New York City's Tourist Attractions for the National Parks

Tourists visiting the Big Apple might be interested to find out that the city is not made entirely of concrete. In fact, New York City and northern New Jersey share more than 10 national parks offering a broad spectrum of sights and activities. From wildlife conservation to military bases and art museums, national park attractions in and near New York City are as exciting and diverse as the city itself.

Gateway National Recreation Area

Along with Golden Gate Park, Gateway National Recreation Area was one of the first urban recreation centers in the country. Gateway is located at three different sites---Jamaica Bay, Brooklyn and Queens---and home to a wildlife refuge, nature trails and beaches, in addition to New York City's first major airport. The Staten Island unit offers fishing, boating, the World War II Veterans Park and the historic Fort Wadsworth. And if you do not mind making a detour to New Jersey, Sandy Hook Lighthouse and Fort Hancock are just a car ride away.

Directions to various spots in Gateway can be found at the National Park Service website (see Resources). For visitor information, call 718-354-4606.

Governors Island National Monument

Until 2003, this Colonial-era military outpost was off-limits to the public. Now, programs are offered on weekends during the summer on this 22-acre island off the west coast of Brooklyn. Home to Fort Jay and Castle Williams, Governors Island National Monument was a U.S. Army base for more than 200 years. Visitors can take a free ferry ride to the island and enjoy an array of activities, from art exhibits to biking trails.

Directions to Governors Island can be found at the park website (see Resources). For visitor information, call 212-825-3045.

African Burial Ground National Monument

In 1991, during the excavation for the construction of a federal office building in lower Manhattan, the skeletal remains of more than 400 African men, women and children were discovered---it was a 6.6-acre burial ground for free and enslaved Africans dating back into the 18th century. Now, this unique and deeply important memorial commemorates the history and contribution of some of the earliest African immigrants in the United States.

African Burial Ground Visitor Center

290 Broadway, 1st Floor

New York, NY 10007

African Burial Ground National Monument

Duane and Elk Streets



General Grant National Memorial

Known also as Grant's Tomb, the General Grant National Memorial is the burial site of General Ulysses S. Grant and overlooks the Hudson River from upper Manhattan. Especially beautiful in the spring and fall seasons, Grant's Tomb is the largest tomb in the country, built to honor the general's legacy.

General Grant National Memorial

West 122nd Street and Riverside Drive

New York, NY 10027


Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island

The Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island are iconic symbols of America's ideals of opportunity and diversity, and are both accessible to visitors on the same boat tour. The Statue of Liberty, a gift from France, is a classic New York City landmark, while Ellis Island's museum offers fascinating exhibits about United States immigration history.

Directions to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island can be found at the National Park Service website (see Resources). For visitor information, call 212-363-3200.