This post was on my list to blog about over the summer after reading an article about World Heritage Sites & doing a little research to see what ones I may have visited but (a) I didn’t get to it before the start of the blog vacation and (b) I added to my list of visited sites this summer.
We all know of the major UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as Machu Picchu, Petra, Angkor Wat, The Great Wall, and the Acropolis, but have you thought about the lesser known ones that are in your own backyard? There are so many worldwide that its possible you’ve been to one and not known it!
Here’s the UNESCO World Heritage Sites here in North America I’ve visited (with and without realizing it) so far …
(some of these have older watermarks since I’m pulling them from older posts here on RB … photos marked pixabay.com are due to those travels being in the film days & having no patience when it comes to digging through the boxes of prints my parents have!)
I’ve been to the Grand Canyon twice in my life — once at age five and again shortly before I turned 17. It was as amazing the second time around as it was to five-year old me. I need to get back there and experience it as a 30 something … and hike a trail or two!
Just before I went to work full-time after college, my family and I ventured out to southeastern New Mexico for four or five days. Carlsbad was a place my dad had been to previously, but not the rest of us. I was a bit underwhelmed for whatever reason — I guess being more impressed as a child visiting several other caverns in the Texas Hill Country and northern Arkansas just mean that Carlsbad didn’t have anything that was any more special than those caverns had.
San Antonio Missions (a recent addition to the WHS list!)
Another site I’ve been to (well part of it) twice before — once in 2006 and again in 2011. Most people aren’t aware that the Alamo isn’t the only mission in San Antonio — there’s actually four more missions in the southern part of the city that are a national historic park: San Jose, Concepcion (above), San Juan, and Espada. The UNESCO WHS also includes the Alamo, which is now overseen by the Texas General Land Office. If there’s one part of Texas History I love the most, it’s the missions.
The great supervolcano that is Yellowstone is gorgeous and so diverse in its landscapes — and understandably it became America’s first national park. Steaming geysers, icy rivers, green meadows, and everything in between — that’s just some of what one gets to experience when traversing the boundaries of the national park, which I only got to see part of back in 2009.
Technically Glacier and Waterton are two parks in two countries that adjoin one another in the Rockies. But they are also one large International Peace Park. Waterton has a small outdoor exhibit about the Peace Park down in the township near the harbor and there’s also a marker outside of Glacier Park Hotel if memory serves me correctly. Another park (well two) I need to get back and see the parts I was short on time in getting to see.
Its amazing what those who lived hundreds and thousands of years ago were able to create with tools and technology they had at the time — and there’s no better place to see it preserved than in the American southwest, as it is at Mesa Verde. Spruce House (above) is just one of the ‘houses’ that are available to visitors to explore.
One of the two newest checks on my list of UNESCO sites I’ve visited is Yosemite (this is near Glacier Point). There were stunning and tranquil vistas everywhere we looked — I felt like I was staring at a painting more often than not when looking out in the distance.
I’m pretty short — but these gentle giants along the northern California coast (as well as their cousin the Giant Sequoias in the Sierra Nevadas) made me feel even smaller. There’s some pretty old and tall pines and oaks here in East Texas, but they have nothing on these sequoias.
Have you visited a UNESCO World Heritage site? Is there one (or more) that are on your must visit places list?