12 Reasons Why November 10 is a Big Day in National Park History

The grey stone cliffs amongst a forest of green trees at the New River Gorge National Recreation Area
New River Gorge National River — National Park Service

Everybody likes a birthday party, so mark your calendars! Several national parks celebrate their birthday this month. 

November 10 might not ring a bell for most of us, but for more than a dozen parks across the country, that date in 1978 marked the beginning of a new chapter in the National Park System. Talk about a momentous day in national park history!

A big day in national park history

If you're wondering how so many parks came to be designated on the same day, you have President Jimmy Carter (among many other hard-working folks) to thank. The National Parks and Recreation Act finally made it to the President's desk on Nov. 10, 1978, after taking more than a year to pass through the House and the Senate. 

The effects of the National Parks and Recreation Act were wide-reaching and included 15 new additions to the National Park System, along with additional land acquisitions, increased funding, and millions of acres of wilderness designations for many other parks. 

Celebrating your national parks

There's no better way to mark this important day in national park history than to visit one of these incredible parks celebrating its birthday on November 10. No matter what part of the country you call home, chances are there's one nearby:

Hawaiian History Preserved

A Hawaiian Stilt and Hawaiian Coot on the shore of Aimakapa Fishpond at Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park

Hawaiian stilt and coot at Aimakapa Fishpond

National Park Service

Discover an untamed volcanic landscape and the vibrant history of the native people who have called the area home for centuries when you visit Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park. Learn about the traditional native culture of the area and be on the lookout for rare migratory birds that fly to the area each winter.

Northwestern Waters

Two green park ranger canoes on the shore at Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River
National Park Service

Find peace and quiet along the last major undammed river in the East—Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River. Activities in this tranquil park include canoeing, fishing, and eagle rafting.

An Unsung Revolutionary

Red and white corn crib and brown tobacco barn at Thomas Stone National Historic Site

Corn crib and tobacco barn

National Park Service

Visit the Thomas Stone National Historic Site to learn more about Thomas Stone, a wealthy man who risked everything to join the American Revolution and sign the Declaration of Independence. While you’re there, be sure to take a walk around the old farm grounds to immerse yourself in the past.

A Poet’s Life Remembered

The external view of the tall red brick building at Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site
National Park Service

Enter the chilling mind of one of America's most enduring authors during a visit to his historic home in Philadelphia, now preserved as the Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site. Take a ranger-led or self-guided tour and be sure to stop for a selfie with the raven statue located just outside the home Poe once lived in.

The Home of a History Maker

Exterior of the south wing of the yellow and maroon Gallatin House at Friendship Hill National Historic Site

Gallatin House

National Park Service

Discover the home of one of America's forgotten founding fathers, Albert Gallatin, who engineered the purchase of the Louisiana Territory, at the Friendship Hill National Historic Site. Gallatin helped plan the Lewis and Clark exploration during his tenure as secretary of the treasury under President Thomas Jefferson.

A River that Sustained a People

Yellow stone cliffs on the short of the 39-mile district at the Missouri National Recreational river
National Park Service

Feel the power of one of America's mightiest and most beautiful free-flowing waterways alongside the Missouri National Recreational River. The river holds a great deal of significance in America’s history – shaping great people and stories that include Lewis and Clark, Ponca Chief Standing Bear, and the treaty that was forged between the United States of America and the Sioux tribe.

A River Within the Canyons

The tip of a canoe looking down Temple Canyon at the Rio Grande National Scenic River
National Park Service

Explore an untamed playground of whitewater rapids and meandering waterways surrounded by resilient limestone canyons. Float down the vast Rio Grande Wild & Scenic River to pass by three canyons within Big Bend National Park, where you may choose to veer off the water for a chance to hike and camp.

A Mix of Cultures

Sunrise onto Mission San Jose Church at the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park

Mission San Jose

National Park Service

Step back in time at this unique historical place where Spanish, American, and Native American cultures met – and often clashed – nearly 300 years ago. The San Antonio Missions National Historical Park holds four mission sites as well as an active Catholic parish that holds regular services.

Fighting for Equality

A blue sign with the historic red building of Maggie L Walker National Historic Site in the background
National Park Service

Explore the inspirational life of one of our great civil rights leaders, Maggie Lena Walker when you visit the Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site in Virginia. Walker devoted her life to civil rights advancement and opportunities during the Jim Crow-era. This site is a tribute to her enduring legacy.

The Puget Sound, Undisturbed

White Admiralty Head Lighthouse at Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve

Admiralty Head Lighthouse

Experience rich history and the stunning natural landscape along the shores of Puget Sound at Washington state’s Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve. Learn about the park’s namesake, the Ebey family, who emigrated to the island in the 1850s, as well as the Skagit Indians who made permanent settlements in the area in the 1300s.

Activities Abound in West Virginia

The water falling over the short Sandstone Falls surrounded by greenery at the New River Gorge National River

Sandstone Falls

Louise McLaughlin/NPS

Immerse yourself in the rugged beauty of one of North America's oldest rivers, as well as the ancient mountains that surround it, at New River Gorge National River. Plenty of opportunities for fun await you there, including hiking, whitewater rafting, fishing, hunting and volunteer opportunities.

Revisiting the 19th Century

A group of 4 reenactors firing a canon in a sunny field at Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park
National Park Service

Connect with the past as you walk through the Texas lands that served as the scene for the first major battle of the U.S.-Mexican War. A visit to Palo Alto Battlefield National Historic Park teaches visitors about the war, its causes, and the many impacts on relations between Mexico and the United States.

November 10 offers an opportunity to celebrate the birthday of some of America's most underrated national parks. That said, you don't have to wait for a special occasion to #FindYourPark/#EncuentraTuParque. Start exploring today!


We have visit 9 of these 12 parks since July 4, 2015. Hawaii is not on our current plan. We missed Edgar Allen Poe when we did our coast to coast Lewis and Clark Trail trip. We plan to return. Ebbey's Landing we hope to visit summer 2019 on our northern California and NW U.S. trip. We visited Friendship Hill and met a great Ranger Kitty Siefert - I still remember her from Spring 2016 she made such an impression on us about Gallatin. Of course we drove the entire length of the Ohio and Missouri Rivers on our Lewis and Clark trip. We did all the NPS units on the Mexican border in 2017 and the San Antonio Missions. Maggie L. Walker was more recently. In all we have visited 238 of the 378 NPS units in the Continental U.S. since 2015. Vast insight.

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