If you follow along on our adventures, then you might know that we love a good historical site! This honestly didn’t start with me, although I highly encouraged it. My boys became fascinated with the things they were learning about in school and therefore, their curiosity got the best of them, and they wanted to visit some of the places that they were studying in social studies class! And of course, I’m also an elementary teacher so I would never discourage their love of learning and I jumped right on board and started planning US history trips across the country! It’s worked out great because my kids are learning and I am bringing valuable knowledge back to my classroom at the same time.
We’ve had the opportunity to explore several different historical destinations in the country, but I’m mostly focusing on Presidential sites that we’ve visited in different states. This is a small list compared to every site that is open and available to visit. I have a lot of destinations on my list that we just haven’t gotten to yet, so remember that I’m only sharing those that we’ve actually ventured to today. Keep reading to learn about some wonderful places to visit that people of all ages can enjoy!
Historical Sites to Visit for President’s Day Weekend
Washington DC. – Obviously Washington DC is a great place to start if you’re interested in exploring historical sites. There are so many fascinating places in DC, it’s one of my favorite cities to visit in the entire US! You can also add in museums, a Capital Building tour, eat some amazing food, and more!
The White House – You can’t visit DC without seeing the White House! It took us three different trips before we were able to get tickets to go inside for a self-guided tour! If you can, I highly recommend a visit inside. How cool is it to say you’ve been in the President’s house?
Click here for my complete guide for getting tickets to the White House!
Washington Monument – The Washington Monument is easily one of the most recognizable monuments in DC. But did you know that you can go inside and ride an elevator to the top? Jett really wanted to do this while we were visiting, so we looked into getting tickets. They do offer some online to reserve, I believe the cost is $1.00. Otherwise, you can wait in line when the visitor center out front opens and grab free tickets for the number of people in your group! Jett and I woke up early one morning and waited in line for about an hour (maybe a little under) and got tickets for our family of four for later in the day. It’s really cool inside and the views from the top are great!
National Mall – The National Mall is also a must see destination in DC. It’s a wonderful area to walk around, take in the sights, and play or relax on the grassy area if the weather is nice! We really enjoyed taking a nighttime guided bike tour of the monuments along the National Mall! I highly recommend this activity! If you would rather do your own tour, there are plenty of maps online and in the area and you can explore all of those monuments and statues on your own! I suggest visiting the National Mall both during the day and at night!
Ford’s Theatre/Petersen House – Abe Lincoln has always been a favorite of ours, so we just had to visit Ford’s Theatre and the Petersen House across the street. Ford’s Theatre is sadly where President Lincoln was shot and the Petersen House across the street is where he was taken and later died. Both are open for tours and even though it’s sad, it’s very informational. Ford’s Theatre has a small museum that you visit first before going inside the theatre. Lincoln’s seats have been memorialized, but you’re able to view them and then listen to a Park Ranger share the events that led to this fateful assassination. We were all so engaged in this Ranger led talk, even my five year old was completely interested in the story. Once the talk is over, you go across the street and can see the bed that he died in and more artifacts from that era.
Click here for my complete Washington DC travel guide!
Mount Vernon – George Washington lived at Mount Vernon, which sits right on the Potomac River, about 13 miles from Washington DC in Alexandria, Virginia. This is an amazing day trip from DC if you’re in the area. We spent about half a day here, touring the house and the grounds. I loved the colors and décor inside the home and sitting outside on the back porch. I can only imagine how it really was back in those days so long ago. We learned a lot on the visit, good and bad. We also visited George and Martha Washington’s tombs on the property, as well as, the slave quarters and the slave cemetery. The best part was exploring the museum, which actually had a pair of George Washington’s false teeth on display!
Monticello – Thomas Jefferson has such a unique home outside of Charlottesville, Virginia. It’s filled with treasures and artifacts mostly brought back from Lewis and Clark’s expedition. It was fascinating, his home was more like some kind of exotic museum! Pictures inside the home are not allowed, but trust me its super cool! We also got some insight on some of his own personal inventions that are in the home. Needless to say, we really enjoyed the guided tour and learning more about our 3rd President! The grounds are great to explore and also very educational. There is a special video inside of Sally Heming’s slave quarters, be sure to check that out if you’re able to visit. And don’t forget to stop by his gravesite on the property, too.
The Ruins of Presidents Park – This is such a unique place to visit! Long story short, there was a Presidents Park in Virginia that went out of business around 2010. The park included huge busts of all the presidents from George Washington to George W. Bush. These busts were moved to a new location outside of Williamsburg, Virginia and were basically ruined in the process. Now they sit in all their eerie glory and you can visit! We really enjoyed exploring the busts, it was such a fun and different experience than most of our travels! We also really loved the presidential trivia at the end.
Click here for my complete travel guide to the Ruins of Presidents Park!
Philadelphia – Not only is Philadelphia an amazing city to visit, there’s so many historical sites that you can see, as well! Around the city you might see people dressed up in time period clothing and you should definitely be on the lookout for tour guides dressed as Ben Franklin or George Washington! My kids really enjoyed this part.
Independence Hall –Independence Hall is known as the birth place of our country. Y’all, the actual chair that George Washington sat in is still there! I might have a cried a little on our tour. I am just so fascinated with this part of our nation’s history and the Park Rangers there do a great job of sharing what they know! I left there with more knowledge and respect for some of our founding fathers. How cool is it to see the room that the Declaration of Independence was signed in?
Congress Hall – Right next door to Independence Hall is Congress Hall, which is the building that housed the first two presidential inaugurations. The Ranger Led talk about the first inaugurations was very informative. I highly recommend checking this out if you plan to visit the area.
Click here for my complete travel guide to Philadelphia!
Washington Crossing Historic Park – This was such a random stop for us on the drive from Delaware to New York City, but we all had fun! I don’t recommend centering a trip around this destination, but if you happen to be in the area, then you should definitely make the stop! Basically, this site preserves the spot that George Washington crossed the Delaware River. This image is extremely iconic, so it’s really cool to say that we’ve been here! It was a nice stop to get out and stretch our legs and explore the preservation of the area!
Click here for my complete Delaware to NYC travel guide!
Lincoln’s Home – If you find yourself near Springfield, Illinois you should totally stop by Abe Lincoln’s home! This was our first president’s home to ever visit and my boys and I sure did love it! You can stroll along the streets surrounding the home and it feels like stepping back in time. A Park Ranger will give you a guided tour of the home if you have tickets. You can purchase these at the Visitor Center, which is right by the parking lot.
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library – Down the street is the Presidential Library and Museum, which is fantastic for kids! This museum was truly great for all ages, but I really marveled at how well done it was to keep kiddos engaged. Abe Lincoln has always been a favorite of mine, so it was really fun to explore the different artifacts in the museum and learn more about him! Springfield is just a really cool city with lots of different things to explore related to our 16th president, Abraham Lincoln!
Click here for my full Springfield, Illinois travel guide!
Galena, Illinois – We traveled to Galena, IL this past August and I basically knew nothing about this place until we started planning our Midwest road trip. Let me tell you, this little town is so patriotic and rightfully so! It’s the former hometown of President Ulysses S. Grant. Here, you can explore Grant Park and even take a guided tour of his home! It was really interesting learning about him, I don’t feel like he was a president that I knew much about until touring his home. From all accounts he was a great general and a very interesting man.
Lincoln’s Boyhood Cabin – Another fun stop for my family was Lincoln’s Boyhood’s National Monument in Lincoln City, IN. The actual cabin is not still standing, but there is a memorial in place where it would’ve been located. There are other cabins in the area that were built to recreate the Lincoln farmstead and the grounds are gorgeous. We did some easy walking along the Trail of Twelve Stones, just imagining what life would’ve been like for a young Abe Lincoln. This trail has different markers that review the major events in Abe Lincoln’s life. The Visitor’s Center looks very interesting, too. But unfortunately it was closed when we visited during the pandemic.
George W. Bush Presidential Center – We had the opportunity to visit this presidential library and museum in Dallas this past summer and had a wonderful time! I had forgotten how funny George W. could be until we visited and saw different videos of him in the museum. The artifacts were very interesting, my boys were really excited to see how much his family loves baseball! There wasn’t a lot here geared for kids, but we all still enjoyed the visit!
Click here for complete Dallas, TX travel guide!
If you visit Dallas, be sure to check out The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza. I can’t believe that we haven’t gone to this museum yet, but it’s definitely on my list! Here you will learn more about President JFK’s assassination and you can see the exact spot that he was shot. There’s also a memorial for JFK in the area.
Mount Rushmore – For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to see Mount Rushmore in person. We finally had the chance a few years ago and this trip is still one of my favorites! The entire park had way more than I was expecting! It was really fun to walk along the trails through the Black Hills and see the monument from different vantage points. We also enjoyed the informational plaques along the hiking trails that gave more insight on the monument, the construction, and facts about each of the represented presidents!
Click here for my complete South Dakota travel guide!
As you can see, there are several different presidential sites across the US that are really interesting! If you love learning, if you love history, if you love this country, then I highly recommend checking some of these destinations off your list. President’s Day makes for a great, long weekend to explore some of these places and you might just learn something new at the same time! Happy travels, my friends!