UNESCO Sites in USA

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

Map of Chaco Canyon, close to Pueblo Alto

Chaco Culture, aka Chaco Canyon

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. Between the years AD 900 and 1150, Chaco Canyon stood as a thriving cultural center for the Ancestral Puebloans. The Chacoans demonstrated their remarkable architectural skills by quarrying sandstone blocks and transporting timber from distant locations. They erected fifteen major complexes, which remained the largest buildings ever constructed in North America until the 19th century. Their architectural achievements are often associated with precise astronomical observations, as exemplified by the famous "Sun Dagger" petroglyph on Fajada Butte. Many Chacoan structures are believed to have been aligned to track ...
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. 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 in 1886. Following its dedication, the Statue of Liberty swiftly became an enduring icon of freedom and of the United States itself. It stands as a powerful symbol of hope and welcome, particularly for ...
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. The Hopewell people are also renowned for their elaborate burial practices. They constructed burial mounds, often in the shape of conical mounds, which contained rich grave goods, including exotic materials like copper, mica, shells, and rare artifacts. The meticulous construction of these mounds and the items buried within them suggest complex ceremonial and religious practices. Some mounds, like those at Mound City in Ohio, contained burial chambers with multiple individuals ...
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. Nestled against the backdrop of the Taos Mountains in the Sangre de Cristo Range, Taos Pueblo is uniquely positioned on both sides of the Rio Pueblo de Taos, also known as Rio Pueblo, and Red Willow Creek, a small stream that flows through the heart of the pueblo. The headwaters of this stream originate from the nearby Blue Lake, or ...
Florida Manatee, Everglades National Park

Everglades National Park Facts

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. While many national parks safeguard unique geographic features, Everglades National Park holds the distinction of being the first national park established primarily to protect a delicate and interconnected ecosystem. The Everglades consist of wetlands and forests nourished by a river that flows at an exceptionally slow pace of 0.25 miles (0.40 kilometers) per day from Lake Okeechobee to Florida Bay. 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: ...
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 culture, which extended its influence across the Southeastern Woodlands of the Southern United States and covered a vast territory, spanning 100 miles across the Mississippi Delta and south to the Gulf Coast. The centerpiece of Poverty Point comprises a series of earthen ridges, mounds, and a central plaza, forming a unique geometric design that became apparent through aerial photographs. The six concentric C-shaped ridges, separated by swales, are distinct from Poverty Point. Although the ridges' height and width have been affected by centuries of plowing, archaeologists believe they were once taller and more massive. Radiocarbon dating suggests the ridges were constructed between 1600 and 1300 BCE. The central plaza, encompassed by the innermost ridge, has been significantly modified, with evidence of wooden posts hinting at their integral role in the ...
Crandell Lake in Waterton Glacier International Peace Park

Waterton Glacier International Peace Park

Waterton Glacier International Peace Park, includes Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada and Glacier National Park in the US, are UNESCO World Heritage Sites ...
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. Over millions of years, the Colorado River has carved the canyon, revealing more than 2 billion years of Earth's geological history in its exposed rock layers and formations that tell the story of the planet's evolution. Within the park, diverse landscapes include high cliffs, fields, deserts, forests, cinder cones, magma streams, rivers, waterfalls, and a pristine whitewater river. It showcases how different landscapes evolved at various elevations as the Colorado River carved deeper into the canyon. Here is an overview of Grand Canyon National Park: ...
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. It was designed by Edmund Woolley and Andrew Hamilton. The building served as the meeting place for the Pennsylvania Provincial Assembly. The Assembly Room within Independence Hall played a crucial role in American history, serving as a meeting place for significant events. Here is a detailed history of Independence Hall: ...
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. Yellowstone National Park's natural wonders and rich history make it a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts, scientists, and tourists from around the world. Its unique geothermal features and diverse ecosystems make it a true treasure of the United States. A vacation in Yellowstone National Park offers a unique and unforgettable experience. Whether you're a nature enthusiast, wildlife lover, hiker, or simply someone seeking awe-inspiring natural beauty, Yellowstone has something to offer. Here are some key facts and a brief history of Yellowstone National Park: ...
Glacier Bay National Park

Glacier Bay National Park

Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve on the Gulf of Alaska, a huge natural region in southeastern Alaska, was a UNESCO World Heritage Site from 1992 ...
Dall Sheep, Alaska mountain, Wrangell St Elias

Wrangell St Elias National Park

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park in Alaska is the largest national park in the US with over 13 million acres, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979 ...
Monticello Thomas Jefferson's Home

Monticello Thomas Jefferson

Monticello Thomas Jefferson: Monticello and the University of Virginia in Charlottesville were added to the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 1987 ...
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 are all UNESCO World Heritage Sites ...
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 ...
San Antonio Mission Concepcion

San Antonio Missions

San Antonio History Facts. San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, San Jose, Texas, USA. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2015 ...
Hawaii volcanoes national park webcam

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is an area along the southeastern shore of the island of Hawaii, U.S., a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987 ...
Reef fish of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument

Papahānaumokuākea

Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in Honolulu, USA, has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2010. It's 250 km from Hawaii's main islands ...
La Fortaleza San Juan Puerto Rico, USA

La Fortaleza Puerto Rico

La Fortaleza and San Juan National Historic Site in Puerto Rico, USA, were designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1983 ...
Redwood National and State Parks

Redwood National Park

The redwood forests of Redwood National Park run alongside the Pacific Ocean north of San Francisco, USA, and were a UNESCO World Heritage Site from 1980 onwards ...
Mesa Verde Balcony House

Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde national park history. Mesa verde Cliff dwellings. Its a section of the Colorado Plateau in the United States, spanning New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah ...
Cahokia Illinois

Cahokia Mounds

Cahokia mounds state historic site. Cahokia Illinois. Cahokia mounds museum. Cahokia mounds history, hours. Indian mounds Illinois. Cahokia map. Cahokia culture ...
Yosemite Falls Sierra Nevada of California

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park History Facts. Where is Yosemite National Park. Yosemite National Park History. Yosemite Travel. What is Yosemite National Park Known for ...
Clingmans Dome of Great Smoky Mountains

Great Smoky Mountains

The Great Smoky Mountains, or Tennessee Mountains or Smoky Mountains, in eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina, U.S., were a UNESCO World Heritage Site from 1983 onwards ...
Roosevelt Elk Olympic Park

Olympic National Park

Olympic national park. Olympic national forest. National park Washington. Olympic national park hiking. Olympics national park weather ...
Mammoth Cave Frozen Niagara

Mammoth Cave

Mammoth cave national park. Kentucky mammoth cave. UNESCO World Heritage Site. Cave Kentucky. Mammoth cave national park tours. Mammoth cave temperature ...

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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