Getaway idea: Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial
The Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial is the country's newest national park. It commemorates the 320 African American men who lost their lives when a mysterious explosion occurred while they were loading ammunition onto ships for the Pacific theatre troops during World War II.
The park, which is located 30 miles east of San Francisco, occupies the site of the Port Chicago explosion. The July 17, 1944 event was the United States' largest homeland disaster of World War II and accounted for 15 percent of the country's African American causalities during the war.
The park is part of the Army's Military Ocean Terminal Concord base and has restricted access. This means that all visitors to the site need to be cleared with the U.S. Army and that only U.S citizens and permanent residents will be granted clearance. Reservations are required and officials say they need at least two weeks to complete the necessary background checks for each visitor.
This destination comes from the National Park Getaways series, which helps people find new places to reconnect with nature, history, family and friends.
Each Wednesday, the National Park Service posts a new getaway idea on its website, nps.gov/getaways. There's a new park idea every week and most of the activities listed are free, so they're good, budget-friendly vacation options.