Historical vacations on the East Coast offer a unique opportunity to explore the roots of our nation’s history and to understand the people, places, and events that shaped it. These destinations are must-sees on any historical itinerary and offer chances to connect with information and experiences that educate and inspire for an immersive and enriching trip!
The “City of Brotherly Love” is known for many things; before the modern era of championship sports and cheesesteaks, Philadelphia was the “Cradle of Liberty.” If your familiarity with this deeply historic city extends only to your middle school social studies book, you and your family are missing the adventure that is Old Philadelphia.
Start your East Coast historical vacation with seminal American history sites like the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. Then, dive deep into pre-Revolutionary War colonial life with the lesser-known Fireman’s Hall and Mutter Museum. These hidden historical gems offer insight into the intricacies of independence-era life including public safety and medical treatment, respectively. Restaurants and overnight accommodations offer an opportunity for historic immersion with the distinctive Thomas Bond House boasting its original Georgian-style interior, or the recently updated Notary Hotel.
Washington, DC has been our capital since the 18th century and boasts colonial, Victorian, and modern-era history in spades. Even if you’ve visited DC before, sites in and around the National Mall are as timeless as they are breathtaking, including the venerated Lincoln Memorial, Washington Memorial, and Vietnam Veterans Memorial. If you decide to visit our national capital in early to mid-spring, you’re likely to witness these historic landmarks enveloped by the stunning natural beauty of DC’s world-famous cherry trees.
Hidden DC historic gems include the Smithsonian’s Post Office Museum and the Albert Einstein Memorial located in the gardens surrounding the National Institute of Science for a peek into some less heralded but no less important history. Plus, DC is perfect for multi-city vacations with multiple historic stops. Only 141 miles from Philadelphia and less than 50 miles from Baltimore, MD, families on an East Coast historic vacation to DC can plan an itinerary that satisfies their historical wanderlust. Each destination tells America’s unique story from a variety of perspectives for an unfiltered view on US history.
When you think of events and people pivotal to the nation’s founding, Boston is likely at the center of them all. This American city takes its role in our nation’s story seriously by cultivating a living history through its careful maintenance and refurbishment of historical landmarks. The result is a treasure trove of sites, structures, and artifacts dedicated to colonial America found in every corner of Boston.
You can see many of these compelling sites with a stroll on the Freedom Trail. There, you’ll be transported back in time to the individuals, locations, and inflection points that sparked the Revolutionary War. The impeccably preserved Paul Revere House is the oldest remaining structure in Boston, offering a captivating glimpse into the life and times of an individual whose gumption and bravery shaped the world as we know it today. Visit the Museum of Fine Arts for an unmatched collection of colonial-era art and artifacts including Revolutionary War portraits commissioned by the subjects themselves.
St. Augustine, FL
With its brick streets and eclectic architecture, St. Augustine offers travelers a unique historical vacation experience. A city founded on the promise of a Fountain of Youth, the former Spanish colony of St. Augustine has seen more than its share of historic events. The former Confederate city during the Civil War has evolved into a destination full of rich diversity in the form of its people, unique culture, and striking attractions that span multiple historical eras, including the legendary Fountain of Youth.
These characteristics make St. Augustine an educational opportunity as well as a recreational one. Learn about the region’s authentic pirate lore at The St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum dedicated to pirate artifacts, or explore the Gilded Age with antiques found at the Lightner Museum.