We are pretty crazy about beers, burgers, and barbecue here in the U.S., but it seems fitting at this time of the year to consider some of the other incredible things our nation has to offer. With Fourth of July falling this weekend, there is no better time to start planning a vacation to some of America’s most patriotic sites.
Don’t let the prospect of learning on vacation give you pause: Get to know the intimate truth behind why citizens hold this nation so dear. And what better way to relive this nation’s historical glory than to live it yourself?
Do yourself a favor – leave the history books at home, because it’s your turn to get out there and live it!
1. Washington, D.C.
Any list attempting to capture the cultural significance of our nation’s capital would be exhaustive, to writer and reader alike. Time makes a solid and condensed effort, pointing visitors to national landmarks such as the U.S. Capitol, the National Mall, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Revisiting your nation’s history would be incomplete without quick trips to sites like the White House — which has housed all of the U.S. Presidents since John Adams. Also be sure to pay tribute to many of our nation’s fallen heroes at the nearby Arlington National Cemetery.
If you have the time, cap the trip with a stop at Ford’s Theatre, the site of one of the most symbolic political events in our nation’s history: the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.
Being a former capital of the United States, Philadelphia played an essential role in the country’s formation and subsequent governmental policymaking. Today, visitors can check out these historical highlights in Philadelphia’s Old City district. See Independence Hall—the National Park Service’s designated “birthplace of America”—where, on July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was signed (an event signaled by the ringing of what we now call the Liberty Bell, located just across the street); Independence Hall was also the site of the drafting and signing of the U.S. Constitution in 1787. It doesn’t get more historical than that!
Established in 1630, Boston is one of the oldest cities in the United States and played a central role in the nation’s Revolutionary War. A number of the Revolution’s most instrumental events took place in or around Boston, including (but not limited to): the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, Paul Revere’s legendary midnight ride, and the battles of Lexington and Concord.
Visitors to Boston can take in the sites and learn more about the port city’s role in achieving U.S. independence with a walk or tour through the 2.5-mile Freedom Trail through the city.
4. Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia
Due to its interactive nature, Williamsburg continues to be an immensely popular destination for those seeking to learn more about our nation’s storied past. Considered a “living-history museum,” this designated Historic Area is comprised of buildings dating back from 1699-1780 (according to the site’s official webpage) coupled with a few more recent reconstructions.
What make Williamsburg unique are the living exhibits: a group of village re-enactors interpret and exhibit the common colonial way of life, down to the most minute detail. Visitors are encouraged to look on and interact with the villagers, granting tourists a glimpse into daily life prior to our nation’s Independence from British rule.
The Gettysburg Battlefield is billed by the National Park Service as the site of our Civil War’s bloodiest battle. This Battle represented a turning point in our nation’s history: The deadly meeting between the Union and Confederate Armies here in 1963 ultimately drove the Union Army to victory in War.
It was here in that President Lincoln delivered his unforgettable Gettysburg Address, which recapitulated the vision of our nation’s Founding Fathers, while also honoring those who had fallen in the fight.