veterans Memorial

373. Ford's Theatre National Historic Site

374. Pennsylvania Avenue National Historic Site

375. Lincoln Memorial

 

How is Mikah getting to all these spots in one trip? Check out his self-converted cargo van in The Transformation of Vanny McVanface. See his growing route at the bottom of each TBCMikah blog.

 

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