Perhaps now would be a good time to take one last family trip before returning to school this fall. I am a firm believer that learning should be fun and interesting; and what better way to bring history, geography, science and literature alive than to experience them first hand? And yes! Before you ask me, I do believe that education and fun are not mutually exclusive. Last summer I recommended some of America’s most historic cities, but here are few more destinations to consider when planning a fun, fact-packed vacation.
Commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War
2011 started a four-year commemoration of the Civil War’s 150th Anniversary. If you are a U.S. history buff or just want to tour some beautiful cities with a story behind them, then consider the battlefields of one of America’s most controversial wars. While 60% of the war was fought in Virginia, I recommend these cities for a trip well worth making.
Visit the spot where the first shot was fired at Fort Sumter in Charleston, SC. Much of the old plantation architecture has been wonderfully preserved and a visit to the city is a great way to further your understanding of pre-Civil War America. Charleston is a walking city and it is, by far, the best way to see it and appreciate its history, architecture and southern charm whether on your own or by guided tour. With great bed & breakfasts in the historic downtown, romance in Charleston is alive and well.
In downtown Atlanta, The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream that was instrumental in obtaining equal civil rights for all citizens of the United States, regardless of skin color. A visit to the Martin Luther King Jr. Historic Site is made up of several facilities, including the Visitor Center, Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, The King Center and the Birth Home. There are several exhibits that document the life and career of Martin Luther King Jr. as well as the progression of the Civil Rights Movement, which began around the centennial year of the Civil War.
The Lore of the Black Hills and Badlands of South Dakota
Breathtaking vistas, amazing outdoor recreation and Old West history populate the Black Hills and Badlands of South Dakota. With legendary names like Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull, Red Cloud, General George A. Custer, Wild Bill Hickok, and Calamity Jane; visitors young and old will be captivated by the stories and scenes from the time when this part of the country belonged to the Sioux Indians, the gold rush and the railroad expansion. And don’t forget to see the homestead of Laura Ingalls Wilder, the famed Little House on the Prairie author.
It’s still a secret that the second-longest cave in the world, Jewel Cave, is in the Black Hills. The region notably enjoys Mount Rushmore, one of America’s most inspiring symbols of democracy. And, modern day entertainment options include six theme and amusement parks.
Throughout Philadelphia, you can learn about the founding of America, the history of the original Quaker colony, and even get a tour by “Benjamin Franklin” himself. Rivaled only to Boston, Philadelphia is home to many national historical sites that relate to 18th century and revolutionary America such as the Liberty Bell, the Betsy Ross house and Independence Hall. Additionally the city has more public art than any other U.S. city.
Next week, I’ll share my tips for preparing a child for travel whether by road, air or sea. Are you planning on taking any historical vacations this year?