We talk about visiting all 59 natural national parks, but imagine this adventure: visiting all 413 national park units of the United States.
We mapped these places in our grandest national park yet:
These are protected federal lands that include historical monuments, national seashores, and other areas set aside for public use thanks to a national park service established 100 years ago.
Visit just 20 of these sites – as a ranger in Minnesota told us – to have a clear understanding of what this country is about. Or study the map of all 413, set out to see every site, and you’ll become an expert. Our wanderlusting spirits embraced this idea, and so we tasked ourselves with creating a cartographic wonder of the sites, just as we did of the 59 natural parks before setting out on this quest.
The result is a nostalgic piece, both a reminder of what we love, and what we seek.
The map symbolizes each park unit with a little arrowhead symbol next to the names of these places, also including major waterways, cities, the states, and boundaries of this beautiful country.
Andres is the mastermind behind this piece. He crafted the map with a vintage nautical style, unable to resist the romantic aesthetic of days long gone when adventurers like John Muir set foot in the Yosemite Valley. Thinking of these folks, the map is framed with inspiring quotes to motivate the explorer in every viewer.
Who will you meet, what will you see?
There are thousands of things to discover in this country, many of which we imagined in the quaint illustrations detailed throughout the map. If there’s one thing we’ve learned about the U.S. so far, it’s how incredibly diverse the nation is in people and geography. Though no map could possibly depict the intricacies at every corner, it’s at least possible to show the many places you can explore on one piece of archival paper or canvas, whichever you prefer.
We quite honestly couldn’t resist the temptation to make a map of this scale, designed as we travel through the very parks depicted within it. So what place will you discover next? Who knows what you will find, as John Muir notes:
Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life.