• President Obama designates new national monuments

    2013-03-27

    Earlier this week, President Barack Obama designated five sites as new national monuments. The destinations run the gamut from places that have significant historical weight to spots that offer considerable natural beauty, and each one has its own unique appeal. The move was lauded as a smart decision because it will not only preserve some of the most compelling landmarks in the United States, but also provide families looking for travel opportunities a few ways to do so. Here is a look at some of the newest additions to the list of national monuments:

    Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument
    Tubman is one of the most iconic figures of the abolitionist movement. She helped many slaves navigate the Underground Railroad to reach freedom in the North, and this monument takes you through some of the long journey. The cornerstone of the destination is a 125-mile drive through Maryland on the Underground Railroad Byway. Not only is it a picturesque drive - it brings you through forests and marshlands - but there are many historic buildings that remain to this day.

    Río Grande del Norte National Monument
    The Southwest is home to some of the most stunning landscapes in the United States, and that is especially true for the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument. Obama's decree covers an estimated 242,500-acre expanse of land that includes some breathtaking views of deep canyons, gorges and hiking trails.

    "These are legendary rivers of the Southwest," John Bailey, an assistant field manager for the Bureau of Land Management, told MSNBC. "There's a great deal of pride in protecting them."

    San Juan Islands National Monument
    A gem of the Pacific Northwest, the San Juan Islands is an archipelago located between British Columbia and Washington. Although many of the islands are difficult to reach, some of them provide one of the best United States travel opportunities around. According to MSNBC, you should make a point to head to Lopez Island. The third largest of the San Juan Islands, Lopez is home to several popular tourist destinations including Spencer Spit State Park. Lopez Island is also an ideal destination for adventure travel enthusiasts, as there are plentiful opportunities for cycling, hiking and spotting local wildlife.

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