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25 Must-See American Historic Destinations Kids Will Love

Plan a trip this year to a destination where you and the family can learn a historical fact or two … or even a few! These locations across America are rich with history that makes our country what it is today. Visit Plymouth and Colonial Williamsburg to get a taste of what it must have been like to first settle here from England. Visit the Dinosaur Diamond Prehistoric Highway to really get a look back in time. This list even has top destinations to pick up a bit of fun pirate history and a great place to learn all about animal history. These destinations are exciting, all while lending the kids a glimpse of how our country was shaped.

Check out the 25 Must-See Historic Destinations for Kids here…

  • 25 Must-See Historic Destinations for Kids 1 of 26
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    Click through to see them all...

  • Oahu, Hawaii 2 of 26
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    Visit Pearl Harbor. There are five historic sites honoring the events that occured December 7, 1941. The family can explore the USS Arizona Memorial, Battleship Missouri Memorial, USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park, Pacific Aviation Museum and USS Oklahoma Memorial.
    Photo via Wikimedia.

  • Shiloh, TN 3 of 26
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    Check out the Shiloh National Military Park. The battle that took place here was the turning point in the Civil War; it was one of the bloodiest battles of all, with up to 23,746 casualties. Let the kids become your guide by making them part of the Junior Ranger Program here.
    Photo via Commons. Wikimedia.

  • Cody, WY 4 of 26
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    Check out the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, also know as the "Smithsonian of the West." Children can learn about geothermals of the world, Buffalo Bill, Native Americans, and early ranching.
    Photo via Commons.wikimedia.

  • Jamestown Museum, VA 5 of 26
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    This is great place to visit -- it's where the United States of America got its start. Check out the Jamestown Museum to see how the earliest resident community was developed, view early English ships, and scope out a recreated Powhatan Indian Village.
    Photo via Commons.Wikimedia.

  • Philadelphia, PA 6 of 26
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    Philadelphia is home to so many historic centers including Carpenters' Hall (the meeting place of The First Continental Congress), the country's first hospital, and Independence Hall. Consider taking the audio walking tour to learn about all the city's historic sites, many of which your kids may have learned about in school and will be excited to see in person. Afterwards, show the kids the birthplace of the American flag at the Betsy Ross House and hunt for the crack on the Liberty Bell.
    Photo via: Commons.Wikimedia.

  • San Francisco, CA 7 of 26
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    Not only is San Francisco beautiful, but it's home to a great part of American history. Check out the famous Golden Gate Bridge, take a stroll around Pier 33 and the wharf. Take the kids to the Musee Mecanique on Pier 45 to see a collection of historical arcade games. Afterwards, head on the ferry for a real spook at Alcatraz prison. 
    Photo via Commons.Wikimedia.

  • Williamsburg, VA 8 of 26
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    Take the kids to visit a recreated 18th century town. They can explore and hear the stories that led to the fight for our nation's independence, while getting a taste of what it would have been like to be a kid at the time. Kids can enjoy fun activities like training to be a Revolutionary War soldier, or going as a family to evening events with music and dancing.
    Photo via Commons.Wikimedia.

  • Yorktown, VA 9 of 26
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    Take the kids to see where the British surrendered to America to end the Revolutionary War in Yorktown -- a great part of US history. You can start your tour by watching an introductory video and then go as a family to walk the grounds. Pick up colonial clothes for the kids and let them interact with the living museum.
    Photo via: Commons. Wikimedia.

  • Black Hills, South Dakota 10 of 26
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    Explore a gold rush town, Mt. Rushmore National Memorial, and recreated Native American powwows at the Black Hills and Badlands in South Dakota. I took my daughter here last summer, and we had the time of our lives. Seeing all the bison was one of her favorite parts. 
    Photo via: Commons. Wikimedia.

  • Washington D.C. 11 of 26
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    There is so much history in Washington D.C. Take a walk through the National Archives, and explore the original US Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence. Visit Smithsonian Institute, Ford's Theater (the site of Lincoln's assassination), and of course, The White House. You can also plan a picnic with the kids at the National Mall or go for a bike ride around town. 
    Photo via: Commons.Wikimedia.

  • Santa Fe, New Mexico 12 of 26
    Santa_Fe,_New_Mexico_Montage_1

    It's known as the birthplace of the Atomic Age, the first place to detonate the atomic bomb. Take a step back in time with the kids by riding a vintage train into the high desert. Show them history up close at the New Mexico History Museum. Top off the trip with a view from above in a hot air balloon ride.
    Photo via: Commons.Wikimedia.

  • Natchez, Mississippi 13 of 26
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    Check out this National Parkway that commemorates the historic Old Natchez Trace. This historic road extends 444 miles long from Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee. It was used as a border between the major Native American nations, the Chickasaw and Choctaw, and later President Thomas Jefferson turned it into a national postal road. It was one of the most significant roads in the Southwest. You can pull over as a family and enjoy lunch under the trees, just as people would have done in the past.
    Photo via: Commons. Wikimedia.

  • New York City, NY 14 of 26
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    There is so much history in New York. The children can search for their ancestors at Ellis Island Immigration Museum, explore The American Museum of Natural History (little animal lovers will especially enjoy this destination), and experience the energy of the city.
    Photo via: Commons. Wikimedia.

  • Dinosaur Diamond Prehistoric Highway, Utah and Colorado 15 of 26
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    Get your history outdoors by taking a trip down the Dinosaur Diamond Prehistoric Highway. This highway runs through several national parks and forests filled with clues about our past. Visit the Dinosaur National Monument to see real dinosaur bones, and learn how the earth has moved through centuries by checking out the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area, Canyonlands National Park, and Arches National Park, among many others. You can take the kids to watch fossils being uncovered daily at The Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry.
    Photo via: Commons.Wikimedia.

  • Sacramento, CA 16 of 26
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    Head to Sacramento, California to learn about the Gold Rush at Sutter's Fort. Kids can even pan for gold at the Marshall Gold Discovery Historic Park. Check out the California State Indian Museum, State Capital, and Old Sacramento Historic Park, too.
    Photo via: Commons.Wikimedia.

  • Oak Ridge, TN 17 of 26
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    Oak Ridge was redeveloped in the '40s specifically for The Manhattan Project to build the first atomic weapons.  Find out where it all began here. You can also take the kids to Clinton, Tennesse to see the first integrated public high school and the Museum of Appalachia
    Find out more at Commons.Wikimedia.

  • Gettysburg, PA 18 of 26
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    Visit the Gettysburg National Military Park to learn about the start and finish of The Battle of Gettysburg. At the National Park Museum, children can see interactive exhibits, presentations, and relics of the battle.
    Photo via: Commons.wikimedia.

  • Plymouth, Massachusetts 19 of 26
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    Travel back to when the Pilgrims first settled in Plymouth. Tour the Mayflower II and learn history while exploring a Pilgrim village. Don't forget to also stop by the Wampanoag Homesite where the Wampanoag people will show you their traditional clothing and get the kids involved in ancient tribal games.
    Find out more at Commons.Wikimedia.

  • Houston, TX 20 of 26
    800px-Johnson_Space_Center_Aerial

    Houston is the home for the official visitor center of Johnson Space Center. Learn the history of man in space and you can even takes the kids to enjoy lunch with a real astronaut.
    Photo via: Commons.Wikimedia.

  • Atlanta, GA 21 of 26
    461px-Martin_Luther_King_Jr_with_medallion_NYWTS

    Located in downtown Atlanta is the Martin Luther Historic Site. Learn about Martin Luther King, Jr.'s life from his birthplace to his gravesite. Children can check out the "Children of Courage" exhibit to learn the stories about children of the Civil Rights Movement.
    Photo via: Commons.Wikimedia.

  • San Antonio, TX 22 of 26
    800px-Alamo_pano

    Take a trip to The Alamo in San Antonio, Texas. Learn all about the first Spanish Mission and the important Battle of the Alamo in 1836 through artifacts. Get the kids outdoors by taking a walk through the Alamo Gardens. 
    Photo via: Commons. Wikimedia.

  • St. Augustine, FL 23 of 26
    800px-Jolly-roger.svg

    This town is the only place in the world to have a real, authentic Pirate Treasure Chest, a Jolly Roger flag, and an original wanted poster for Pirate Henry Every. Kids can bring their pirate play to life by seeing these famous artifacts.
    Photo via: Commons.Wikimedia

  • San Diego Zoo, CA 24 of 26
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    Take the children to the San Diego Zoo. This zoo is home to over 3700 rare and endangered species. Learn the history and origins of all these animals and take a trip to the beach after. 
    Photo via: Commons.Wikimedia

  • Antelope Island, UT 25 of 26
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    There is much to learn at the Antelope Island State Park located in the Great Salt Lake. Discover the wildlife that even includes 600 bison roaming the land. You and the family can take hikes through the park and see what it would have been like to live here in the 1800s at the Fielding Garr Ranch House.
    Photo via: Commons.Wikimedia.

  • Boston, Massachusetts 26 of 26
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    Visit Fenway Park, the Major League's oldest stadium, perfect for little sports fans. Follow the Freedom Trail to see Paul Revere's historic ride, and head on a Duck Tour that goes from land to water to show the most famous sights of the city. Don't get wet!
    Photo via: Commons.Wikimedia.

Jacinda Boneau is a fabric designer and founding co-editor at Pretty Prudent, the premier design and lifestyle blog providing inspiration and instruction to help anyone create beautiful things, food, and experiences for their friends and family.

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