National Park Service

World Heritage Sites in the U.S.


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A generation ago, the United States took a leadership role in the creation of the World Heritage Convention and has taken a major role in shaping its progress during the ensuring three decades. In September 1978, meeting in Washington, D.C., the World Heritage Committee inaugurated the World Heritage List by inscribing the very first sites. The United States was honored by having both Yellowstone National Park and Mesa Verde National Park included among the first 12 World Heritage Sites.

There are now 21 World Heritage Sites in the United States. However, the United States has only nominated two new sites since 1994. The Tentative List, which contains 13 cultural and natural sites represent special places worthy of recognition as World Heritage Sites. These 13 places were selected from among 35 worthy properties that voluntarily applied to be included on the list.

We encourage you to scroll through the current 21 World Heritage Sites in the U.S. and the 13 properties on the U.S. Tentative List. Sliding your mouse arrow over the top of each image provides information about each site.