Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
The Gila Cliff Dwellings in New Mexico aren't just an important part of American history--they're an important part of human history, too. It's believed that these cliffs were used for shelter by nomadic people thousands of years ago. The stone rooms they created might not look like much, but it's amazing to be in a place where humanity's ancestors once lived.
Despite the fascinating history that went on here, this isn't the most popular monument in America. It only gets an estimated 79,000 visitors.
Nicodemus National Historic Site
During Reconstruction after the Civil War, Nicodemus, Kansas was the only settlement to be established by African Americans. This historic site that commemorates the town's history contains five buildings from the original settlement, including a schoolhouse, a church, and a hotel.
Nevertheless, this important site doesn't get many visitors these days. Tourist numbers are generally in the low 2000s.
Bering Land Bridge Preserve
The Bering Land Bridge Preserve marks the path where archeologists think ancient people migrated from what we now call Russia to the Americas. And we're not talking a couple thousand years ago--this path is as old as the Ice Age, which occurred around 12,000 years in the past.
This is a truly fascinating place, but the location isn't great--it's in a remote part of western Alaska. Because of this, the preserve only sees a few thousand visitors a year.
Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial
The Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial has the distinction of being the smallest national park in the country. It commemorates Thaddeus Kosciuszko, a Polish-born man who helped the Americans during the Revolutionary War with his military defense designs.
The memorial is located in an unassuming house in Philadelphia, which might account for its low visitation numbers. In 2018, it had only 2077 visitors.
Carter G. Woodson National Historic Site
Cater G. Woodsoon was born to freed slaves and went on to become the second African American to receive a PhD from Harvard. Later in life, he went on to create organizations and publications highlighting African American history, which led to his unofficial title as the father of black history. His home is now a historic site commemorating his achievements.
Numbers are currently low for this historic site--there were less than 2000 visitors in 2018. But this could be because the site only recently re-opened. It had been closed for about a decade due to structural issues with the home.
Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve
This picturesque preserve in northern Alaska marks the spot where the Yukon and Charley rivers meet. As you canoe through the bluffs in this beautiful setting, keep in mind you're seeing rock formations that were created over 600 million years ago! And you might even be able to glimpse the remains of a cabin built by prospectors during the Gold Rush.
As beautiful as Alaska is, it's kind of a pain to travel to, which could explain this site's low visitation numbers. On a good year, the place could expect to see maybe 1500 visitors.
Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Monument
During World War II, tragedy struck at Port Chicago in San Francisco. As soldiers were loading ammunition onto a ship, there was an explosion that killed over 300. This disaster would ultimately lead to the desegregation of the Navy and the US military in general, as Port Chicago at the time was home to a segregated unit of African American soldiers.
These days, Port Chicago only sees visitors in the hundreds. But that's probably due to the fact that the memorial is on an active military base--visiting it requires a scheduled reservation.
Clara Barton National Historic Site
After tending to wounded soldiers during the Civil War, Clara Barton went on to found and lead the American Red Cross until 1904. Her home in Maryland was the first headquarters for the organization, and these days is a tribute to her memory and contributions.
Like others on this list, the Clara Barton House has recently undergone renovations, which could contribute to its low numbers. In 2018, it saw only 425 visitors, but that number should rise in the future.
Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site
Mary McLeod made significant contributions to the advancement of African American people in the 1900s. In addition to starting a school (and later, a university) for African American girls, she also served as an advisor to president Franklin Roosevelt. Her home in Washington D.C. has become a tribute to her legacy.
Another site that was hurt by renovations, the Mary McLeod House only saw 109 visitors in 2018. However, even on good years, the site only sees a few thousand people.
Aniakchak National Monument and Preserve
The Aniakchak National Monument and Preserve has the dubious and consistent distinction of being America's least-visited national site. To even get to this breathtaking place, you've got to take a plane and a boat--and you might have to do a little hiking, too. But for those who make it there, the beautiful Alaskan views are worth the trouble--including a huge volcanic crater!
So how many people are brave enough to make the trek to Aniakchak? There are usually only about 300 visitors annually, although in 2018, that number was a measly 100.
Alibates Flint Quarries
The Alibates Flint Quarries have been around for 12,000 years, but these days not many people seem interested. On the south side of Lake Meredith in Texas, these quarries are admittedly not much to look at--despite their historical significance.
The flint quarries only have a few thousand visitors a year, thanks to their lack of excitement--and thanks to the fact that tours have to be scheduled in advance.
Fort Union National Monument
Despite the fact that the remains of Fort Union are only 30 miles away from Las Vegas, this monument doesn't get much attention. It was once an important stop on the Santa Fe Trail, but these days all that remains are a few walls.
There are around 10,000 visitors to Fort Union every year. And while that might sound like a lot, it pales in comparison to the hundreds of thousands of visitors other national monuments get annually.
Fossil Butte National Monument
Fossil Butte is the place to be if you're an archaeologist, but most other people tend to ignore this historic site in Wyoming. It's home to some of the best-preserved fossils of the Cenozoic era--a time when the area was covered by a huge lake.
There's currently an active excavation site at the monument, which sounds like it should draw visitors--but it's only accessible when a park ranger is present. That, along with a lack of other activities, means this site only sees about 15,000 visitors a year.
Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument
The Hagerman Fossil Beds are home to some of the best-preserved fossils from the time just before the Ice Age. It sounds fascinating, but these days, like most fossil beds, all tourists see is a bunch of sprawling nothing. While there is a museum displaying some of the finds in the area, it's actually a few miles away from the monument itself.
On a good year, the Hagerman Fossil beds might see 23,000 people visiting.
Homestead National Monument of America
The Homestead National Monument of America marks the passage of the 1862 Homestead Act--which allowed Americans to claim acres of land, as long as they promised to live and cultivate the land for at least five years. The monument, located in Nebraska, marks the place where some of the first land was given away thanks to this Act.
Aside from the education center, there isn't terribly much to see at this monument. That could explain why it only has around 65,000 visitors each year.