Our country’s national memorials are primarily commemorative and may be dedicated to a single historic individual or even millions. Throughout the country, you will find elaborate memorials to our great Presidents or memorials that honor the millions who served in the armed forces of the U.S. These sacred national memorial sites, structures, and grounds are deserving of the utmost respect, which is why, in some cases, visitors will be asked to remain silent during visits or they may be asked not to touch. Luckily, many national memorials feature guided tours, educational materials, films, exhibits, sometimes souvenirs, so visitors can leave with a better understanding (or a piece) of our country’s history.
In the pages below, you will find profiles of some of the country’s most visited national memorials. Included is contact information to help you plan your trip as well as photos of each destination. Here’s a preview:
Cabrillo National Memorial commemorates Portuguese explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, also known as the “Columbus of California.” Cabrillo was the first European to land in California, and took possession of the entire coast for the King of Spain. The San Diego memorial includes a larger-than-life statue of Cabrillo, with a visitor center that features displays about the explorer and his expedition.
The stainless steel great arc of silver rising above St. Louis is a tribute to the soaring mind of Thomas Jefferson, the courage of the people who settled the west, and the simple beauty of architecture. At 630 feet high, Jefferson National Expansion Memorial is the nation’s tallest monument, besting the Washington Monument by 75 feet.
More than 8,000 people pass through the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts National Memorial each day. It is the largest cultural facility of it’s kind featuring some of the city’s most prestigious cultural events. This Washington D.C. center is also designed to serve as a memorial to President John F. Kennedy.
The Lyndon Baines Johnson Memorial Grove of 500 white pines forms a living memorial to the thirty-sixth president. The memorial overlooks the Potomac River and offers a sweeping view of the capital. It includes inscriptions carved in pink granite detailing Johnson’s views on education, civil rights, and the environment, as well as a recorded address by the president’s wife, a picnic area, and a mile of walking trails.
Conservation was a major interest of Theodore Roosevelt. It is therefore fitting that an Island in the Potomac River should serve as a memorial to the nation’s twenty-sixth President. This national memorial also provides an urban haven for wildlife including 88-acres or forest and marsh, 2.5 miles of hiking trails with markers that provide information about the island and its history, and a 17-foot-tall bronze statue of Theodore Roosevelt.
To learn more about national monuments and historic sites, and other travel destinations in North America, visit: