We all know national parks are famous for their natural beauty and abundant wildlife, but many of the properties managed by the National Park System are of great historic importance as well. With the help of the National Park Foundation, 10Best has come up with 10 national parks you should visit to brush up on your history and deepen your understanding and appreciation of America the beautiful.
Belmont-Paul Women's Equality National Monument | Washington
Why it matters: President Barack Obama designated this a national monument on April 12, 2016, making it only the second national monument to specifically commemorate women's history. For 90 years, the National Woman's Party made this house, in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol, its headquarters. It was from here that Alice Paul and the other members of the organization helped secure passage of the 19th amendment, granting women the right to vote.
Don't miss: Sign up ahead of your visit for a free tour of the museum, offered three times daily.
Manzanar National Historic Site | California
USA TODAY's Rick Hampson talks about his visit to the Manzanar National Historic Site in California.
Why it matters: In 1942, some 110,000 men, women and children were removed from their homes by the U.S. government and detained in military-like camps in remote areas of the country. The Manzanar War Relocation Center was one of 10 such internment camps for Japanese Americans and resident Japanese aliens during World War II. It's important for us to remember this darker period in U.S. history, lest we repeat it.
Don't miss: A walk through replica barracks shows what life was like for the families interned within these camps.
Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site | Kansas
Why it matters: The pivotal Brown v. Board of Education court case ended segregation in public schools, ensuring a more equitable future for generations to come. While the Supreme Court decision considered five cases from five different states, the national monument in Topeka, Kan. occupies the grounds of former Monroe Elementary School, the school that plaintiff Oliver Brown's daughter attended.
Don't miss: Check out the Kindergarten Room, restored in 2014 to its 1954 appearance.
Readers' Choice Celebrates the National Parks
Readers' Choice Celebrates the National Parks
César E. Chávez National Monument | California
Why it matters: César E. Chávez, one of the most important Latino leaders and civil rights activists of the twentieth century, helped establish the nation's first permanent agricultural union to help ensure farm workers received higher wages and safer working and living conditions. The monument occupies the former headquarters of the movement Chávez helped create.
Don't miss: The Chávez Memorial Garden is where you'll find Chávez's grave – a moving tribute to an American hero.
Flight 93 National Memorial | Pennsylvania
The Flight 93 Memorial Museum opened with rain and emotion on September 11, 2015.
Why it matters: On a Tuesday morning in 2001, four commercial airplanes were hijacked in an attack that would cost more than 3,000 Americans their lives. The brave actions of 40 passengers and crew aboard Flight 93 thwarted an attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Don't miss: Take a quiet stroll through the 40 Memorial Groves, one in honor of each passenger aboard Flight 93.
Golden Spike National Historic Site | Utah
Why it matters: Golden Spike National Historic Site sits at the spot where the Union and Central Pacific Railroads joined their tracks, completing the first Transcontinental Railroad, forever influencing the growth of the United States.
Don't miss: Each Saturday during summer, costumed performers reenact the historic moment when the final spike was driven into the ground.
Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site | Arkansas
Why it matters: After the Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education in May of 1954, nine African American students began attending classes at the previously all-white Little Rock Central High School, sparking the first fundamental test of the historic desegregation decision.
Don't miss: Little Rock Central High School remains a functioning school, so sign up ahead of time for a guided tour to see the inside of the historic school building.
Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site | Alabama
Tuskegee Airmen pilot Fitzroy Newsum speaks about segregation in the military.
Why it matters: In 1940, US Army Air Corps (Army Air Forces) brought in African American men and women to be trained to fly military aircraft or work in ground operations. The experiences of these Tuskegee Airmen opened doors and paved the way for greater opportunities for African Americans, eventually leading to the office of the Presidency of the United States.
Don't miss: A full-sized replica Red-Tail P-51 Mustang sits inside Hanger #2 and has become an icon of this historic site.
Wright Brothers National Memorial | North Carolina
Why it matters: Modern day travelers owe thanks to Wilbur and Orville Wright, who spent four years experimenting before they made the world's first successful airplane flight in 1903. This pair of self-taught engineers changed what it means to travel.
Don't miss: Follow the Flight Line to visit the spot where the Wright Brothers took flight and their landing locations.
Pullman National Monument | Illinois
Why it matters: Pullman National Monument occupies the grounds of what was once the first planned, model industrial complex and community. It was also the site of a violent strike in Chicago 1894 that at once demonstrated the power of national labor and led to laws making making national strikes practically illegal.
Don't miss: On one weekend each October, residents of Pullman open their 120-year-old landmark homes during the Annual Historic Pullman House Tour.
To find out more about these and other national parks near you, visit the National Park Foundation website.