2018 America the Beautiful Quarters are the ninth year of coins from the United States Mint quarters series that honors American sites. The featured coins, and in the order they will be released for the year include:
Wisconsin – 2018 Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Quarter
Minnesota – 2018 Voyageurs National Park Quarter
Rhode Island – 2018 Block Island National Wildlife Refuge Quarter
Fifty-six new quarters dollars will be released under the complete United States Mint America the Beautiful Quarters Program, with five appearing each year from 2010 to 2021. The reverses of all the quarters honor national parks or other national places of interest, with one site selected from each state, D.C. and the five US Territories.
The program is operated similarly to the successful 50-State Quarters Program which the United States Mint ran from 1999-2008, and the short one-year follow-up in 2009 called the District of Columbia and U.S. Territories Quarters Program.
Just like the previously mentioned series, the America the Beautiful coins still contain William Cousins modified portrait of John Flanagan’s George Washington. Washington, of course, was the first President of the United States and has been seen on the quarter dollar since 1932.
More information on the sites the 2018 America the Beautiful Quarters honor can be found below:
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Created in 1966, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan along Lake Superior has the distinction of being the first National Lakeshore ever created by Congress.
The Lakeshore consists of over 42 miles of shore covering 73,000 acres along the way. Paved roads enter the area on both ends, but anyone wishing to drive the entire length would have to do so on a county road.
Sites in the Lakeshore not only include the shore itself but a forest, lakes, waterfalls, sandstone cliffs and sand dunes. Colorful sandstone cliffs along the shore gave the area its name with their walls rising sometimes 200 feet above the lake level. The erosive effects of the water have created caves and other structures that are quick to foster the imagination in anyone.
Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
Also located along Lake Superior, but this time in Wisconsin, is the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore which was created in 1970.
Apostle Islands consists of 21 islands and 12 miles of mainland that offer both spectacular views and a glimpse into the history of the area. Aside from the natural beauty and growth of the area, visitors pay special attention to the sandstone sea caves and the 6 lighthouses that are included inside the Lakeshore’s boundaries.
Probably the most visited lighthouse is located on Sand Island. It stands 44 feet tall and was among the first to be lit in the early 1920’s to aid in ship navigation through the turbulent Superior waters.
Voyageurs National Park
Established in 1975, Voyageurs National Park is located near International Falls, Minnesota.
The park itself is named after French-Canadian fur traders known as voyageurs who were the first European settlers to frequent the area. They used the waterways of the area to both catch the animals from which they derived the fur from as well as a means of transportation to get those furs to market.
Today, an estimated quarter of a million annual visitors frequent the park, enjoying activities such as camping, boating, canoeing, kayaking and fishing.
Cumberland Island National Seashore
Only accessible by boat, the Cumberland Island National Seashore was created in 1972 to preserve a majority of Cumberland Island in Georgia.
The island is touted as the largest and southernmost of Georgia’s barrier islands and contains maritime forests, beaches and marshes, all which invite both visitors and wildlife to the area. Unfortunately, due to its limited access, only an estimated 40,000 visit the seashore annually.
For those that are interested in taking in the seashore, the visitor center and ferry access to the island is located in St. Marys, Georgia.
Block Island National Wildlife Refuge
Established in 1973, twelve miles off the shore of Rhode Island, Block Island National Wildlife Refuge was started with a transfer of 28 acres from the United States Coast Guard.
Today, the refuge encompasses 127 acres and is most noted as a stop-over for over 70 species of migratory songbirds in the Atlantic flyway.
Visitors to the refuge should call ahead and reserve a space aboard the Block Island ferry which departs from Narragansett, Rhode Island.
Collectors as well as silver enthusiasts will be interested to know that the US Mint is also planning a companion series they have dubbed the America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coin Program. These bullion coins will feature the same imagery as that of the quarter dollars, but be struck from an amazing five ounces of .999 fine silver to a diameter of three inches.