Let Freedom Ring
To many of us who spend our 4th of July at an outdoor barbecue or watching baseball, the real meaning of Independence Day is easy to lose sight of. In 1776, on July 4th, church bells rang out over Philadelphia, signaling that the Declaration of Independence was approved and officially adopted by the Second Continental Congress. Today, national parks across the country honor that independence and are great resources to visit. Check out the best parks for the 4th of July and learn about the history of our nation, while having a great time outdoors.
Independence National Historical Park
Located in Philadelphia, Independence National Historical Park commemorates and interprets many of the people, places, and events associated with American independence. Declared a World Heritage Site in 1979, the park holds Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was adopted and where the Constitution of the United States was debated, drafted and signed. A section of the park, where Benjamin Franklin's home once stood, is dedicated to teaching about Franklin's life and accomplishments. The park also interprets events during the years when Philadelphia was the capital of the United States.
National Mall & Memorial Park
Officially established in 1965, National Mall and Memorial Parks protects some of the older parklands in the National Park System. Nowhere else will you find such ample opportunities to commemorate presidential legacies, honor the courage of war veterans, and celebrate what the United States stands for.
There are lots of things to do and see but you’re best bet is to check out the interpretive programs offered by the park service every hour on the hour from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, World War II Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, and Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
Yes, the President of the United States and family live in a national park! The White House and President’s Park have been a part of the National Park System since 1933. President’s Park is the land surrounding the White House, as well as its grounds. The park includes the Ellipse, Lafayette Park, Sherman Park, and the 1st Division Monument.
The park offers many indoor and outdoor activities including, interpretive programs, opportunities for photography and guided tours. Visitors will find activities like walking, jogging, and bicycling easy within the park, especially around the Ellipse sidewalk.
Kids will find no shortage of things to do within the park. Inside the White House Visitor Center, there is an activity area for children to participate in reading, writing letter, coloring handouts and solving puzzles, all relating to the White House and National Park Service.
Thomas Jefferson National Memorial
Thomas Jefferson remains an important historical and was author of the Declaration of Independence. A statesman and visionary for the founding of a Nation. Jefferson remains a part of the study of the eras of the American Revolution, Early Republic, and National Expansion.
The Thomas Jefferson National Memorial is part of the National Mall and Memorial Parks, located at the southern end of the National Mall, adjacent to the Tidal Basin in West Potomac Park.
Mount Rushmore National Memorial
Located in South Dakota, Mount Rushmore National Monument was established in 1925 and commemorates the first 150 years of the history of the United States. Stunning carvings of former United States Presidents were carved into the Black Hills. Today, the monument serves as more than a work of art, but as a symbol of freedom and hope for people of all cultures.
The colossal sculptures of Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt are the main attraction here but there are plenty of things to do besides stare at the mountains. Visitors can participate in ranger walks, various evening programs, audio tours, and even sculpture workshops.
The most prominent structure in Washington, D.C., The Washington Monument, was also one of the city's early attractions. It was built in honor of George Washington, who led the country to independence and then became our first President. Finished in 1884, the monument stands at 555 feet and attracts over 800,000 visitors each year. Visitors do need a ticket to visit the monument, which sell out quickly during summer months.