Popular Tourist Cemeteries in the United States
Although few people associate cemeteries and death with their ideal vacation plans, visiting local cemeteries is actually a popular tourist practice. Fusing history and nature, cemeteries have a way of capturing a city’s culture in ways that more traditional tourist sites do not—and because they are almost always free to the public, they provide a low-cost alternative to many kinds of national monuments, museums, and theme parks.
These famous cemeteries provide even more incentive. They house celebrities and historical figures, play an important part in history, and provide beautiful examples of landscaping and architecture. If you find yourself in the area, they may be worth a second look.
- The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific: Also known as the Punchbowl Cemetery, this Honolulu site is one of the most famous U.S. Navy memorials. It is housed inside the crater of a now-extinct volcano and commemorates the Korean and both World Wars.
- St. Louis Cemetery: The oldest and most famous cemetery in New Orleans, the St. Louis Cemetery is located near the French Quarter and is estimated to house over 100,000 bodies (despite only being one block long). It is most noted for the fact that it is made entirely of above-ground mausoleums and crypts, which makes it unique among U.S. historical cemeteries.
- Bonaventure Cemetery: Another historical cemetery with unique architecture thanks to its Southern roots, Bonaventure is located just outside Savannah, Georgia. It is large—over 160 acres in all—and has served as the setting for several films. Several Civil War personages are buried here.
- Green-Wood Cemetery: This New York cemetery is built on the highest point in Brooklyn, offering a lush, green space in a busy city setting. In addition to serving as a National Historic Landmark, Green-Wood houses the remains of notable historic New York personages and great examples of mausoleum architecture.
- Mount Auburn Cemetery: This Massachusetts locale is considered the first U.S. “garden” cemetery. It was built in 1831, and instead of being more urban in its makeup, the site was chosen for its rolling hills and room for expansion. More than 93,000 people are now buried here, and it continues to take burials even today.
- Woodlawn Cemetery: Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx is another example of a New York cemetery worth visiting. Built in 1863, this enormous cemetery covers over 400 acres and houses the remains of more than 300,000 people. Hundreds of notable residents, historical figures, and military personages are buried here, and many people visit both to pay their respects and enjoy the beautiful buildings.
Other famous U.S. cemeteries include places like DC’s Arlington National Cemetery, Atlanta’s Oakland Cemetery, and Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Francisco. No matter which coast you are on or where your travels take you, you are sure to find notable burial sites and great opportunities to walk through history.
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By Amy Johnson