America’s Most Iconic Landmarks


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While the Eiffel Tower, the Taj Mahal, and Mount Fuji may be among the first images that come to mind when we picture iconic landmarks, there are numerous dazzling sights—both natural and man-made—in the United States. And most are just an RV road trip away.

Landmarks can range from local directional markers to the truly awe-inspiring, but to be considered iconic there needs to be a larger meaning behind the site.

Widely known and recognized, the following four iconic landmarks are symbolic or representative either historically or for their natural beauty.

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is home to a number of museums, two IMAX theatres, and various bus tours allowing visitors a closer look at various restricted areas. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is home to a number of museums, two IMAX theatres, and various bus tours allowing visitors a closer look at various restricted areas. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Kennedy Space Center, Florida

The John F. Kennedy Space Center is the NASA space vehicle launch facility. Located near Cape Canaveral, the site is 34 miles long and around 6 miles wide, covering 219 square miles.

Kennedy Space Center’s only launch operations are at Launch Complex 39. All other launch operations take place at the adjacent Cape Canaveral Air Force Station which is operated by the U.S. Air Force.

Because much of Kennedy Space Center is off limits to development, the site also serves as an important wildlife sanctuary.

It was renamed the John F. Kennedy Space Center in November 1963, after the recently assassinated president John F. Kennedy. The surrounding Cape Canaveral was also renamed Cape Kennedy, but this change was unpopular with the local people and the name reverted in 1973.

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is home to a number of museums, two IMAX theatres, and various bus tours allowing visitors a closer look at various restricted areas.

Monument Valley, Utah and Arizona

Straddling the Utah and Arizona border on a Navajo Tribal Park, this vast desert valley is punctuated by red siltstone buttes. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Straddling the Utah and Arizona border on a Navajo Tribal Park, this vast desert valley is punctuated by red siltstone buttes. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Straddling the Utah and Arizona border on a Navajo Tribal Park, this vast desert valley is punctuated by red siltstone buttes sculpted by the wind into hand-like shapes known as “mittens.”

The valley was carved out of the Colorado Plateau by ancient rivers which left the majestic buttes rising above the valley floor. The red color of the valley is due to iron oxide in the siltstone sand. The buttes have three layers or strata from bottom to top: shale, sandstone, and siltstone.

Film director John Ford immortalized the landscape in 10 western films including Stagecoach and The Searchers.

Gettysburg National Military Park, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Battlefield tours on your own, on a bus, or with a Licensed Battlefield Guide can be arranged at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Battlefield tours on your own, on a bus, or with a Licensed Battlefield Guide can be arranged at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Battle of Gettysburg was a major turning point in the Civil War, the Union victory that ended General Robert E. Lee’s second and most ambitious invasion of the North.

Often referred to as the “High Water Mark of the Rebellion”, Gettysburg was the Civil War’s largest battle. It was also the bloodiest single battle of the war, resulting in over 51,000 soldiers killed, wounded, captured, or missing.

A trip to the park allows visitors to walk in the Soldiers’ National Cemetery, where President Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous Gettysburg Address.

Battlefield tours on your own, on a bus, or with a Licensed Battlefield Guide can be arranged at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center.

The Breakers, Newport, Rhode Island

The Breakers is part of a 13-acre estate overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Breakers is part of a 13-acre estate overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Designed by Richard Morris Hunt for Cornelius Vanderbelt II, The Breakers is an Italian Renaissance mansion that would cost over 150 million dollars if it were built today. The four story building has 70 rooms built around a central Great Hall.

The Breakers is part of a 13-acre estate overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The mansion was constructed between 1893 and 1895 and has about 65,000 sq. ft. of living space.

In 1972, the Preservation Society of Newport County bought the Breakers for $365,000.

Members of the Vanderbelt family are still permitted to live in the building on the third floor.

Worth Pondering…

History, although sometimes made up of the few acts of the great, is more often shaped by the many acts of the small.

—Mark Yost

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