We’re sharing 14 of the coolest and most unique UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the United States! We’ve been to every one of these interesting sites and can personally vouch for how awesome they are! On the list we have sites that have major cultural or historic significance in the USA as well as many sites that have awe-inspiring natural beauty. You will wont be disappointed with a trip that takes you to see any one of these!
Here is our U.S. UNESCO World Heritage Sites list:
- Mesa Verde National Park, CO (cultural)
- Independence Hall, PA (cultural)
- Carlsbad Caverns National Park, NM (natural)
- Everglades National Park, FL (natural)
- Statue of Liberty, NY(cultural)
- Grand Canyon, AZ (natural)
- Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, HI (natural)
- San Antonio Mission, TX (cultural)
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN (natural)
- Mammoth Cave National Park, KY (natural)
- Olympic National Park, WA (natural)
- Redwood National Park, CA (natural)
- Yellowstone National Park, WY (natural)
- Yosemite National Park, CA(natural)
U.S. UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Welcome to this week’s episode of the Travel Squad Podcast. Today we are talking all about UNESCO world Heritage sites, specifically in the US to visit. And I’m really excited about today’s episode because we’ve had previous episodes on international UNESCO Sites. But this episode is gonna focus only on the US sites and I think a lot of you realize when we did the last episode that you’ve been to a few of them and not really even known that they were UNESCO sites. So I’m sure there’s been some in the US that you’ve visited maybe didn’t realize they were UNESCO sites and we’re gonna be covering 14 of them. There are 24 UNESCO sites in the US but we’re gonna be covering the ones that we’ve actually been to in this episode.
2 (1m 28s):
And I love UNESCO sites and I think I could safely speak for the Squad here when I say we all love UNESCO sites and have an appreciation for ’em. So this episode’s almost like a 2.0 but here in the US like Brittany was saying. So we’re really gonna dive into that. Of those 14 that we’ve been to, and if you haven’t listened to the previous UNESCO world Heritage site episode that we did, talking about the international ones, et cetera. Just as a little reminder, UNESCO stands for United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization. And basically the United Nations comes together and pretty much decides what is UNESCO Heritage sites and the judging criteria for that, and this is in quotes, they have to contain cultural and natural Heritage around the world that’s considered to be of outstanding value to humanity.
2 (2m 21s):
So here in the United States we have 24 places and things that are deemed to have outstanding value to humanity. And those can either be, you know, cultural or specifically environmental or natural in that way. And we’re obviously gonna discuss that a little bit more, the difference between the two and what those are.
0 (2m 40s):
I’m actually surprised that there’s only 24 in the US
1 (2m 44s):
Yeah, well there is actually a list of ones that are on like the contingency list. So there could be more in the future. But as of right now, during this recording only 24,
0 (2m 53s):
They’re the reserves on backup.
2 (2m 55s):
We got the reserves on backup. So there may be more than 24 years soon. And you know what’s really interesting is I’ve heard this before and I tried to Google it to verify it, but I really couldn’t find anything that specifically said it. But I’m pretty sure that this is true. If there is ever war in a location where there are UNESCO, world Heritage sites, it’s technically a war crime to bomb, destroy or do anything around it because once all is said and done, they want these things to be preserved. So that’s how important they really are. It’s like considered war crimes to really mess with these things. Not to say that that hasn’t happened before, but it, it’s a war crime technically
0 (3m 31s):
That is incredibly interesting. And you know, as we’re talking about them, we’re building them up to seem like these exclusive hard to find, have to know it to get into it type places. But the truth is U Squatty have probably been to UNESCO world, Heritage sites and maybe not even known that they were one. There’s nothing really at these sites that I’ve ever seen that says this is a UNESCO world Heritage site. If anything, there might be like a placard somewhere, maybe I missed it, but there’s not like this grand fireworks going off like you’ve made it, they’re here. So I think though, when you know that it is one and you go into it, it kind of feels a little bit more special when you’re there.
0 (4m 16s):
So I’m excited to dive into this episode because they are right under our noses right at our fingertips. And there are 24 in the US but we’re only gonna go over 14 today. So you know, we’re gonna have a part two, maybe even a part three when those reserves come up to bat.
2 (4m 31s):
Yeah. And with that, I mean let’s dive right into it. Kim, you said you’re kind of excited. Number one is a place that I know you were excited to really, really go to kind of considered ancient ruins here to some degree in the United States. We know those get your juices flowing Kim. So why don’t you lead us into number one.
0 (4m 48s):
Number one is Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado in the southwest corner of Colorado to be specific.
1 (4m 56s):
And it’s really well known for its pueblo cliff dwellings and they’re super well preserved. We actually went on a Squad trip last year, last August, our friend Robin came with us and we were able to do some tours of the cliff dwellings and they were amazing. I loved like being enriched in that culture and being able to see the cliff dwellings, hear about the people that live there, learn about the history of the park in that area. And it’s amazing that thriving communities were built on the side of these cliffs.
2 (5m 32s):
It’s really mind blowing when we were there to actually see it. And like I was saying earlier, you know, they’re either cultural or natural designations, right? And Mesa Ver here is a cultural designation because these are remnants of the ancient Native American civilizations, how they lived, how they had communities, maybe even dare I say cities because even though some of the dwelling locations were large, I mean they’re not city large, but they had enough of these dwellings concentrated in one area that it was its own community almost really like a city. Mesa Verde falls into that cultural category. And for anybody who goes overseas to international locations and sees ancient Bruins buildings, et cetera, I feel like in the United States specifically, ’cause you could go North America, Mexico and find certain things, but in the United States specifically, I feel like this is really the only location that we still see historic things that we could maybe almost consider temples even though they’re not temples but like carved into stones and literally on the edge of the cliff.
0 (6m 34s):
We’re gonna talk a little bit about some of the things you can do there, but if you wanna hear the whole thing, go back to episode 1 92 and listen to our dedicated episode on Mesa Verde National Park. I know earlier I was just saying there’s nothing that really lights up and announces that you’re at a UNESCO world Heritage site, but when you roll up on this place, it will feel like that. It is one of the coolest things I think in the US that I’ve ever seen here. They’re so well preserved and so unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. And I’d been so anticipating going to this place for so long that if you had to go to only one place on this list, I am putting my foot down.
0 (7m 15s):
This is the one for me.
2 (7m 17s):
Whoa. Big bold statement there, Ken.
1 (7m 19s):
Bold statement. I actually met a landscape photographer and he said that out of all of the national parks and the US National Park system, he believes Mesa Verde National Park is our most photogenic national park in the US. And I can totally see that after visiting and while we were there, they have tons of different cliff dwelling tours. While we were there, we were there for two days and we were able to do three different tours. We did Cliff Palace, which is the first tour that we did. We did a long house, which was one of the biggest sites that we saw. And then we saw a balcony house, which we had to climb up. And it was really cool because it feels like you’re on a balcony, there’s a balcony lookout and there’s this grand beautiful view.
1 (8m 2s):
And it’s hard for me to pick which one was my favorite, but I really say I think it would be between a long house and balcony house. But that’s just
0 (8m 13s):
My, oh for me, hands down balcony house, that was just so cool to be able to climb up those super tall ladders on the side of the cliff and walk through those tiny little doors you have to like kind of crawl through them and that we thought it was a window, it’s actually their doors. So that was the other really cool thing about this place is that yes, it is a UNESCO world Heritage site and so well preserved, but they still let you walk in there and give you that up close and personal experience that not a lot of preserved ancient ruins will let you do.
2 (8m 46s):
And what’s really great about it too is like you were saying, Kim, you could get all up in there and really be in it versus just looking at it to appreciate it. But it’s not just a free for all. You have to actually get specific tours, pay tickets for ’em, which they’re not very expensive, but they really regulate how many people go through there to actually preserve these locations and cliff dwellings. So you need to go and make sure that you have your reservations for these tours. If you wanna actually go ahead and do it, you could still go to the park. Some of them are accessible just from viewpoints to see, but it’s not the same as getting in there. So even though it’s a national park, it’s not like a lot of them here in the US that we’re used to where you can just go do whatever you want.
2 (9m 28s):
It’s really regulated. So if you’re planning on going what you should Kim say, number one, a big bold statement. It’s high up there on my list. I don’t know about number one, but high high up there. But yes, do your research, make sure you get those reservations and go back and listen to our episode on it to get more information all about this awesome national park and UNESCO world Heritage site.
0 (9m 49s):
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1 (13m 13s):
So number two on our list is actually a UNESCO World Heritage site that Jamal and I just visited and Jamal just visited for the first time just in August of 2023 and it is Independence Hall in Philadelphia. I actually went when I was in high school so I’ve seen Independence Hall before but this was Jamal’s first time and our first time together. And when you do visit Independence Hall, you do have to have a reservation for a tour. The tour is about a 20 to 25 minute tour and it’s only a dollar per person and you just have to reserve the spot on recreation.gov. But this is Jamal’s like Wheelhouse. Jamal loves history, he’s our historian, he’s our educator on historical matter.
1 (13m 56s):
So Jamal, why don’t you dive into Independence Hall and what you enjoyed about your visit there. Well
2 (14m 1s):
I really loved Independence Hall and Independence Hall falls under the cultural aspect of a UNESCO designation, right? So there’s nothing natural about it, it’s not any nature aspect, this is cultural, specifically American culture. But at the same time you can say culture for the world because of America’s place in it at this point in time, right? And Independence Hall, if you don’t know what it looks like, flip to the back of a hundred dollars bill and you’re gonna see Independence Hall. And what it is is the location where all representatives of government of the 13 colonies met to create a document declaring independence of course from Great Britain, which headed off the War for Independence and American Revolution in the 17 hundreds that made us the country that we are today.
2 (14m 48s):
On top of that, not a lot of people even realize this, but when we declared independence, I mean we weren’t just a country, we had to fight for it, but a lot of times people think the constitution also, well the Constitution wasn’t signed well after the war in which we won for independence and they met back here at Independence Hole. So even the constitution was signed and agreed upon here at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. And so as an American history fan and lover, I just appreciated it as an American, I appreciated it. But one of the things that I really like when you were at places like this and I wouldn’t call the people who gave us the tour, you know rangers like you’ll find at National Parks, right?
2 (15m 33s):
But they are to some degree, you know the rangers when you’re in there, you see the room that they’ve signed it and tell you stories about what they know happened that day and conversations and you just really have this sense of really grasping. Of course world history has changed in this one spot and to be there is just a feeling that I really can’t describe but one that’s just gives you kind of that tingly vibe inside or so I thought and I really enjoyed it. So
0 (16m 1s):
I have a question because I wasn’t there. I’m imagining this looks like the Texas State Capitol that I was just walking around in like your typical government capital type building. Is that what it’s like? It’s much, much smaller than that really,
2 (16m 17s):
Right? Well I mean if you think about it, when this was signed in the 17 hundreds, we were only colonies and people lived pretty much close to the city center and you didn’t have that many representatives of your government. So you’re right. As a matter of fact it’s called Independence Hall ’cause we signed it there, but it’s actually really the Pennsylvania State House is what it originally is. And they just used the Pennsylvania State House, which is where the legislature was, the court, everything of the colony and they use that as the location. So you’re right in the analogy but also very wrong in terms of its grandeur, it’s very small, but when you’re in there, it’s exactly what it is to some degree is just really a government building.
2 (16m 59s):
But of course when you go there, hear the stories and the appreciation of what really took place there, it becomes a lot more than just that tour of your Texas State House that you just mentioned.
0 (17m 9s):
That’s very cool.
2 (17m 10s):
Number three on the list for us is going to be Carlsbad Caverns National Park, falling under that natural category.
0 (17m 19s):
I know that I said number one was my hands down favorite and I stand by that, but I love Carlsbad cavern. It is really, really cool in the cave, obviously that’s the main draw of it. But when I visited there separate from you two, I went in the middle of summer, I think you guys did too. It’s in New Mexico, it’s barren out there. I even took a picture because it looked like the ocean except it was just like burnt yellow ground like no trees, nothing as far as the eye can see and you’re standing and you don’t realize that this massive cave in cavern is right underneath you and it’s so beautiful and a complete 180 on the temperature above.
1 (18m 2s):
Yeah, I know inside caves they were like usually like 55 degrees inside so it can actually be pretty chilly. And like on the outside when you’re walking up you’re like sweltering, you’re hot, you’re like trying to take off all your layers. But when you get in those caverns, it gets nice and cool and I’m not sure which way you went down if you just took the elevator down. So there is two ways to get down into Carlsbad Cavern. One, you could take an elevator down and you’re going down hundreds of feet or you can actually go through the natural inference and you pretty much take almost these like switchbacks down and into the natural cave. We actually had two days at Carlsbad, cavern, Jamal and I for the trip that we went on.
1 (18m 45s):
So one day we did go down in the elevator and did the tour and then we walked up the natural entrance. So that was really cool. Those tours are pretty accessible for everyone. We also, the following day did a guided tour where we had to spelunk down like ladders and we gotta wear the helmets and the headlamps and we crawled around in some dark spaces and got to see parts of the cave that no one else gets to see unless you’re on those specific tours. And it’s a very small group. But I would highly recommend spending two days in Carlsbad Caverns National Park and doing one of those more specialized tours. If you only have one day and just half a day and just do the main one, you’re still gonna be impressed.
1 (19m 30s):
But those more specialized guided tours, that was like a whole nother transformative experience.
2 (19m 36s):
It really was. And that’s one of the cool things that I, it’s unfortunate Kim. ’cause I know when you went, that’s when you were on your move to Austin so you really didn’t have a lot of time to explore, do that guided tour with the Ranger. Right? But what Brittany’s alluding to is just the size of this cavern, right? There’s the main cavern that you can go to, again, natural entrance, down hiking or taking the elevator, but it’s a self-guided. You really see all the S stalagmites, the S stites, they have like a little path, but the cave is so large that they have a lower cave even further below that where the general public can’t go. They have to be ranger guided tours. That’s where you do this spelunking the hats with your lights roping down, et cetera.
2 (20m 21s):
And that is a unique experience and they’re just telling us like how far this really goes back this cave and it, it’s humbling if you’ve never been in a cave to just really appreciate the early explorers who went in there, right? I mean if your light goes out you’re pretty much dead, right? You can’t really find your way out, do this and that. And just even beyond the humbling experience of being in the cave, the scenic beauty of what’s under the earth as you put it to Kim, right? You go out there and it’s just the desert and you don’t realize below you have this whole ecosystem and environment. And I would wager to say that Carlsbad Caverns is one of my favorite national parks that I’ve been to and a really solid UNESCO world Heritage site.
0 (21m 2s):
My only problem with caves is that they don’t photograph well.
1 (21m 7s):
They do not.
2 (21m 8s):
Yeah, you need like a professional camera and need to be a professional photographer for to photograph well for the novice like us, even though we like to think we’re good photo takers for all our traveling and shots that we try to get the perfect ones for. Yeah, if caves are really difficult to get, but nonetheless the photo is a memento. But what you keep in your mind, you’ll appreciate a lot more from that experience. Yeah,
0 (21m 30s):
Absolutely. And Memento, we also have a full episode dedicated to Carlsbad Cavern. If you go all the way back to episode 39, we go into all the detail of the tours that we did and the experience here. So if you’re interested, go check that one out. Number four on our list is Everglades in Florida, Everglades National Park
2 (21m 51s):
Everglades is again one of the the natural UNESCO world Heritage sites. And of course everyone’s probably heard of the Everglades, maybe you don’t know what it is, but it’s basically a subtropical wilderness reserve just at the very southern tip of Florida. And you can almost consider it to be really marshland so to speak. But it’s really a low line river system that’s flowing through. But it’s known for its wildlife out there, crocodiles, alligators. I think it’s the only place in the world where crocodiles and alligators exist in the same environment. That is correct. So yeah, the only place, so if you want to see crocodiles alligators together only in the Everglades and Brittany and I have been to the Everglades, what, two or three times?
2 (22m 37s):
1 (22m 38s):
2 (22m 38s):
Twice. I thought
1 (22m 39s):
It was, we went with your parents once and then we went with
2 (22m 41s):
Kim once. Okay. I thought maybe there was another time before but I’m, I couldn’t remember when we went without Kim. And so when we were in Florida Kim, I mean I feel so bad because I don’t think your Everglades experience was like ours. We were going and in Florida because we were leaving on a Squad trip out of Miami and we’re like, we have to go to Everglades, Kim hasn’t been. And you were really, really excited And I remember as we were getting close, we were maybe about like 15, 20 minutes away. You’re like, do you think we’re gonna see alligators and crocodiles? And I gave you my famous infamous Jamal scoff like
0 (23m 17s):
Yeah you were really hyping it up.
2 (23m 19s):
The question that is, of course we’re gonna see ’em, they’re all over the place and what happened? Well no, why ladies? I know and you didn’t have a good experience and well yes you had a good experience but not a good one in the sense that we didn’t see any Crocs or daters. Right? Because the time before when Brittany and I had gone, I mean they were out in abundance but we were there in January, which is still hot in Florida but not excessively hot. We were there in September. September and our guide on the Swamp boats that takes us out on the Everglades as you’re just gliding across there and doing all that fun stuff he was telling us, he said yeah, you know around this time and what it was only 10 30 in the morning, he said it’s already too hot for them.
2 (23m 60s):
They go and submerge themselves for the day only come up in the evening. So to see him, you gotta be really lucky or have been probably on the boat tour one or two before this one and you would’ve seen them and so we didn’t see any for you. But you had that fun experience out there on the water though.
0 (24m 18s):
Yeah, I think I have bad luck with alligators because I also did a tour in New Orleans and this was in November so, but it was really cold and it was the exact opposite. They said it’s too cold for the alligators so they go under the water. So these dam animals are very temperament, you really have to hit them at the right time. But this national park is really pretty. We got some really great videos. The airboat ride is really fun and it’s still a good experience. We actually did an episode on this one not fully dedicated to Everglades. We did it on the three national parks in Florida but heavily touched on Everglades in episode 49.
0 (24m 60s):
So if you wanna hear about that one and also maybe see a few others when you make it out to Everglades, that’s a great episode for you.
1 (25m 7s):
You like, we’ve talked about some episodes in this episode that Harken way back to the beginning episode like 39, episode 49. And it’s crazy to think like where we are now and how many episodes in we are. So kind of fun to hear the progression of the podcast as well.
0 (25m 25s):
Yeah, like I said in the beginning, you’ve probably been to some of these places and not even realized their UNESCO world Heritage sites. I’m looking at this list and I’m like damn is this all we go to or what? Because we’ve been to like all of them.
1 (25m 38s):
So number five on our list is actually the Statue of Liberty and that is a cultural UNESCO world, Heritage site. It’s located in New York of course. Or actually is it in New Jersey?
2 (25m 50s):
I don’t know. That’s up for debate. Right? You know and people may not realize this, there was a whole debate between the state of New York and the state of New Jersey on who the Statue of Liberty actually belonged to. And everyone knows what the Statue of Liberty is. It’s just that iconic American symbol, no doubt. But to the point of who it actually belongs to. That was a debate that just really happened and got settled in the courts. Everyone really said that it was belonging to New York but it’s closer to New Jersey. But then everybody said, well nobody said when they saw the Statue of Liberty coming on the boats that they thought I’m going to New Jersey, I’m going to New York. Right? So technically how they decided it is the land that the Statue of Liberty is on is technically the state of New York, but they’ve conceded the fact that the Statue of Liberty is in New Jersey water.
2 (26m 40s):
So they kind of give it to both the states. But it was a long fought battle to see who it actually belongs to.
1 (26m 46s):
Kim, you were just in New York this past summer and you were able to see the Statue of Liberty. Did you go to it?
0 (26m 53s):
1 (26m 54s):
0 (26m 55s):
We did. We took a boat tour and I kind of debated actually taking the tour that takes you to the Statue of Liberty and then you can get out and you can walk around and you can go on top of it or taking a bottomless mimosa brunch tour that floated you right by the Statue of Liberty. So obviously I’m going to go with the ladder more fun, but when that boat got up to the Statue of Liberty, it was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. I was so captivated by it, you know one day I’d love to go back and maybe go on it but I was really, really looking forward to this and it did not disappoint at all.
1 (27m 34s):
Yeah, I haven’t actually been to it to it. I’ve been by it via the Staten Island boat and also looking across to it from crossing the Brooklyn Bridge on foot. But I would love to do the tour two-way. I know you can climb up in it. That would be amazing. And this was actually a gift that was made in Paris and it was a gift from France on the hundred year anniversary of American Independence. So that’s pretty cool. Yeah, so there’s a lot of historical aspects to it. On top of that it’s supposed to embody like friendship, peace, progress and the historical alliance between France and the United States. So when I go back to New York, this is definitely on my to-do list to go and do like an actual tour of the Statue of Liberty.
0 (28m 23s):
Yeah, I think it’s a must do if you’re in New York, we have two episodes on New York. One is episode 25, the other is episode two 16 where I talk about that bottomless brunch cruise out to the Statue of Liberty. So if you’re more interested in checking that out, go listen.
2 (28m 39s):
Number six on our UNESCO world Heritage site list in the US is going to be the Grand Canyon falling under the natural category of UNESCO designations. And who doesn’t know the Grand Canyon? I think everybody in the world knows the Grand Canyon.
1 (28m 54s):
Yeah, I’ve actually been a few times we’ve been on a Squad trip to the Grand Canyon Jamal and I went to Monument Valley with Jamal’s sister Nua. We did a pit stop at the Grand Canyon ’cause she had never been, we went one of the days we went at sunrise. Wow. That was a beautiful experience. It was worth getting up for sunrise. I know Kim, you love those early mornings with me. You would’ve just loved it. But super beautiful, tons of gorgeous hiking there. Just the natural rock formations and seeing all of the layers of the canyon just really beautiful. We actually had wind after a kind of like a big storm and so the entrance to the Grand Canyon that we needed to get into was closed at the start of our trip.
1 (29m 40s):
And so I think I ended up moving some things around to make Grand Canyon like the last thing we did and it like opened up the day before the entrance that we needed to go through opened up the day before and as we drove through the park and we drove the rim drive, we got to see a ton of different outlooks and stuff. There was so much snow, it was blanketed with snow on the edges and it was really just like a unique experience because a lot of times when you see the Grand Canyon, it is dry, it’s hot, all of that. But to see it freshly blanketed in snow was pretty cool.
2 (30m 13s):
I wholeheartedly agree. I think to see it in that type of environment that’s completely different than what everyone thinks, which is that desert environment, which it has. But a lot of people again, don’t realize sometimes that the desert gets really cold. So to see it dusted and blanketed with snow was really cool. But what I really enjoy most about the Grand Canyon is just really looking at it and thinking of the passage of time that has taken place in this one location that you can really see, right? The Grand Canyon was created literally over millions of years of the Colorado River running through this area and just etching its way across the landscape to create layer and layer and layer. And it makes me think how big was this river at one point in time and how much different was the climate?
2 (30m 59s):
I mean the canyon goes as deep as one mile so you’re standing at the top and you could look one mile down in at its narrowest, it’s a third of a mile across but at its farthest width its 18 miles. So it just to really see the passage of time just looking at one location and one specific thing I think is impressive and really can experience that a lot of places on earth. If anywhere else.
0 (31m 25s):
I think Grand Canyon is one of those parks that everyone has to visit at least once because it is so iconic. We don’t actually have a dedicated episode on the Grand Canyon, which I’m very surprised by given that you guys have gone a couple times now. But we did talk about it on episode eight for the American Southwest Road trip, which I highly recommend by the way. It’s a fantastic road trip and it puts you into the Grand Canyon as well as some really cool stuff that is also nearby and you can extend your trip out for a little bit longer. So get yourself a two for three for with that one.
1 (31m 59s):
And if you really like that episode, we do have an itinerary on our website with that exact trip outlined on it. So definitely go check it out.
0 (32m 7s):
Number seven, we’re going tropical with this one and headed to Hawaii volcanoes for this natural UNESCO world Heritage site.
2 (32m 17s):
Yes. And since we’re talking about past Squad episodes that we’ve had here talking about these locations, this is episode 45, so a lot of these Harken way back win, but still classics but goodies and Brittany and I talk about all our adventures at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which is located on Big Island Hawaii. And we visited here in March of 2020 and this was actually a place that we probably were not gonna be going to anytime soon but developed because a trip that we had got canceled because of Covid. Right? If you heard me say March, 2020, that was kind of like the onset of it. Brittany and I were supposed to go to Hong Kong and of course we know what happened, we weren’t able to do that.
2 (33m 1s):
Our airline said, where else do you wanna go? We started thinking about it and we’re like, oh well let’s just go to Hawaii. And we did that and it’s one of those unfortunate things that happened, but fortunate in the sense that we got to experience this awesome UNESCO world Heritage site.
1 (33m 17s):
Yeah, I actually really liked Big Island in Hawaii and the volcanoes National Park actually has two of the most active and accessible volcanoes in the world. So that’s really cool. The volcanic eruptions, they constantly change the landscape. And so while we were there, some areas of the park are actually closed off because of previous activity. Some are, you know, open and you can hike and one of the hikes that we did, we actually got to hike across a Caldera floor and it’s just so unique because when you hike across it, it’s just like gray, black, barren and it just feels so eerie because in Hawaii with like that fog layer coming through with like that tropical weather, it was just a unique hiking situation.
1 (34m 7s):
Like I’ve never seen a landscape quite like it. You almost feel like you’re in outer space in a way
2 (34m 12s):
It was really incredible and it’s really hard to describe unless you did it. I mean Brittanie hit the nail on the head with that description, but one thing she forgot to mention in that description, minus the airiness of the caldera and just the blackness of the solidified lava that you could walk across and the fog that’s really basically cloud cover. ’cause you’re so high up in the mountains, which is the volcano is that, to get down to that, you’re walking through the jungle, right? Yeah, the and Kauai is tropical, so you’re in this green lush environment and then you come across this edge of where the Caldera starts and then all of a sudden it’s this black feeling that’s almost like a beautiful death is how I would kind of describe it deathly look because it’s just all black and you know, it’s like fire and brimstone so to speak.
2 (34m 57s):
But really impressive, really cool. And I, I can’t say enough about Hawaii volcanoes National Park and this UNESCO world Heritage site. Lots of really cool things and people should really be going here. If you’re making your way to Hawaii.
1 (35m 11s):
Yeah you can see steam vents, you could see the volcanoes, you can hike across the Caldera floor, you can see and walk through lava tubes, which are really cool. We did walk through that. If you go through one, definitely have a headlamp with you. Volcanoes is actually pretty remote on the island as well and when you’re driving through the actual town of like volcano, there’s no street lamps or anything so it gets really dark, really eerie. And so it was just a really unique experience. We had some of the best Hai food actually in volcano. Ooh outside of the national park. And I would recommend staying there to hit it up for two days. I think that’s a great amount of time to spend in this national park and UNESCO world Heritage site.
1 (35m 56s):
0 (35m 57s):
1 (35m 57s):
So moving on to number eight, we actually are gonna talk about the San Antonio mission. This is a cultural UNESCO world Heritage site and the Squad made a little Squad trip here on a trip that we were visiting Kim in Austin. We did a little day trip to San Antonio
2 (36m 13s):
And you say the San Antonio mission, maybe it’s better known as the Alamo, right? Everyone’s heard of the Alamo that is the San Antonio mission and most people have heard of the Alamo, vaguely know the story of the Alamo. But the Alamo was a mission that was built along the San Antonio River basin. And basically there’s a notorious battle that took place here between, I don’t want to even say American forces ’cause it wasn’t really the army but it was against Americans and then the Mexican army when this was still fought over land. And so it’s just become this one famous spot in terms of American lore because of the battle that took place here.
0 (36m 56s):
I gotta be honest, it was a little underwhelming from the outside.
1 (37m 0s):
I was gonna say I completely agree. We didn’t go inside of it, we just saw the outside and hi. It was a little underwhelming.
2 (37m 7s):
The outside was underwhelming. I know we say this all the time, you don’t really get the appreciation unless you do the tour. I don’t remember if we were on a time constraint or why we didn’t do it or we were just like, oh we’ll go check it out ’cause it’s so close to the river walk that we were doing when we were in San Antonio. But the grounds and the inside go back a lot further and there’s more stuff right? So just what you can see from the street and the public view is not very impressive. But on the inside it is. So we put this list ’cause we have been to it, but it’s one of those things where we have not been inside to do the tour. So if any of you squads have actually done that, chime in dmm us, let us know your thoughts about it so that we can share with people and just get excited for ourselves.
2 (37m 51s):
But the good news is San Antonio’s not too far from Austin and I see us going back there one of these days when we go to visit you Kim to just check it out.
0 (37m 59s):
You know, I think we decided not to go in for two reasons. One, it was a little underwhelming from the outside and two because we went in October and in October it’s still really hot. And so we had been walking around in 90 degree weather and we didn’t wanna go in and continue walking around in the sun. So keep that in mind if you do visit this place, try to go when it’s a little bit cooler so you really can enjoy it. But I think this is still a really great place to visit. If you are gonna be in San Antonio, you’re probably going to do the river walk, which is a really cool area here. And then right outside of the Alamo or the San Antonio mission, it’s very bustling. There’s food vendors and music and street performers and people gathering.
0 (38m 43s):
So it’s kind of changed in the draw of what it is. Yes, people are coming for the mission but it’s just a really fun area to hang out into.
2 (38m 52s):
Number nine on the list is a place that we all love great Smoky Mountains National Park, which falls under the natural category of UNESCO designations.
0 (39m 3s):
I love this national park. When I visited here separate from U two, it was in November, so all of the leaves were orange, red, yellow, fall colors, cold weather, mountain vibes, so so pretty that smokiness that came with the mountains and the trees. It’s so pretty and I mean it’s not like it’s some crazy mountain that you know, you’ve never seen mountains like this before, but it does have a little something special to it that you really have to feel and see to believe.
2 (39m 36s):
Yeah and it’s really hard to describe what that is, but you’re so right with that Kim, you just get this feeling of like this area is special and you don’t know what it is that makes you feel that way, but it just has that vibe to it.
1 (39m 50s):
Yeah, the great Smokey Mountains was so beautiful. We actually visited in May of 2022 Jamal and I, and I’m really jealous of Kim’s experience ’cause Kim’s experience was getting some of that fall foliage colors and I would love to go back during like peak fall season. That would be amazing. I think some of the lookouts would be just crazy to see. But we went when it was all green, still really cool. We got to see the smokiness of the mountains, of course that’s all of the like collective vapor that the trees kind of like exhale and it creates that blanket of fog above them, giving them that like smoky haze. But the Great Smoky Mountains is one of the most ecologically rich and diverse temperate zones that is actually protected in the entire world.
1 (40m 33s):
There’s so many different plant species within it, so many different types of trees and it’s just like very diverse in it’s flora and fauna.
2 (40m 43s):
And not only that, just right outside the park is a really cool town that you can go to Gatlinburg. You know, speaking of the flora on Fauna, it’s actually known to have a lot of black bears that have a really high black bear concentration. It’s not uncommon in the town of Gatlinburg just right outside of the Smokies for those black bears to come roaming through the town. So I don’t wanna say a bear siding’s guaranteed ’cause it’s nature you never really know. Just kind of like how we’re talking about earlier with Kim and the Gators and Crocs never really kind of happening, but you have a high chance of seeing bears when you’re out here in the Smoky Mountains. Just as well. We
1 (41m 20s):
Actually hiked the alum Cave Bluffs to Myrtle Point and it was 11 mile hike, but while we were on that hike we saw a mama bear and her two baby cubs on our way up and then on the way back down they were still there and we got to watch the two baby bears climb down the tree. It was the cutest thing to watch them scurry down the tree. So that was really cool. I would recommend that hike. And another spot in the park to visit is called K Clingmans Dome. It’s the highest peak in the park. You can actually drive most of the way up on this road and then you only have to hike like half a mile, but it’s the highest peak in the park. It gives you 360 degrees scenic views and you actually cross the border of two states.
1 (42m 4s):
So that’s pretty cool. And you’re on part of the Appalachian Trail,
2 (42m 7s):
I’m glad you actually mentioned that about K CLSs men do. ’cause I was just thinking about it. You know, we love the Smoky Mountains, so in our head amongst all three of us, we’re just thinking, oh yeah, people know where this is, right? But the Smokies is really known to be in the state of Tennessee, but the Smoky Mountains also span into North Carolina. So Clingman Dome is an overlook that straddles the state line within the Smokies of Tennessee as well as North Carolina. And the famous Appalachian Trail runs right through there on that state line. So it’s a really unique and awesome spot and a really good area to go at sunset ’cause that’s what we did. And so we weren’t there during fall time, but it kind of gave it that little fall color vibe.
2 (42m 50s):
’cause I’m seeing those purples and reds in the sky kind of transitioning to the trees, which was really, really beautiful.
0 (42m 56s):
I’ll just say one last thing about the Great Smoky Mountains and that is to go up on the gondola. You can get on in Gatlinburg and it will take you up and there’s this really cool bridge walk sitting areas with fireplaces and you can get drinks up there and the view is just amazing. You can see the whole Smoky Mountains, all the trees, the teeny tiny town of Gatlinburg like carved out in the middle of it. It’s such a cool view. I would highly recommend doing that. And I would also highly recommend going back to episode 1 56. We have that whole episode dedicated to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. So if you’re gonna visit and we highly recommend you do listen to that episode first.
1 (43m 40s):
Awesome. So we are moving on to number 10 on our list, which is actually Mammoth Cave National Park. It’s one of those natural UNESCO, world Heritage sites again. And it’s located in the state of Kentucky. Jamal and I visited in February of 2021. And they do have guided and self-guided tours available. We were able to do two tours. Both of them were guided at the time. And so they range from like eight to $25 per person. They have over 10 different tours to choose from. But I think what was most unique about Mammoth Cave National Park is whenever you think of a cave, you’re thinking of those st lag mites, st lag tights, those different cave structures that you’re used to.
1 (44m 20s):
And we walked in to Mammoth Cave National Park, which is the most extensive cave system in the entire world. It has over 285 miles. And when we walked in it was like completely barren. There was no stog mites, no stog tights. It just felt like, and this is exactly what happened, there was a big underground river and it created this passageway and it’s like this big whole cave, but not with those same structure.
2 (44m 48s):
It’s almost like it’s a carved tunnel is really what it felt like. Thank
1 (44m 52s):
You. That that’s a
2 (44m 53s):
Great right. And what makes this cave even more unique, right? In terms of the natural aspect of it, of to what Brittany said is those caves that you’re used to seeing, the sag mite stites, it’s basically created by water dripping through the limestone and then it’s the deposits that create those structures as the water is dripping. But this cave doesn’t even have any of that whatsoever. It really was an underground river and it’s designated as a natural UNESCO world Heritage site. But I dare say that could even be a cultural one because on the tour it was very, very interesting. You know, they give you a lot of history in here. I mean, they’ve discovered bodies in here that they can date back to Native Americans going back 5,000 years deep into the cave too.
2 (45m 38s):
So imagine, you know, before people had headlamps lights, you know, they just had
1 (45m 42s):
2 (45m 42s):
Had fire sticks going into here. So they don’t know what they were doing in there. Was it shelter? Was it a home, was it a sacred site, et cetera. But on top of that, this cave is known to actually have a substance that was used to make gunpowder. And they were talking on this tour, our ranger was letting us know that if it wasn’t for Mammoth Cave America may not even be a country anymore. Because after our War of Independence that we were talking about, you know, or when we were talking about Independence Hall earlier, the war of 1812 is when the UK and British Empire said, forget this, we’re gonna try to go ahead and take it back. Well they were the largest seller of gunpowder to the United States, but why would they sell gunpowder to the enemy that they are actually fighting?
2 (46m 27s):
So they stopped selling it to us, but they had an abundance of it here in this cave. So mammoth cave is where they were harvesting to create gunpowder that we used in the war of 1812 to actually win and keep our independence as a separate country. So it could even potentially fall as a cultural designation here because this cave kept America alive and well. And
1 (46m 50s):
It’s the oldest cave tour in the US as well. And they had these TB hospitals down in this cave where they like segregated people with TB ’cause they thought that they were gonna be cured in this underground environment. So
2 (47m 3s):
What’s tb, Brittany, you’re saying tb, but let the, all the non-nursing people and medical professionals tub. No,
1 (47m 10s):
It did not end up curing tuberculosis. People still, you know, had it died, all of that. But it was such an interesting tour to hear her, all of the different things about the artifacts that they found, how it was significant to the US history, just everything about it. We did go in the height of Covid, we went in February, 2021. So not all of the tours were operating. So I would even love to go back and explore more of the cave tours that they have. That would be really cool. The actual park, mammoth cave National park, there is, you know, land on the outside of it or on top of it. You can explore all of that at any time for free. So if you wanted to hike in that area, we didn’t hike in the area because we went specifically for the cave.
1 (47m 54s):
If you’re going to a national park or a UNESCO site called Mammoth Cave, I wanna go inside the cave and not hike. If you can imagine that. Yeah,
2 (48m 1s):
It’s like going to Carlsbad Cavern being like, let me just do a trail on the desert on top. Right.
0 (48m 8s):
So we did an episode on this one too, way back episode 92. If you wanna go here, definitely go listen to that and you’ll also get a little bonus Jamal shitting on Nashville. So if, if you do go back to this one, I think you need a Nashville redemption as well.
2 (48m 25s):
Maybe now that I know what I’m getting into when I go to Nashville and that Broadway’s only two blocks long, maybe I could have a different appreciation for it. I wouldn’t call it shitting, but you know, I think, I think the squats appreciate when Jamal says it like it is or how he feels. And that’s the great thing about our podcast is that we have three different opinions on it. So what do we know Jamal doesn’t like? You know, not a huge fan of Maui. Maui in terms of other Hawaiian islands cold
1 (48m 52s):
Water, Denver airport,
2 (48m 53s):
Denver airport, and apparently Nashville.
0 (48m 57s):
Yes. We should do a whole episode on things Jamal doesn’t like. That would be hilarious. Jam. Oh, Jamal
2 (49m 3s):
Rant. I’ll, I’ll pull a rant all day on that one.
0 (49m 6s):
He’s definitely gonna have a freak out in that one. Yes. Alright, number 11, UNESCO World Heritage site is one of my personal favorites and that is Olympic National Park in Washington. It is up in that Pacific northwest corner. So as you can imagine, it is in the natural category for UNESCO. I love this place. We as a Squad visited here back in September, 2021. I had been here once without the Squad before that. Loved it both times. It’s so pretty. There’s moss everywhere. There’s green trees everywhere. Like everything is green. When I went that first time without y’all, it was also like foggy and eerie, which just totally added to it.
0 (49m 50s):
It was. It was so pretty. And so I’m talking a lot about the hoe rainforest, which is one of the most pretty parts of the park, but the whole park is pretty, and it has more than just that.
1 (50m 0s):
I heard there was a lot of romance going on, like it was really romantic in the ho hoora forest at that time of year. Well
0 (50m 5s):
They don’t call it the hoe rainforest for nothing.
2 (50m 9s):
So Olympic National Park, I don’t think you said it Kim. It’s in the state of Washington in the Pacific Northwest, kind of along obviously the Pacific Ocean, right? So it’s known to be a forest that gets that fogginess that comes in that you’re talking about. And that fogginess then creates a lot of moisture, which keeps it very green and on top of just the trees being green themselves. Then it creates that layer of moss on the bark and trees and moss even on the rocks. And so you can see it at the bottom of the water of the creeks and rivers that are flowing through it. So it just has this abundance of green and a unique forest environment that I’ve never experienced in my life that I really appreciated when we were here in Olympic.
1 (50m 52s):
Yeah, so Olympic has a lot to offer, you know, obviously the whole rainforest, but they categorize it as seashore to glacier. So it does touch the coastal forest. We actually went out on the beach, you can see those rock formation, those seas stacks. You can see that driftwood, all of that. There’s a lot of waterfalls in the national park as well. You get to hike through dense forest canopy and like Jamal said, like the moss covered rocks. I think it was just a really beautiful and unique national park. We saw so many different areas of it. We did some really cool trails too. So you know, there’s lakes, there’s creeks, there’s waterfalls, there’s the ocean, there’s a whole rainforest.
1 (51m 33s):
There’s a lot to see and explore in this one national park. And I would love to go back and explore even more of it.
2 (51m 39s):
My biggest disappointment when we were here is that it wasn’t foggy and have that eeriness vibe to it that you got to experience.
1 (51m 47s):
I thought you were gonna say your biggest disappointment was that you didn’t make it to the top of Mount Storm Ke.
2 (51m 52s):
Oh no, that’s not what I was going to say. I, I’m glad I walked out of there with my life. So that’s okay. And if you wanna know that reference of to what Brittany’s talking about, go back and listen to our episode about Olympic National Park to get more information on it. Episode 68. Number 12 on our list though is going to be the Redwoods, redwoods State Park, redwoods National Park located in northern California along the coast, almost like Olympic National Park, where the forest meets the ocean. And this is a natural UNESCO designation.
1 (52m 29s):
Yeah, we actually just visited this year. We went in June, 2023. And I love the redwoods. It’s the tallest trees in the world. And so when you are standing at the base of the tree looking up. Sometimes you can’t even like see the top because all of the branches from below are blocking and it just, it looks so crazy. And it’s like how? How are, these are so tall? And some of them are pretty skinny and tall too. So it’s like how do they stand so tall on their own and not just get knocked over with the wind? But we did some really cool hiking in Redwoods National Park. We did the James Irvine trail to Fern Canyon. It was an easy 11 to 12 miles round trip.
1 (53m 10s):
There was actually another way to get to Fern Canyon, which was actually the park right next to it. But you had to have permits. And when we went, all of the permits were sold out. So we just had to hike, you know, the 11 to 12 miles round trip to get it.
0 (53m 23s):
I think when I went there and we did Fern Canyon, that must have been what we did. ’cause we did just park and walk in. But it was so long ago that, I don’t know, maybe permits weren’t needed at that time. Maybe we didn’t have permits. I was saying earlier how sometimes you don’t realize you’re even in a UNESCO world Heritage site. And this was one of those cases for me. I did this hike. I didn’t even realize I was in the Redwood National Park. And so now I like you, I wanna go back and redo it and fully appreciate it.
2 (53m 52s):
Yeah, because Brittany said we just visited in June, 2023, which we did. That was our most recent visit. It’s not the first time Brittany and I have been, and I’m trying to remember, we do have an episode of the Redwoods that we did. We did not. We do not. We did not record it. So we were talking about another type, not yet. I remember I was re-listening to a previous episode a while ago, and I can’t remember which one it was. ’cause apparently I thought it was Redwoods. But you were saying Kim that I haven’t been to Redwoods. And then we were talking about it and you’re like, oh, Fern Canyon. ’cause Brittany mentioned it how she wanted to do it. And you’re like, no, no, no, I have been there. Right. So you didn’t, yeah, you didn’t realize you were there, but you were there.
2 (54m 31s):
But beyond Fern Canyon, like Brittany said, what makes the redwoods? The redwoods is these are the tallest trees in the world. The redwoods and sequoias are kind of like a hybrid family of trees. And so the sequoias are known to be the largest in terms of the width, which they are not here in this park. But the redwoods, even though they’re the tallest, they are not as wide. But some of those trees trunks still are very, very wide, yet some are very, very narrow. So you see this whole range of different redwood trees, nonetheless, all tall. I mean the tallest tree in the park, its name is Hyperion, 380 feet tall.
2 (55m 12s):
They keep the location of this tree a secret because they don’t want so many people to go there and actually disturb the environment that it’s in. But I mean, 380 is the tallest, but it’s not uncommon for lots of trees to top 300 feet in this park. So regardless of seeing Hyperion or not, you’re gonna be impressed when you’re in here.
1 (55m 30s):
Number 13, on our list of UNESCO world, Heritage Sites in the US is Yellowstone National Park. It’s another natural UNESCO site and it’s primarily located in Wyoming, but it does also spread in into Montana and Idaho. We did a Squad trip here in June of 2020. We actually went in the day that the park opened up. And you know, I’ve heard different things about Yellowstone. I’ve heard people say it’s overhyped, it’s like a natural outdoor amusement park with how many people. But we had a totally, completely different experience. We had the park almost alone by ourselves and we got to enjoy all of the areas that we wanted to without feeling like that rush and that pressure from other people there.
1 (56m 15s):
So I think we had a really unique experience. But beyond that, Yellowstone is amazing. There’s all of those geological formations and geothermal forces and all of the beautiful geysers and waterfalls and just like all of those mud pots and what are they called where it’s just like the, like the grand prismatic that big, those big hot springs that are thermal pools with all of the different bacteria and things that grow inside of them.
0 (56m 47s):
You said that some people think that Yellowstone is overhyped. I have to strongly disagree with that. It lives up to the hype.
2 (56m 56s):
It definitely lives up to the hype. And I don’t want to get sidetracked, but when we’re done talking about Yellowstone, before we move on to our final 14, I wanna see where Yellowstone stacks to number one that you claimed earlier, Kim, which is going to be Jaa Verde National Park. But when Brittany’s alluding to the fact that we went, right when it opened, we had it all to ourselves. The date she said was June, 2020. Right? They closed the national parks at the start of Covid. We went literally a day or two after they opened the national parks. The day that it back up, people still weren’t traveling. And it’s not like they just opened the parks and were like, let’s just fly out there. We actually had plans to be in Yellowstone at this time. We didn’t know if we were going to make it because we had our plans to be here, do this Squad trip.
2 (57m 40s):
Well, well in advance before Covid even happened, before anyone had that thought. I mean we were planning this early 2019, right? So we had a unique experience that probably no one else in the world will experience again, is having Yellowstone pretty much without all the crazy amounts of people that are known to visit and frequent this national park. But for the very reasons that we just mentioned, right? I mean, you have the wildlife, the highest concentration of grizzly bears in the United States outside of Alaska is here in Yellowstone Park. The geysers, more than half of the world’s geysers are located here in Yellowstone. So there’s so much uniqueness to this in terms of wildlife geological that just make this park special.
2 (58m 26s):
And of course, no doubt of the a UNESCO world Heritage site, but Kim, where does Yellowstone rank then in comparison to Mesa Verde?
0 (58m 35s):
Ah, such a hard question. So Mesa Verde obviously number one, number two and three, kind of going back into, oh, absolutely not. But number two and three, I’m kind of torn between Yellowstone and Olympic National Park. They’re so different, but they’re both so unique and incredibly beautiful. I I, I think I have to put Yellowstone,
1 (58m 58s):
Angie put Carl’s bat onto ca.
0 (59m 1s):
There’s just so many good ones to choose from
2 (59m 3s):
You. You spoke too soon. I mean we know ancient ruins and things like that gets you going and if Mesa Verde was listed as number one. So I think you were just overeager as we got into the episode, but we’re gonna have to put in the show notes maybe Kim’s official rankings on this once a reconsideration happens. Yes. Yeah. So number 14 and the final UNESCO in the United States that we are going to talk about is Yosemite National Park. Also another natural UNESCO designation. Yosemite is up there with Yellowstone, if you want me to be honest. It’s one of the crown jewels of the US National Park System. It’s located in California, central Valley in the Sierra Nevada mountains.
2 (59m 47s):
And Yosemite is just known for ex exceptional beauty, including five of the world’s highest waterfalls and a combination of granite domes and walls and steep incised valleys. So it’s just known for that natural rugged landscape in the Sierra Nevada mountains.
1 (1h 0m 5s):
And if you wanna hear all about Yosemite, we have an actual episode dedicated to it. It’s episode 1 66 and I love Yosemite. It’s one of those national parks that I’ve been to so many times. I was actually in FFA in high school. Kim and I both Future Farmers of America baby represent. We went to Yosemite every single year on our way to our state championship to compete for vegetable crops judging. Yep, that’s right. We used to judge vegetables. So represent, we used to go to Yosemite every year during part of that trip. I’ve also been with my family, I’ve been with Jamal several times. We’ve never been as a Squad, but there is just so much to do in Yosemite.
1 (1h 0m 48s):
There’s areas of it people don’t even really realize. Like there’s an area called Hetch Hetchy where we discovered a really cool waterfall that’s back there. Almost no one goes to that area. Almost everyone goes to Yosemite Valley. And you know, Yosemite’s really known for like Half Dome and those really tall granite domes and structures that you can hike for. It’s a hikers paradise. We’ve done so many good hikes there. I think one of my favorite trails, I’ll name two, one is the trail to the upper Yosemite Falls. And the other would be the mist trail that which goes past like Vernal and Nevada fall
2 (1h 1m 24s):
And Yosemite’s getting, I mean it’s always been a popular part, but it’s getting to almost be at the Yellowstone levels in terms of crowds. I know even just seeing this year, and again, California had historic snowfall this year, which has been great getting us out of the drought. But it created people wanting to see Yosemite in an environment that they’ll probably never see get in their lives or just haven’t seen in a while with that much snow. Because it’s been literally almost two decades now since we’ve had a substantial amount of snow. But I’m seeing lines in the cars taking at least two hours to get into the park from the the gate station for this year. Right. So if you’re gonna go, just plan accordingly.
2 (1h 2m 4s):
No for that. But definitely worth the visit. And I want to touch upon a little bit more of what Brittany was saying to Hetch Hetchi Valley. It touches all together, right? Yosemite Valley and Hetch Hetchi. But the Valley eventually ends in a dead end and that’s the famous area. So there’s not a road that you can get to it. So it’s a separate road far away to get you to a park that touches Yosemite. But the only way to get to it is that separate road and not a lot of people go there. And it’s a unique spot to really go and see a different part of the park that most people don’t get to experience. And really cool waterfalls, like Brittany said over there too. Not as grand as in the valley, but a unique experience.
2 (1h 2m 44s):
0 (1h 2m 46s):
I like this park I’ve been once before. I thought it was very beautiful saw Bear, that was very exciting. It ran right by me. I’ll never forget it. And I think this park also has something for the people that don’t necessarily wanna hike. We had this one on our list of one of the best national parks to visit if you don’t like hiking, because there are a lot of good viewpoints and things to do out there. I’m actually toying with the idea of visiting here in November around Thanksgiving time. So I’m kind of considering going home for Thanksgiving, which is up near Sacramento. And you know, it’s only a couple hours drive into Yosemite from there.
0 (1h 3m 27s):
Louis’s sister took a culinary position, a sous chef type position at a luxury type resort in Yosemite. Oh, that’s really cool. And so we’re playing around with the idea of maybe spending a day or two there.
2 (1h 3m 42s):
Well if you’re toying around with that idea and don’t mind Brittany and I tagging along. Keep us in consideration because we need to do Squad Squad trip there. I was gonna say before you said that, let’s maybe try to look into a spring one because I think Squad trip here would be really fun. And Yosemite is a national park that never gets old to going to. You could appreciate it on your millionth time there if you’re fortunate enough to go that many times.
0 (1h 4m 4s):
All right, well let’s dive into Cool West Jens of the week. We have one question coming in. Is there a US UNESCO site that you haven’t visited yet but want to? I think Jamal definitely knows this one. I see Brittany lighting up. I think she has one.
1 (1h 4m 28s):
Yeah, I’ll go ahead and go first. So my UNESCO site that I haven’t visited yet, but I would would love to visit, is the Waterton Glacier International Peace Park. It is a combination of the national park in the US, glacier National Park and Waterton National Park up in Canada. And they meet on that Montana Canada border of the US and Canada. And there’s like this little peace park. I would love to go there and experience that UNESCO site.
0 (1h 5m 1s):
Very cool. This is a tough question because even myself, I don’t even know all of the UNESCO Heritage sites in the us
2 (1h 5m 9s):
For me, I’m gonna have to say Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, which is located in Juno, Alaska. Brittany and I have been to Alaska before on an Alaska cruise, but we didn’t unfortunately get to go to this national park and preserve, but I think it would be a unique experience to just go and see the glaciers as they’re coming off of land flowing into the ocean, taking a cruise on the little inlets of islands and just really seeing all of this. And that’s what you can expect to see at Glacier Bay. So for me, I would have to say that that’s my number one of US UNESCO’s that I want make it to next.
0 (1h 5m 45s):
I definitely wanna see Hawaii volcanoes. You all went there. I have not. And I would also love to go to the University of Virginia,
2 (1h 5m 53s):
The University of Virginia. Why the university? Ironically, it’s listed on here as a UNESCO. Do you know why?
0 (1h 5m 59s):
Yes. So the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, as well as the Monticello Plantation were designed by Thomas Jefferson. So for that reason, it has the cultural Heritage that qualifies it as a UNESCO Heritage site. I think it’s also unique because it’s one of the only ones that’s not a national park. There’s a couple others that are natural, like the one you just mentioned, Brittany, but hey, university of Virginia showing up.
2 (1h 6m 24s):
Yeah. And it’s on there is cultural. I mean, only a few of the lists that we went over on the 14th that we discussed. You’re right, all cultural. Most of them were the natural ones. So and And that’s really interesting to think even a university making this list. You could think world Heritage sites, universities may be in Europe for whatever reason, but yeah, in the US I find that to be very intriguing. I don’t know, high on my list to see, but intriguing nevertheless.
0 (1h 6m 49s):
Yeah, if I’m in Virginia, if I’m in the area.
1 (1h 6m 52s):
So Squatty, when this episode comes out, we are gonna do a post for the episode in the comments comment, what UNESCO world, Heritage site is your favorite. Let us know if you agree with Kim on her number 1, 2, 3 and four, four-way tie or not. And let us know what site you haven’t visited yet. But you want to just give us all the scoop on what you’re thinking about of these US Unesca site.
0 (1h 7m 16s):
And thank you so much for tuning into our episode this week. Keep the adventures going with us by following us on Instagram YouTube TikTok at Travel Squad Podcast. Tag us in your adventures and send us in your questions of the week.
2 (1h 7m 29s):
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1 (1h 7m 43s):
Stay tuned for next week’s episode. We have some more amazing adventures and tips in store for you.
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