Guide

11 Spring Strolls With a Side of History

Spring is a wonderful time to explore historic sites and landscapes. From gentle walking paths to strenuous hikes on wooded trails, there's something for every history lover on this list of historic strolls.

  1. Waves crashing on the rocky shores of the Monhegan Coast

    Photo By: Lori Holder Webb

    Monhegan Island

    This small rocky island in Maine was once a thriving fishing village and historic artists’ colony throughout the 1800s. Hiking trails follow along the highest cliffs of the eastern shoreline of the United States. While on the island, don’t miss the Rockwell Kent and James Fitzgerald Studio to see how the headlands have inspired artists. Enjoy a picnic lunch on one of the flat rocks to see shore birds and harbor seals.

  2. Photo By: Michael Lavin Flower

    Chesterwood

    The former summer home, studio, and gardens of America’s foremost public sculptor, Daniel Chester French, are a beautiful respite in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Stroll down woodland paths designed by French himself. Contrasting with the estate’s orderly garden, wild beauty is alive on these trails. French designed them as a “classroom of nature,” inspiring a love of the outdoors in his young daughter. The vigorous uphill Ledges Trail over rocky ledges leads to an impressive view of the Berkshires.

  3. Manitoga is surrounded by trees.

    Photo By: Vivian Linares

    Manitoga/The Russel Wright Design Center

    Over the course of 35 years, industrial designer Russel Wright transformed a former industrial site into a place of extraordinary beauty in Philipstown, New York. Wander through the woodland paths and gaze at mosses, mushrooms, and wildflowers. The landscape also features a 30-foot waterfall cascading into an idyllic quarry pool.

  4. A park sign that says "Pine Grove Furnace State Park" that is surrounded by green trees.

    Photo By: Tiffany Harkleroad

    Pine Grove Furnace State Park

    The halfway point for the Appalachian Trail, this 696-acre scenic park in Gardners, Pennsylvania, was once home to a smelting facility during the Industrial Revolution. Today, you can explore the historic buildings, including an iron furnace and the Ironmaster’s Mansion. The former grist mill has been turned into the first hiking museum in the nation. Hiking trails pass through vernal pools, swamps, wetlands, and forests. It’s a great opportunity to see herons, beavers, waterfowl, and white-tailed deer.

  5. A wooded park with sunlight coming through the trees and a pond in the foreground.

    Photo By: Shawn Taylor

    F.D. Roosevelt State Park

    With 9,049 acres of hardwoods, pines, creeks, and small waterfalls, Georgia’s largest state park is a hiker’s dream. A favorite spot of President Franklin D. Roosevelt was Dowdell’s Knob; today, a life-size sculptor greets visitors who hike up the overlook. The Civilian Conservation Corps built several park amenities, including cottages and the Liberty Bell Swimming Pool, during the Great Depression.

  6. Underwater shot of the corals beneath Biscayne Park

    Photo By: NPCA Photos

    Biscayne National Park

    This park near downtown Miami contains aquamarine waters and vibrant coral reefs home to more than 500 species of fish. Though the park was established for its natural history, the human history of the park spans 10,000 years. Contemplate the many different stories that make up Biscayne while walking the 0.8-mile Convoy Point Jetty Walk.

  7. T.C. Steele State Historic Site

    Photo By: T.C. Steele State Historic Site

    T.C. Steele State Historic Site

    The last home and studio of landscape painter Theodore Clement Steele in Nashville, Indiana, is surrounded by gardens and woodlands that inspired many well-known artworks. Amble down one of the five wooded trails to find creative inspiration of your own. There is usually a brilliant array of wildflowers in the spring.

  8. Brucemore, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

    Photo By: Kyle Sleichter

    Brucemore

    Brucemore has provided an escape from city life for more than a century. Today, the estate in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, remains a rare example of a Prairie Style landscape. There are three gardens that reflect landscape architect O.C. Simonds’ concept of “outdoor rooms.”

  9. Fossilized trees at the Petrified Forest

    Photo By: James Marvin Phelps

    Petrified Forest National Park

    Named for its fossils of fallen trees as well as other fossilized plants and vertebrates, this park encompasses 346 square miles in northeastern Arizona. President Theodore Roosevelt used the Antiquities Act to create the Petrified Forest National Monument, the second national monument in U.S. history. The park has seven maintained hiking trails, which vary in length from less than 0.5 miles to nearly 3 miles.

  10. White flowers in front of red rock formations in Capitol Reef Park

    Photo By: Ralph Earlandson

    Capitol Reef National Park

    This red rock park in south-central Utah is filled with cliffs, canyons, domes, and a geologic wrinkle on earth (Waterpocket Fold, a monocline). Hike one of the 15 trails, ranging from easy to strenuous in difficulty. See petroglyphs or learn about Fruita’s days as a farming community in the Fruita Historic District (at the heart of Capitol Reef National Park) with a visit to the Gifford Homestead and Fruita Schoolhouse.

  11. Sunlight streaming through tall redwood trees

    Photo By: Harminder Dhesi

    Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve

    The serene grove in Sonoma County, California, is home to magnificent Sequoia sempervirens, commonly known as the coast redwood. These remarkable trees are the tallest living thing on Earth. The self-guided nature trails are a place for quiet reflection. It is also home to Pond Farm Pottery, which served for decades as the studio and home of Marguerite Wildenhain, a Bauhaus-trained master potter. Spring is a great time to visit as wildflowers abound and the fog is less frequent.

Haley Somolinos is the manager of email marketing at the National Trust. She has a passion for places and the stories that they hold.

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