The National Parks System as a whole is over 100 years old. And while most of the parks named to the system have been around for quite some time, new parks are always under consideration to be added. 

In fact, in the past few years, a number of natural wonders and sites have been added to the system. In 2019, with it’s newest addition, there are now 61 designated National Parks under the watchful eye of the National Parks Service. 

Are you interested in learning about the newest national parks in the US system? 

You’re in the right place. 

Indiana Dunes National Park

Bet you didn’t know there are giant sand dunes in Indiana. In fact, these dunes run for 25 miles, perfect for exploring.

Indiana Dunes was designated as a National park in 2019. Before that, this area was designated as a National Seashore since it runs alongside Lake Michigan. The dunes are home to over 2,000 different species and the area is also home to wetlands, bogs, and grassy prairie land. 

Gateway Arch National Park

Gateway National Park arch in the sunset

Sometimes, National Parks aren’t always home to thousands of acres and natural wonders. This is the case when it comes to Gateway Arch National Park. 

Designated in 2018, this site commemorates the famous St. Louis Gateway Arch which stands over 630 feet high. It was built in 1963 as a way to celebrate the Lewis and Clark expedition in 1803. At the time, St. Louis was the “Gateway to the West.” Visitors can check out the arch and explore the attached museum to learn about the westward expansion of the 1800s. 

Pinnacles National Park

California has its fair share of National Parkland and for a good reason. Pinnacles National Park is the newest to this list after it was upgraded to a National Park in 2013. 

It’s located in the Salinas Valley in Central California, but Pinnacles has long been a destination for rock climbers. This park is home to the remnants of a giant eroded volcano that was first created along the famous San Andreas fault but moved over the millennia. Pinnacles is also home to the endangered California condor and is one of the few places to see this bird in the wild. 

Great Sand Dunes National Park

colorado sand dunes with a bright blue cloud filled sky

Yes, another National Park with sand dunes! But, this one is pretty special, the sand dunes are among the tallest in the world. 

This area was first designated as a National Monument by Herbert Hoover back in the 1920s. However, in 2004, it was upgraded to a National Park. The sand dunes here are famous around the world. They rise up to 750 feet in height! Great Sand Dunes is also home to alpine lakes and an old-growth forest.

Congaree National Park

South Carolina’s Congaree National Park was designated in 2003. It’s home to North America’s oldest remaining old-growth flood plain. 

Settled along the Congaree River, it’s home to some of the tallest trees in the Eastern part of the United States. It’s also been named a UNESCO site because migratory birds stop here each year. The park also features an elevated boardwalk visitors can use to explore the main loop. 

These are the newest National Parks in the US that have been added to the system in the last 15 years. If you’re in any of these local areas, make sure you swing by and check out what these parks have to offer. 

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Also, if you love our National Parks and want to show them some support, read this next post on ways to show your support.