The United States National Monuments are part of the United States National Park System. Unlike United States national parks, they can be created by presidential proclamation without an act of Congress. Accordingly, they may be a step down from the national parks in general, but they are still spectacular and fascinating pieces of natural scenery and national history; many of these places could be the highlight of a major trip or could be worth a whole trip on their own.
The map markers in this article are roughly color-coded by each monument's main draw: gray for historic sites, maroon for Native American prehistoric sites, and green for nature. Of course, many of the monuments have some combination of these features: natural formations of historic importance, prehistoric sites surrounded by natural scenery, and so on.
- 1 Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, Federal Hill, Baltimore — Site of a famous battle in the War of 1812 where Francis Scott Key saw the American flag still flying over the fort and composed the lyrics to the Star Spangled Banner, which later became the country's national anthem.
- 2 African Burial Ground National Monument, Financial District, New York City — A site in Lower Manhattan containing the remains of hundreds of Africans buried in what was a colonial-era cemetery.
- 3 Castle Clinton National Monument, Financial District, New York City — A former fort at the southern tip of Manhattan that also served as the main immigration station in the country until a larger one at Ellis Island was built.
- 4 Fort Stanwix National Monument, Rome — A fort in upstate New York that was the site of a battle in the American Revolution.
- 5 Governors Island National Monument, New York Harbor, New York City — An island park just off the southern tip of Manhattan that was once the site of military fortifications and an army base.
- 6 Statue Of Liberty National Monument, New York Harbor, New York City — Home to Lady Liberty, still greeting visitors to New York Harbor. Tours of the inside of the statue are available if you reserve far in advance. Nearby on a separate island is Ellis Island, the famous former immigration station where the ancestors of a significant portion of America's population arrived in the United States.
- 7 Stonewall National Monument, Greenwich Village, New York City — the Stonewall Inn and surrounding area, site of the Stonewall riots, making this the first national monument dedicated to LGBT history.
- 8 Belmont–Paul Women's Equality National Monument, Capitol Hill — One of the most historic buildings in Washington, of great importance in the women's rights movement.
- 9 Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument, Birmingham — Birmingham saw several key events in the Civil Rights Movement, leaving historic landmarks preserved to this day.
- 10 Freedom Riders National Monument, Anniston — Two locations important to the Civil Rights Movement: an old Greyhound Bus depot, and the site outside town where a bus was burned.
- 1 Russell Cave National Monument — A cave system noted for its significant prehistoric archaeological finds; site of the earliest known human settlement in the southeastern United States.
- 11 Fort Frederica National Monument, St. Simons Island — Preserves the ruins of a British fort and town from the 18th century.
- 12 Fort Pulaski National Monument, Tybee Island — A masonry fort that was the site of a crucial naval battle during the Civil War.
- 13 Camp Nelson National Monument, Nicholasville — a training ground for African-American soldiers in the Civil War.
- 14 Mill Springs Battlefield National Monument, near Somerset – a Civil War battlefield.
- 2 Poverty Point National Monument, Pioneer, Northern Louisiana — Prehistoric earthworks and mounds dating to nearly three thousand years ago.
- 15 Medgar and Myrlie Evers Home National Monument, Jackson, Mississippi — home of civil rights activist Medgar Evers.
- 16 Fort Sumter National Monument, Charleston — An island fort at the mouth of Charleston Harbor that is famous as the site of the opening battle of the Civil War.
- 17 Fort Moultrie, Sullivan's Island — Where South Carolina colonists fended off British attack during the American Revolution.
- 18 Booker T Washington National Monument, Roanoke — Preserves portions of a former tobacco plantation where Booker T. Washington, noted African-American political leader, was born into slavery.
- 19 Fort Monroe National Monument, Hampton — A former military base that was a strategic site for forts from the first colonists in the area to the Civil War, when it served as a safe haven for freed slaves.
- 20 George Washington Birthplace National Monument, Westmoreland County — Site of George Washington's birth and burial place of many of Washington's family members. Period buildings and furnishings are on display.
- 21 Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, St. Augustine — Built as a Spanish fort in the 17th century before changing to British and American hands.
- 22 Fort Matanzas National Monument, St. Augustine — A small Spanish fort dating to the 1740s.
- 3 Effigy Mounds National Monument — Preserves a set of prehistoric mounds, including some shaped like animals.
- 23 Grand Portage National Monument — A footpath that bypasses a set of waterfalls and rapids, once used by fur trappers in the area.
- 4 Pipestone National Monument, Pipestone — Preserves a set of quarries for stone used in traditional Plains Indians culture to create peace pipes.
- 24 George Washington Carver National Monument, Diamond (near Joplin) — Boyhood home of botanist and inventor George Washington Carver.
- 25 Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument, Xenia — Commemorates the life of Charles Young, the first African American National Park Service Superintendent and the highest ranking black army officer of his time.
- 5 Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument, Fritch — A quarry site for flint that was distributed throughout the Great Plains in prehistoric times.
- 2 Waco Mammoth National Monument, Waco — A paleontological site with fossilized mammoths.
- 3 Agate Fossil Beds National Monument, near Scottsbluff, Nebraska Panhandle — Site of many well-preserved mammal fossils dating from nearly 20 million years ago.
- 26 Homestead National Monument of America, Beatrice — The first homestead obtained through the Homestead Act of 1862; contains displays about prairie homestead life.
- 27 Scotts Bluff National Monument, Scottsbluff — A set of steep hills that served as a landmark for pioneers along the Oregon and Mormon Trails.
- 4 Jewel Cave National Monument — The second longest cave in the world, named for its calcite crystals.
- 5 Browns Canyon National Monument (BLM & USFS), between Salida and Buena Vista — A section of the Arkansas River popular for whitewater rafting.
- 6 Canyons of the Ancients National Monument (BLM), near Cortez
- 7 Chimney Rock National Monument (USFS), near Pagosa Springs — An Ancestral Puebloan archaeological site.
- 8 Colorado National Monument — Contains Monument Canyon, with spectacular rock formations and desert wildlife.
- 9 Dinosaur National Monument — Preserves Jurassic fossil beds; a museum in the park displays dinosaur fossils.
- 10 Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument — Petrified redwoods and detailed fossils of plants and insects from nearly 35 million years ago.
- 6 Yucca House National Monument, near Cortez — A mostly unexcavated Ancestral Puebloan archaeological site dating to around a thousand years ago.
- 11 Craters of the Moon National Monument — A large basalt flow with numerous volcanic rock features.
- 12 Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument, Hagerman — Contains rich fossil beds from prior to the last ice age.
- 7 Pompeys Pillar National Monument (BLM), near Billings – a rock formation with petroglyphs and the only remaining physical evidence of the Lewis and Clark expedition
- 13 Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument (BLM)
- 14 Devils Tower National Monument — A towering stone monolith that rises dramatically above the surrounding landscape, perhaps most famous today as the setting of the climax of the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
- 15 Fossil Butte National Monument — Contains 50 million year old fossil beds.
- 8 Agua Fria National Monument (BLM), north of Phoenix — Preserves prehistoric Pueblo settlements.
- 9 Canyon de Chelly National Monument — Preserves a set of canyons and mesas in the midst of the Navajo Nation, with prehistoric Native American ruins.
- 10 Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, south of Phoenix — Contains a group of prehistoric structures.
- 16 Chiricahua National Monument, Eastern Arizona — Eroded volcanic rock features, including multitudes of vertical rock formations.
- 17 Grand Canyon–Parashant National Monument (BLM & NPS), adjacent to Grand Canyon National Park — Deep canyons and lonely buttes at the junction of the Mojave Desert and Colorado Plateau.
- 11 Hohokam Pima National Monument, near Sacaton — Preserves archaeological remains including an ancient village. Not open to the public.
- 12 Ironwood Forest National Monument (BLM), South Central Arizona — A 5,000 year range of cultural and historical sites, including the Hohokam.
- 13 Montezuma Castle National Monument, Camp Verde — Remarkably well-preserved cliff dwellings nearly six hundred years old.
- 14 , Northern Arizona — Preserves a set of very intact Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings.
- 18 Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Western Arizona — A desert landscape which is the only place in the country where the Organ Pipe Cactus grow naturally.
- 28 Pipe Spring National Monument — A desert spring that was the site of Native American and Mormon settlements; contains exhibits on pioneer life.
- 19 Sonoran Desert National Monument (BLM), south of Phoenix — An extensive saguaro cactus forest amid Sonoran desert landscape.
- 20 Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, near Flagstaff — A volcanic cinder cone made of red rocks, hence the name.
- 15 Tonto National Monument, Eastern Arizona — Preserves a set of cliff dwellings.
- 16 Tuzigoot National Monument, near Cottonwood — A two- to three-story pueblo ruin perched on the summit of a ridge.
- 21 Vermilion Cliffs National Monument (BLM), north of the Grand Canyon — vermilion-colored cliffs amid the remote high-desert; includes "The Wave".
- 17 Walnut Canyon National Monument, Flagstaff — Protects a set of cliff dwellings situated in a scenic canyon.
- 18 Wupatki National Monument, near Flagstaff — Contains the remains of multiple ancient Native American settlements.
- 22 Avi Kwa Ame National Monument, southern Nevada – Spirit Mountain and surrounding desert area, considered sacred to the Mojave people as well as other indigenous groups.
- 23 Basin and Range National Monument – Vast, rugged wilderness.
- 24 Gold Butte National Monument (BLM) — desert landscapes including rock art and the ghost town of Gold Butte.
- 25 Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument, near North Las Vegas — Preserves a landscape containing Ice Age fossil beds.
- 19 Aztec Ruins National Monument, Farmington — Ruins of a large Ancestral Puebloan village, including a restored kiva.
- 20 Bandelier National Monument — A set of ancient and scenic cliff dwellings carved out of the volcanic rock of local canyons.
- 26 Capulin Volcano National Monument, northeast New Mexico between Raton and Clayton — An extinct volcanic cinder cone that rises out of the surrounding plains.
- 27 El Malpais National Monument — A basin covered in a large lava rock field that abruptly ends at the base of a sandstone bluff.
- 21 El Morro National Monument, near El Malpais National Monument — A sandstone formation with ancient petroglyphs and inscriptions carved from European explorers into the walls.
- 29 Fort Union National Monument, near Las Vegas — A former frontier post and military fort once situated on the Santa Fe Trail.
- 22 Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, near Silver City — A set of cliff dwellings perched on a high canyon wall.
- 28 Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument (BLM), central New Mexico near Santa Fe — A small monument preserving a set of tent-shaped volcanic rock formations and a short but scenic stretch of slot canyon accessible to hikers.
- 29 Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument (BLM), Las Cruces
- 23 Petroglyph National Monument, Albuquerque — Preserves a collection of ancient petroglyphs carved on volcanic rock on a mesa overlooking Albuquerque.
- 24 Prehistoric Trackways National Monument (BLM), Las Cruces
- 30 Rio Grande del Norte National Monument (BLM), near Taos — A long and scenic stretch of gorge along the Rio Grande that's popular for hiking and whitewater rafting.
- 30 Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument, Mountainair — Preserves the ruins of several pueblo villages and striking Spanish Colonial missions.
- 25 Bears Ears National Monument (BLM & USFS), Canyon Country — a pair of buttes, rock climbing, and Native American history.
- 31 Cedar Breaks National Monument, near St. George — A natural amphitheater with spectacular red rock formations.
- 32 Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (BLM), Canyon Country — Deep sandstone canyons, impressive waterfalls and acres of road-less wilderness.
- 33 Hovenweep National Monument Canyon Country — Preserves Jurassic fossil beds; a museum in the park displays dinosaur fossils.
- 34 Jurassic National Monument, near Cleveland — The densest concentration of Jurassic dinosaur fossils ever found.
- 35 Natural Bridges National Monument — A set of spectacular natural bridges, including the second and third largest natural bridges in the world, carved from sandstone.
- 36 Rainbow Bridge National Monument, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area — The world's highest natural bridge, carved from red sandstone in a canyon just off Lake Powell.
- 37 Timpanogos Cave National Monument — A cave system in the Wasatch Range with numerous colorful cave features.
- 38 Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument (BLM and USFS) — An area of mountain ranges in northern California.
- 31 Cabrillo National Monument, Point Loma, San Diego — Perched on a high coastal bluff with views over San Diego Bay, with a historic lighthouse and a monument commemorating the Spanish explorer Cabrillo, the first European to land on what became the west coast of America.
- California Coastal National Monument (BLM) — Consists of the entire coast of California.
- 39 Carrizo Plain National Monument (BLM)
- 40 Castle Mountains National Monument — next to Mojave National Preserve in the Mojave Desert.
- 32 Cesar E. Chavez National Monument, Keene — Home and burial place of Cesar Chavez, civil rights activist and founder of United Farm Workers.
- 41 Devils Postpile National Monument — Basalt cliffs and a 100-foot high waterfall.
- 33 Fort Ord National Monument (BLM), Marina
- 42 Lava Beds National Monument — The largest concentration of lava tube caves in North America.
- 43 Mojave Trails National Monument (BLM), next to Mojave National Preserve in the Mojave Desert.
- 44 Muir Woods National Monument, Marin County – A beautiful place to see endangered coastal redwoods, the tallest trees on the planet
- 45 San Gabriel Mountains National Monument (USFS), Angeles National Forest, Los Angeles
- 46 Sand to Snow National Monument (BLM and NFS) — Mountain and desert habitats, mainly in San Bernardino County.
- 47 Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument (BLM and USFS), Palm Desert
- 34 Tule Lake National Monument, Newell — Site of a large Japanese internment camp during WWII.
- 48 Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument (BLM), Medford
- 49 John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, Kimberly — Well-preserved fossils from the last 65 million years, painted in distinct colors by the many minerals in the fossil beds.
- 50 Newberry National Volcanic Monument (USFS), Bend
- 51 Oregon Caves National Monument — Natural marble caves with numerous prehistoric fossils.
- 52 Hanford Reach National Monument (FWS), near Richland — A free-flowing stretch of the Columbia River near a historic nuclear weapons facility created during the Manhattan Project.
- 35 San Juan Islands National Monument (BLM), San Juan Islands — Rugged islands in the Puget Sound with historic lighthouses and habitats for orcas, eagles, and seals.
- 53 Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument (USFS)— Site of a major volcanic eruption in 1980
- 54 Admiralty Island National Monument (USFS), near Juneau
- 55 Aniakchak National Monument and Preserve — extremely remote and rarely visited, based around Mount Aniakchak, a volcano that erupted thousands of years ago and left a vast caldera.
- 56 Cape Krusenstern National Monument — A coastal plain with multiple lagoons and limestone bluffs.
- 57 Misty Fjords National Monument (USFS)
- 36 Aleutian Islands World War II National Monument, Atka Island, Attu Island, Kiska Island — A set of WWII battlefield remnants on the Aleutian Islands.
- 37 Honouliuli National Monument — Site of a Japanese internment camp during WWII. Not yet open to the public (as of 2021).
U.S. Virgin Islands
- 58 Buck Island Reef National Monument, Christiansted — Preserves a small island and surrounding coral reef ecosystem.
- 59 Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument – a large marine park home to several atolls. On UNESCO's tentative list as it comprises one of the most widespread coral reefs in the world