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Great Outdoors

The National Parks Of Washington D.C. Shine In Our Capital

Andy He

The Washington D.C. National Parks live up to the District’s motto: Justice For All.

History buffs, sightseers, and vacationers know that Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States, is rich within our nation’s history, artifacts, monuments, memorials, and museums. Iconic destinations like the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, and Capitol building, are known all across the world. But within its comparatively small borders, there are more national parks, historic sites, and memorials per square mile than virtually anywhere else in the country!

Nestled along the banks of the Potomac River, this tiny hamlet of only sixty-eight square miles is the seat of our national democracy. Its history is as rich and diverse as the country it represents.

Thankfully, this fertile history is preserved nearly everywhere one looks in Washington, D.C. These treasures are protected by the National Parks Service for all to enjoy and learn from for generations to come.

Here are some can’t miss national parks in the heart of our capital:

Constitution Gardens: Located right in the epicenter of D.C. and established in 1965, this national park preserves some of the most famous monuments in the American landscape. This swath of protected area encompassing the National Mall and Memorial Parks covers all manner of preservation, from presidential legacies to monuments dedicated to the courageous sacrifice of the men and women of the U.S. military, to commemorations of America’s commitment to freedom and democracy. 

Photo Courtesy Eric Dekker

Frederick Douglass National Historic Site: This D.C. historic site memorializes the legacy of one of the most famous Americans who ever lived and whose story is as important to tell as any other. Frederick Douglass was born into slavery in 1818, later escaped to freedom, and subsequently devoted the rest of his life to the causes of liberty and justice and became a leading voice in the abolition movement leading up to the Civil War. His story and dedication still inspire millions, and his legacy is remembered and protected at this D.C. site where he lived out the last seventeen years of his life.

Photo Courtesy NPS

WW1, WW2 MemorialsVietnam Memorial, Korean Veterans Memorial: These monuments stand in Monument Park in downtown D.C. as a sobering reminder of the actual cost of freedom as they encompass the major conflicts and wars from the 20th century. Millions of visitors flock to these sacred sites and pay their respects to the men and women who fought and died to protect and defend the American way of life.

Photo Courtesy Ryan Stone

Ford’s Theater: This memorial resides just down the street from the White House in Washington, D.C., and offers a unique look at one of the United States’ most dire and precarious times. Just as the Civil War was coming to a merciful end after five bloody years of unrest, the Great Emancipator, President Abraham Lincoln, was assassinated at Ford’s Theater. A story most learned as schoolchildren. This memorial site offers insight into the day of the President’s assassination, his abiding love for the theater, and the nationwide grief that shook our country over a century ago. 

Photo Courtesy Nick Castelli

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