As I sit here on George Washington’s birthday, I can’t help but long to visit another historical site. I never considered myself a “history buff” until our first visit to Washington DC several years ago. Now, half of the adventures I plan have some sort of historical theme involved, which I’ve dubbed as our annual history trips! I know my kids are wishing I wasn’t such a nerd!
But I am an elementary teacher and when I plan lessons and activities for my students, I can’t help but think about how much I loved social studies when I was younger. I remember my parents having encyclopedias and how much I loved researching different things I had learned about when I got home from school. Lucky for me, my boys have always been interested in social studies, too. So, when my oldest became obsessed with all things presidents and early American history, I rolled with it and we’ve had the chance to visit several historical sites across the country! I thought it would be fun to create a list of our favorites, in case you are raising kids that want to learn more about our country or maybe you’re a self-proclaimed history buff yourself!
So keep reading to learn more about our favorite historical sites across the US!
Obviously this destination ranks high on our list. We’ve actually visited DC with our boys more than once and seem to learn something new each time. We’ve stayed in the spring and fall and both seasons were very enjoyable. It’s also such a clean city, which is why it ranks as my favorite city in the US so far (I haven’t been everywhere…yet)!
Just imagine getting to see the original Declaration of Independence in person, or the first United States flag that inspired the Star Spangled Banner! The monuments, memorials, and museums were more interesting than I imagined! This is one place that we all felt so patriotic and so proud to be Americans!
Our favorite Washington DC activities:
- Monument Bike Tour at Night
- The Smithsonian Museums
- White House Tour
- Ford’s Theatre Museum/Petersen House
- Capital Building Tour
Click here to read more about our adventures in Washington DC!
Click here for tips and instructions on how to get a White House Tour!
I cannot believe that it took so long for me to get my boys and myself to Philadelphia, but we finally visited this past summer. And let me tell you, it was everything I had hoped it would be and more! I was literally moved to tears during our visit to Independence Hall. I mean, I got to see George Washington’s actual chair AND we got to be in the very room that the Declaration of Independence was adopted. This city is full of history and I would give anything to step back in time to see what it was like to live in those days, some 250 years ago.
Our Philly favorites:
- Independence Hall
- The Liberty Bell
- The Betsy Ross House
- Elfreth’s Alley
- Benjamin Franklin’s grave
- Double Decker Bus Tour
- Washington Square
- Guided Historical Ghost Tour
Unfortunately, several things were closed while we were there due to Covid, so I hope one day I get to go back to visit some of the museums and Ben Franklin’s library.
Click here to read more about our trip to Philadelphia!
I absolutely adore this special, little destination! I’ve been fortunate enough to visit twice and I often dream of going back. And with my goal of getting to all 50 states, it’s not common for me to want to plan a trip to somewhere we’ve already been several times. But that’s just how special I think Williamsburg is! We visited in the spring and over Christmas last year, and it was magical.
Our Williamsburg favorites:
- The Historic Triangle
- Colonial Williamsburg
- Jamestowne Settlement (our favorite of the three)
- The Ruins of Presidents Park
- Colonial Ghost Tour
Click here to read more about our visit to the Historic Triangle.
Click here to read about our visit to The Ruins of Presidents Park
Presidential Home Tours
I have a thing for visiting former President’s homes and gravesites. It’s probably a strange obsession, but I love it! We’ve had the chance to see several historical homes across the country, and here are our favorites!
Favorite Historical Homes:
- George Washington’s Mount Vernon in Virginia
- Lincoln’s Home in Springfield, Illinois
- Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Virginia
- Ulysses S. Grant’s home in St. Louis, MO
Can you imagine if the walls in these homes could talk? I am so thankful that these historical sites were preserved for us to enjoy and the National Park Service does a great job giving tours and telling stories that I have never read about in textbooks!
Our trip to South Dakota was an adventure for several reasons! It also ranks as one of our all-time favorite family vacations to date. I had no idea how much we would love the entire area near Mount Rushmore, but we did! The landscape is a dream for nature lovers like myself and the hiking options were endless. There were activities for all ages. And who can forget the main tourist attraction, which blew us away!
Our South Dakota favorites:
Click here to read all about our adventures in South Dakota!
I hope this list of ideas finds you well and helps encourage you to get out there, explore, and keep learning! I cannot wait to add more destinations to this list, we have some fun plans ahead that I’m so excited about!