Congaree Swamp National Monument, South Carolina

Congaree Swamp National Monument preserves the largest intact tract of old-growth floodplain forest in North America. The old-growth forest has some of the tallest trees in the eastern United States, with one of the highest canopies in the world. The floodplain (it is not a true swamp) contains remarkably diverse animal and plant life, including approximately 90 tree species. In the early twentieth century, the old-growth forest had been threatened by logging operations. When relatively high timber prices prompted private landowners to consider resuming logging operations in 1969, a “grass roots” campaign organized to protect the forest, and Congress established Congaree Swamp National Monument in 1976.

Congaree Swamp is located off of South Carolina Highway 48 (Bluff Road) approximately 20 miles southeast of Columbia, South Carolina. South Carolina Highway 48 is accessible from Interstate 77 via exit 5 and from Interstate 26 from Charleston via South Carolina Highway 601. Follow the brown and white directional signs once on South Carolina Highway 48.

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

On March 1, 1872, Yellowstone¬†was established as the nation’s first national park, encompassing more than 2.2 million acres of wildlife, wilderness, and wondrous scenery. It is well known that Yellowstone contains an “embarrassment” of riches. This vast wilderness contains more than 10,000 hot springs, mud pots, hot pots, fumaroles, and other geothermal phenomena, including Old Faithful Geyser. Other treasures include waterfalls, wildlife, fossil forests, Yellowstone’s 1,500-foot deep Grand Canyon, Hayden Valley, Lower Falls, and Yellowstone Lake, the largest mountain lake in North America.

There are man-made wonders as well: numerous park lodges, museums, a road system designed to show off many of the wonders, and the historic Old Faithful Inn. The awe-inspiring Old Faithful Inn was built in 1903 – 1904 and designated a National 263Historic Landmark in 1987. This log hotel, with gabled roof, gnarled logs, and seven-story interior log lobby stands adjacent to the world’s best-known geyser, Old Faithful. Designed by Robert Reamer, the rustic grandeur of the Inn was a first for the National Park Service. The Inn continues as an active hotel with accommodations of varying price levels. Even if you aren’t a guest of the Inn, it definitely deserves a visit.

And that’s just for starters. Summon up your reserve energy, because the park offers unbounded, year-round recreational opportunities.


Fort Pulaski National Monument, Georgia

Fort Pulaski guarded the barrier islands off the Georgia coast and the entrance to Savannah harbor at the beginning of the Civil War. In April of 1862, Union troops attacked the fort and successfully employed experimental rifled cannon to breach the fort’s southeast angle and force its surrender. The fall of Fort Pulaski halted export of cotton from Savannah. After the taking of Fort Pulaski, Union Major General David Hunter, an ardent abolitionist, ordered the release of area slaves and recruited many of them into the Union army as the First South Carolina Colored Regiment. The park includes 5,623 acres of scenic marsh and uplands that support a variety of animal life, including white-tailed deer, alligators, and raccoons and migratory birds.

Location Information and Directions

Links: Fort Pulaski National Monument