UNESCO World Heritage Sites in USA: The United States boasts a total of 25 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, comprising twelve cultural, twelve natural, and one mixed site that spans its diverse landscapes. These sites, many of which are national parks, hold significant historical and cultural importance, shedding light on the rich tapestry of American society.

How Many World Heritage Sites in USA

In 1978, Mesa Verde National Park and Yellowstone National Park became the first U.S. locations to earn UNESCO World Heritage status. Since then, an additional 23 sites in 24 states, including two trans-boundary sites shared with Canada, have received this prestigious designation.

UNESCO’s mission to safeguard these landmarks transcends political boundaries, ensuring their protection even when the United States is not actively involved. Below, we highlight all of these remarkable sites, with the full list available later in this article.

Many travelers to the United States may not realize that they have visited UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Your memorable trips to places like Independence Hall in Philadelphia or the Statue of Liberty in New York were, in fact, visits to these esteemed sites.

However, the journey doesn’t have to end there. You can intentionally aim to explore all 24 sites or stumble upon them during your travels. For example, the 1993 additions to the list included diverse locations like the El Vizcaino whale sanctuary in Mexico, the fortified church towns in Transylvania, and the Engelsberg Ironworks in Sweden. Regardless of their diversity, all these sites share the common criterion of possessing “outstanding universal value.”

While Italy boasts the highest number of World Heritage Sites globally, the United States is not far behind. Despite its vast expanse, the U.S. has four more such sites than Canada, covering a significant portion of the Northern Hemisphere. The World Heritage Convention, established in 1972, saw participation from 193 countries, including the United States.

World Heritage Sites in the United States

Over time, however, the U.S. government’s connection with UNESCO has weakened. Funding was halted after the group was granted access to the Palestinian territories in 2011 during the Obama administration. More recently, former President Trump announced the United States’ departure from UNESCO, though the nation retained its status as a state party and was a founding member of the organization.

In practical terms, this means that the United States still holds the responsibilities and privileges of a state party, including the ability to nominate additional sites for UNESCO review in the future. As George C. Papagiannis, responsible for media services at UNESCO, explains, “World Heritage sites in the US remain World Heritage sites, and the US retains the ability to submit proposals for further site designations in the years to come.”

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in USA

Statue of Liberty New York State, USA

Statue of Liberty Facts and History

The Statue of Liberty, an iconic symbol of freedom, stands proudly on Liberty Island at the entrance to New York Harbor in the United States. This colossal statue is made of thin copper sheets, carefully shaped over a sturdy steel framework. It was a remarkable gift from France, given on the occasion of the United States’ centennial celebration in 1876. Statue of Liberty Facts and History Sculptor Frédéric Bartholdi, in collaboration with engineer Gustave Eiffel, crafted this masterpiece, which was considered a remarkable fusion of art and engineering, marking one of the most significant technical achievements of the 19th century. Perched atop its grand pedestal, designed by American architect Richard Morris Hunt, the Statue of Liberty has been a symbol of welcome for countless immigrants since its dedication ...
Facts about Grand Canyon National Park, South Rim

Facts about Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park, located in Arizona, is one of the most iconic and breathtaking natural wonders in the United States. The park is not only a geological marvel but also a place of immense beauty and natural diversity. Whether you're admiring the vistas from the rim, exploring the depths of the canyon, or engaging in outdoor adventures, the Grand Canyon offers an unforgettable experience for all who visit. Here is an overview of Grand Canyon National Park: Facts about Grand Canyon National Park 1. Geological Marvel: The Grand Canyon is a 1.5-kilometer deep gorge carved, stretches 445 km (276.5 miles) in length, and ranges in width from 500 m to 30 km (0.3 mile to 18.6 miles). The park is renowned for the Grand Canyon, an ...
Map of Chaco Canyon, close to Pueblo Alto

Chaco Culture, aka Chaco Canyon

Chaco Culture, also known as Chaco Canyon, is an ancient archaeological site in the southwestern United States that holds great historical and cultural significance. Here's an overview of Chaco culture: Chaco Culture National Historical Park 1. Chaco Culture: Chaco Culture National Historical Park, situated in the American Southwest, is a remarkable United States National Historical Park that features a concentration of ancient pueblos. Located in northwestern New Mexico, nestled between Albuquerque and Farmington, this park is set within a remote canyon carved by the Chaco Wash. It is renowned for preserving one of the most significant pre-Columbian cultural and historical regions in the United States. 2. Chaco Canyon, New Mexico: Between the years AD 900 and 1150, Chaco Canyon stood as a thriving cultural center for the ...
Mesa Verde Balcony House

Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde National Park was founded on June 29, 1906, by President Theodore Roosevelt to "preserve the works of man," making it the first national park of its type. The park's research and resource management team are now focused on ensuring the long-term preservation of both cultural and ecological resources. Where is mesa verde The Mesa Verde Region is a section of the Colorado Plateau in the United States, spanning New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah. The Mesa Verde National Park is divided into different areas. The Chaplin Mesa area is the most accessible and contains the most archaeological sites. Wetherill Mesa is calmer — and only open from May to October due to snow blocking the short curving access road. Wetherill Mesa's cliff dwellings and trails can ...
Philadelphia Independence Hall Historical Facts

Independence Hall Historical Facts

Independence Hall, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is an iconic historical building with immense significance in American history and a symbol of American democracy. It holds a central place in U.S. history as the birthplace of the nation. It stands as a testament to the enduring principles of liberty, democracy, and independence upon which the United States was founded. It continues to attract visitors from around the world who seek to connect with the nation's history and values. Here is a detailed history of Independence Hall: Independence Hall History 1. Historical Importance of the Founding of the USA: Independence Hall is one of the most historically significant buildings in the United States. It played a pivotal role in the nation's founding; located in Philadelphia, it is where the ...
Taos Pueblo New Mexico

Taos Pueblo New Mexico

Taos Pueblo is an ancient and culturally significant Native American community located in northern New Mexico. Taos Pueblo, also known as Pueblo de Taos, is an ancient and continuously inhabited pueblo belonging to the Taos-speaking (Tiwa) Native American tribe. It is situated approximately 1 mile north of the modern city of Taos in New Mexico. This pueblo stands as one of the oldest continually occupied communities in the United States and is a member of the Eight Northern Pueblos. The pueblo encompasses tribal land covering 95,000 acres and is home to about 4,500 residents. Here's an overview of Taos Pueblo: Taos Pueblo History Nestled against the backdrop of the Taos Mountains in the Sangre de Cristo Range, Taos Pueblo is uniquely positioned on both sides of the ...
Cahokia Illinois

Cahokia Mounds

Cahokia Mounds is an archaeological site in the United States. It is between St. Louis, Missouri, and Cahokia, Illinois, in the area where the Mississippi River floods. This historic site used to have about 120 mounds that covered about 6 square miles (16 square kilometers), but some of the mounds and other old features have been destroyed. Indian Mounds Illinois At Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, there are more than 70 mounds. It was made in 1979 and is 3.4 square miles in size (8.9 square kilometers). In 1982, UNESCO put it on its list of World Heritage Sites. Cahokia was built around 700 AD, and it was a good place to live for about 400 years (c. 950–1350). At its peak, there were as many as ...
Florida Manatee, Everglades National Park

Everglades National Park Facts

Everglades National Park in Florida is a unique and ecologically important natural area. To provide a clearer and more structured overview of the park, here are some interesting facts about Everglades National Park: Everglades National Park Florida Everglades National Park, situated in Florida, safeguards the southern portion of the original Everglades, comprising the largest tropical wilderness in the United States and the most extensive wilderness east of the Mississippi River. The park, drawing an annual average of one million visitors, ranks as the third-largest national park in the contiguous United States, following Death Valley and Yellowstone. Its global significance is underscored by several recognitions: UNESCO declared it a Biosphere Reserve in 1976, listing it as a World Heritage Site in 1979, and the Ramsar Convention designated it ...
Hopewell Culture: Indigenous Copper Bird

Hopewell Culture Ceremonial Earthworks

The Hopewell Culture is an ancient Native American cultural phenomenon that thrived in the Ohio region of the United States. This culture, which emerged between 100 BCE and 500 CE, is known for its distinctive earthworks, elaborate burial mounds, and extensive trade networks that spanned across much of eastern North America. The Hopewell people are named after the owner of a farm near Chillicothe, Ohio, where the first Hopewell site was excavated in the 19th century. Hopewell Culture in Ohio One of the most remarkable features of the Hopewell Culture is its earthen enclosures and geometric earthworks. These earthworks, built in the shapes of circles, squares, and octagons, often served as ceremonial and social gathering places. The Great Circle and Octagon Earthworks in Newark, Ohio, are some ...

Roosevelt Elk Olympic Park

Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park is a large, ecologically varied territory in northwestern Washington, USA that encompasses much of the Olympic Peninsula. The Olympic Mountains, as well as their magnificent woods and fauna, are preserved in this national park, which was established as a national monument in 1909 and designated a national park in 1938. Olympic National Park Washington In 1981, the Olympic Park was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 1988, the park was declared a wilderness area in its entirety. It spans 1,442 square miles (3,735 square kilometers), with the Olympic National Forest around most of it. Despite the fact that European explorers reached the peninsula in the late 18th century, the first journey into the hilly interior did not take place until 1885. The ...
Yosemite Falls Sierra Nevada of California

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park in central California, USA, covers 1,189 square miles (3,080 square kilometers) in the Sierra Nevada range. Yosemite was first protected in and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1984. Giant sequoia (redwood) groves with thousands of years-old trees, Yosemite Falls, Bridalveil Fall (620 ft or 189 m), and huge domes and peaks; the most famous of these is El Capitan, a granite buttress with an elevation of 7,569 ft (2,307 m) and a height of 3,600 ft (1,100 m) above Yosemite Valley's floor. Yosemite National Park History Facts Yosemite National Park is a beautiful mountainous area in east-central California, the United States. It's roughly 140 miles (225 kilometers) east of San Francisco and 100 miles (160 kilometers) southeast of Sacramento. To the east, ...
Grand Prismatic Spring of Yellowstone National Park: US Landmarks

Yellowstone National Park Facts History

Yellowstone National Park is one of the most famous and iconic national parks in the United States. It is renowned for its stunning natural beauty, geothermal features, and diverse wildlife. Here are some key facts and a brief history of Yellowstone National Park: Yellowstone National Park Facts and History Yellowstone National Park Facts 1. Establishment: Yellowstone National Park was established on March 1, 1872, making it the first national park in the world. It predates the National Park Service, which was created in 1916. 2. Location: The park is located primarily in the U.S. state of Wyoming, with small portions extending into Montana and Idaho. It covers an area of approximately 2.2 million acres. 3. Geothermal Features: Yellowstone is famous for its geothermal features, including geysers, hot ...
San Antonio Mission Concepcion

San Antonio Missions

San Antonio Missions National Historical Park is a national historical park in San Antonio, Texas, USA. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2015. The Missions in San Antonio keep four of the five Spanish missions that were built along the border. These outposts were made by Catholic groups to spread Christianity to the locals. During the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, these missions were part of the Spanish Southwest's colonial system. The San Antonio Missions show how people lived and thought in the United States for about 300 years. Everyone in the family can have fun at one of the four mission sites in the park. San Antonio Missions National Park At Mission Concepcion, Mission San Juan, and Mission Espada in San Jose, you ...
Mammoth Cave Frozen Niagara

Mammoth Cave

Mammoth Cave National Park is a national park in west-central Kentucky, United States, that contains an extensive system of limestone caverns. In 1981, it was classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park, which was designated in 1926 but did not become completely operational until July 1, 1941, has an area of 83 square miles (215 square km). Mammoth cave national park A passage joining Mammoth Cave and the Flint Ridge Cave System, which is also within the national park, was discovered in 1972, and a connection to Roppel Cave, which is located to the east of the park, was discovered in 1983. The entire multilevel system's studied and documented underground corridors have a combined length of at least 400 miles (650 kilometers), making it the ...
Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico, a part of the Chihuahuan Desert in the United States, became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. The Guadalupe Mountains and the plains of the Chihuahuan Desert meet in the Caverns in New Mexico. In this karst area of New Mexico, there are more than 80 caves known to be in Carlsbad Caverns. They are amazing not only because of their size, but also because of how many, different, and beautiful their mineral formations are. Carlsbad Caverns Facts Facts About Carlsbad Caverns: Caves in New Mexico have 83 caves in Carlsbad National Park. The park is 73 square miles (189 square kilometers) big and is home to Carlsbad Caverns National Park, which gives the park its name. The park ...
Clingmans Dome of Great Smoky Mountains

Great Smoky Mountains

The Great Smoky Mountains, or Smoky Mountains or Tennessee Mountains, a western segment of the high Appalachian Mountains in eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina, U.S., were a UNESCO World Heritage Site from 1983 onwards. Great Smoky Mountains National Park Facts Great smoky mountains run between Knoxville, in western Tennessee, and Asheville, in eastern North Carolina. These mountains are sometimes considered a division of the Unaka Mountains since they fade into the Blue Ridge escarpment to the east in North Carolina. Clingmans Dome, at 6,643 feet (2,025 meters), is the highest point within the Smoky Mountains National Park. It is Tennessee's highest point. Mounts Guyot, Chapman, Collins, Le Conte, and Kephart are all over 6,000 feet (1,830 metres) in elevation. The national park is part of a ...
Poverty Point Louisiana

Poverty Point Louisiana

Poverty Point State Historic Site, located in northeastern Louisiana, holds a unique place in American archaeology. This prehistoric earthwork was constructed by the ancient Poverty Point culture, which extended its influence across the Southeastern Woodlands of the Southern United States. This culture covered a vast territory, spanning 100 miles across the Mississippi Delta and south to the Gulf Coast. It's a remarkable site of archaeological significance and is recognized as a state historic site, a U.S. National Monument, and a U.S. National Historic Landmark. Here's a brief overview of Poverty Point: Poverty Point World Heritage Site At a distance of 15.5 miles from the Mississippi River, Poverty Point is perched on the edge of Macon Ridge, and in its proximity, the village of Epps developed in later ...

Redwood National and State Parks

Redwood National Park

Redwood National Park is made up of redwood forests that run alongside the Pacific Ocean north of San Francisco, USA, and was a UNESCO World Heritage Site from 1980 onwards. Redwood National and State Parks Redwood national and state parks are covered with a magnificent forest of coastal redwood trees. These trees are the world's tallest and most stunning. The marine and land life are equally remarkable. Sea lions, bald eagles, and the endangered California brown pelican are particularly vulnerable. Redwood National Park History The Redwood National Forest was established in 1968 and expanded in 1978. The park has 40 miles (64 kilometers) of picturesque Pacific shoreline as well as virgin (old-growth) groves of ancient redwood trees, including the world's largest tree. It includes territory owned by ...
Hawaii volcanoes national park webcam

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is a place on the southeast coast of the U.S. island of Hawaii. Since 1987, it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is southwest of Hilo on the Big Island. It started in 1961. Before that, it was part of Hawaii National Park, which started in 1916. It covers 505 square miles (1,308 square km) in total. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Facts Mauna Loa and Kilauea are two of the most active and easily accessible volcanoes in the world. They are both in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, where geological changes are still happening. Hawaii Volcano Park is a great place to see how islands can be made by volcanoes. There are at least six different climate zones ...
Glacier Bay National Park

Glacier Bay National Park

Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve is in the Gulf of Alaska, USA. It is a large natural area in southeast Alaska. Since 1992, it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve covers 5,129 square miles and includes Glacier Bay (13,287 square kilometers). The northern, southern, and western sides of 15,300-foot (4,663-meter) Mount Fairweather, as well as the Alsek River in the United States. To the north of the park is the Tatshenshini-Alsek Wilderness Provincial Park in British Columbia, Canada. One of the most interesting things about the park is its large tidewater glaciers. Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve In 1925, Alaska's Glacier Parks were made a national monument. It was made a national park and preserve in the year ...
Reef fish of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument


The Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in Honolulu, USA, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is about 250 km northwest of Hawaii's main islands and is about 1931 km long. In the water around Papahānaumokuākea is a long line of small, low-lying islands and atolls. For Native Hawaiian culture today, the place has a lot of cosmological and cultural meaning. James Watt wrote "Reef Fish by James Watt" to show a little bit of the past and the Hawaiian idea that people and nature are connected. Most people call it the Northwest Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument. The site is in a part of the ocean that is 140,000 square miles (360,000 km2) big and has ten islands and atolls. Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument On June 15, ...
La Fortaleza San Juan Puerto Rico, USA

La Fortaleza Puerto Rico

La Fortaleza and the San Juan National Historic Site in Puerto Rico are places in and around San Juan, Puerto Rico, in the United States. Both of them have been UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1983. After La Fortaleza, the defenses of Castillo San Felipe del Morro, Castillo San Cristobal, and San Juan de la Cruz (El Canuelo) were built, as well as a large part of the old San Juan City Wall. Between the 16th and 20th centuries, they were built to protect the city and the bay of San Juan. La Fortaleza San Juan Puerto Rico They are a good example of the traditional ways that military buildings were built during this time. It's a project that takes European ideas and methods and changes them ...
Crandell Lake in Waterton Glacier International Peace Park

Waterton Glacier International Peace Park

Waterton Glacier International Peace Park is made up of Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada and Glacier National Park in the United States. UNESCO has named both parks Biosphere Reserves, and the two parks together are a World Heritage Site. The only road border crossing in Waterton Glacier International Peace Park is the Chief Mountain Border Crossing. From the U.S. side, you can get there via Montana Highway 17, and from the Canadian side, you can get there via Alberta Highway 6. Waterton Glacier International Peace Park It is one of only two places on the border between the US and Canada that close in the winter. In 1932, Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta, Canada, and Glacier National Park in Montana, United States, were joined together ...
Taliesin West Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture Photo

Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture

The 20th-Century Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright is a group of eight buildings across the United States that were designed by the American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. These buildings are all UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These places show how he lived by his idea of "organic architecture," which meant making buildings that worked well with people and their surroundings. In the 20th century, Wright's work had a big effect on architecture all over the world. Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture Style Frank Lloyd Wright was born in 1867 and he died in 1959. He grew up in a rural area of Wisconsin and studied civil engineering at the University of Wisconsin. Then he got a job as an apprentice for famous architects from the Chicago school of architecture, ...
Monticello Thomas Jefferson's Home

Monticello Thomas Jefferson

Monticello was where Thomas Jefferson lived. It is in the south-central part of the U.S. state of Virginia, about 3 km (2 miles) southeast of Charlottesville. Between 1768 and 1809, the building was put up. It is one of the best examples in the United States of the early Classical Revival style. Monticello and the University of Virginia in Charlottesville were added to the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 1987. Monticello Thomas Jefferson Facts Thomas Jefferson, who lived from 1743 to 1826, was the third president of the United States and wrote the Declaration of Independence. He was also a skilled neoclassical building designer, and he built Monticello. When Thomas Jefferson left for France in 1784 as the American minister to that country, most ...
Dall Sheep, Alaska mountain, Wrangell St Elias

Wrangell St Elias National Park

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park is the largest national park in Alaska, USA. It has more than 13 million acres, making it the largest national park in the United States. Wrangell-St. Elias, along with Glacier Bay, Kluane, and Tatshenshini-Alsek, has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979. It is a beautiful, huge, and amazing place with a lot of glaciers. Wrangell St Elias National Park and Preserve From Chitina, you can drive on the bumpy McCarthy Road to McCarthy, and from there, you can get to the park. McCarthy is not accessible by car. At the end of the road, you'll find a footbridge that will take you into "downtown." The town of Kenicott, which used to be a copper mine, is 5 miles down the road ...

List of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in USA

  1. Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site (1982)
  2. Chaco Culture (1987)
  3. Independence Hall (1979)
  4. La Fortaleza and San Juan National Historic Site in Puerto Rico (1983)
  5. Mesa Verde National Park (1978)
  6. Monticello and the University of Virginia in Charlottesville (1987)
  7. Monumental Earthworks of Poverty Point (2014)
  8. San Antonio Missions (2015)
  9. Statue of Liberty (1984)
  10. Taos Pueblo (1992)
  11. The 20th-Century Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright (2019)
  12. Carlsbad Caverns National Park (1995)
  13. Everglades National Park (1979)
  14. Grand Canyon National Park (1979)
  15. Great Smoky Mountains National Park (1983)
  16. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (1987)
  17. Kluane / Wrangell-St. Elias / Glacier Bay / Tatshenshini-Alsek (1979, 1992, 1994)
  18. Mammoth Cave National Park (1981)
  19. Olympic National Park (1981)
  20. Redwood National and State Parks (1980)
  21. Waterton Glacier International Peace Park (1995)
  22. Yellowstone National Park (1978)
  23. Yosemite National Park (1984)
  24. Papahanaumokuakea (2010)
  25. Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks (2023)
Amitava Ray
Amitava Ray

I'm a photographer (1979), a blogger (2006), and a Wiki special contributor, enhancing your next assignment with illustrated knowledge before moving on.

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