Special Places to Honor Veterans

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Veterans Day is a time when Americans honor and thank U.S. military veterans for their service to their country. This is also a perfect time to enjoy America’s great outdoors and historic places, which represent much of what veterans serve to protect.  

Beginning Veterans Day 2020, all U.S. military veterans and Gold Star families are granted free access to federal lands across the country.  The free access program is a way to thank America’s veterans and Gold Star families for their support of our country and to encourage them to explore recreational opportunities on their public lands. 

Free access means free entrance to national parks, federal wildlife refuges and other federal lands that normally charge entrance fees, as well as free use of standard amenities like day use, individual picnic sites, etc. at other participating federal lands. The fee waiver does not cover expanded amenity or user fees for activities such as camping, transportation, special recreation permits or special tours.  For more information and answers to common questions, visit this National Park Service site.

Read our list for ideas‚ÄĒthen find a way to remember and honor our veterans as you enjoy some of the best our country has to offer!

Unique places to honor U.S. military veterans across the country

See the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and more at the National Archives Museum


Front of the stone National Archives building with 3 flag banners between columns.

National Archives, Washington D.C. (National Archives photo)

You won't want to miss visiting the National Archives Museum in Washington, D.C.  Be sure to make a tour reservation to view the original Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Make sure to also check out the Record of Rights exhibit for a glance at many other original documents seeking to fulfill the promise of the founding documents. 

Looking for ancestors who served in the military? Explore National Archives genealogy resources!

Visit World War II and D-Day Historical Sites


Honoring Veterans at the World War II Memorial in Washington, DC

World War II Memorial (Gwen Johnson, Share the Experience)

Did you know that more than 16 million Americans served during World War II? Discover places that commemorate World War II reflecting both military and civilian contributions and honoring those who served. Explore World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument (including Pearl Harbor) in Hawai'i, Alaska and California or plan a trip to the West Coast World War II Memorial at the Presidio of San Francisco.

You may get a chance to meet a veteran volunteering or visiting at the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., and hear their story firsthand. Delve deep into American Military to learn about dedicated military men and women, past and present.

Within Mojave Trails National Monument in California, you'll find plenty of recreational opportunities and you can see some of the best preserved sites from the World War II-era Desert Training Center. Here in February 1942, General George S. Patton, Jr. was assigned to advance desert tank warfare and train U.S. soldiers for combat under harsh desert conditions.

Hike a Trail


A flag stands along the Pacific Crest Trail within the Angeles National Forest

Angeles National Forest along the Pacific Crest Trail (Maria Ignacio, Share the Experience)

Enjoy a day hike or walk along a section of one of our numerous National Trails such as the Appalachian National Scenic Trail in the East. Congress designated these trails because they play a crucial role in re-tracing American history or because they celebrate the natural beauty of the United States. You might ascend to a breathtaking view on the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail, or feel a sense of national pride on the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail.

#FindYourTrail¬†favorites ‚Äúfrom sea to shining sea.‚ÄĚ

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument and Veterans Memorial Trail


Geologic formations called hoodoos at Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, New Mexico (Richard McIntyre, Share the Experience)

A place for quiet reflection and contemplation, the Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument in New Mexico is a geologic wonder with a long, rich cultural history. Managed by the Pueblo of Cochiti in cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management and Sandoval County, this inspiring landscape provides solace for many. Within the monument is the Veterans’ Memorial Scenic Overlook dedicated to all American veterans. The overlook provides spectacular vistas of Camada and Peralta Canyons, the Dome Wilderness and Jemez Mountains. The Veterans Memorial Trail is a 1-mile (1.6 km) loop trail, rated as very easy and is wheelchair accessible.

National Register of Historic Places Travel Itineraries


American flag near the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California

Golden Gate National Recreation Area, California (Hiroshi Kawashima, Share the Experience)

The World War II in the San Francisco Bay Area itinerary features a video, a list of sites and maps, essays and more information to commemorate this West Coast city’s role in the war. Let this be your guide to discover which places you can visit in the Bay area.

Search for other national register travel itineraries by state close to your home and discover more about our country's fascinating history.

Visit the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial


Military veteran and NPS employee James Pierce at American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial (NPS)

Washington, D.C.

Pause and reflect at the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial adjacent to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. This is the first national memorial dedicated solely to disabled veterans, paying tribute to the hidden and visible disabilities from all conflicts and all branches of service. James Pierce, Volunteer Coordinator for the National Mall and Memorial Parks is one of the caretakers of this powerful memorial. Like many wounded veterans, James has chosen to continue to serve his country as a public servant. Read his story.


Discover America's Federal Lands Fee Free


A sunset view from Big Bend National Park in Texas

Big Bend National Park, Texas (Craig Olson, Share the Experience)

In honor of America’s veterans, entry is FREE at Bureau of Land Management places, Fish and Wildlife Service refuges, U.S. Forest Service forests, National Park Service units, Bureau of Reclamation sites and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers locations on Veterans Day.  Enjoy your public lands and pay tribute to those who help to protect them.

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