With summer beginning to dwindle away, you may not be sure if vacation plans are still in order. You’ve likely put in your time at work and are trying to decide between staying at home to catch up on TV shows, or packing your bags for an exotic getaway.
Why not head off to a historic destination instead? If you want to venture out of state and like to explore the landscape of the nation, there are plenty of spots to see, whether you’re traveling solo, as a couple or as a family.
According to several bloggers and planners who have made their mark in traveling, many of these exciting places are closer than you think, while others may require travel throughout the country. All of them offer their own unique background story.
Of course, you might remember from history books the faces of the four U.S. presidents on the side of Mt. Rushmore. In event you can’t recall, they are: Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt. Wouldn’t it be great if you actually took a trip there and experienced it firsthand? Probably one of the top places on the list of historic sites, it makes for a great summer trip.
“It’s an inexpensive trip and I highly recommend it,” says solo traveler Elizabeth Avery, founder of SoloTrekker4U.
Mt. Rushmore isn’t the only thing to see here; you can also learn about Native American culture by visiting the nearby Crazy Horse Memorial. With a feel of the Old West, the area also has plenty of restaurants to grab a bite to eat and offers lodging as well.
“Since 1 million visitors a year visit Mt. Rushmore, the key is finding a place to stay. However, there are many large hotel chains in the area. Don’t wait until winter; plan ahead for lodging,” Avery recommends.
Deer Lodge, Montana
While Yellowstone National Park is revered as a must-see attraction, why not venture to a different gem located within the confines of Yellowstone and Glacier National Park? This small town in Montana is called Deer Lodge.
“This is a great place to stop over for a night on a national park road trip,” says Lacey Doboszenski, a travel enthusiast for Minnesota Yogini.
“I would recommend camping in the National Forest or at a nearby state park. Have your kids participate in the Junior Rancher program at Grant Kohrs National Historic Ranch,” Doboszenski said.
Camping is available on a first-come, first-served basis in the surrounding campgrounds.
Valley Forge and Gettysburg
Pennsylvania boasts some of the most historic places to visit. Not only can you learn about the nation’s rich history, but you can also find solace in one of its state parks.
According to the PA Tourism Office, Philadelphia (besides the Liberty Bell, of course), and its countryside, have some of the best stops.
Valley Forge National Park offers a “revolutionary” experience for all ages. Travel through the site where George Washington set up camp and get a glimpse of the harsh winter the Continental Army experienced. Or travel to Gettysburg, where critical battlefield sites like Little Round Top, give visitors a glimpse of the revered ground where Union and Confederate soldiers once clashed. Visit the David Wills House, where you will have a world-class museum experience, complete with the storytelling of Lincoln’s Gettysburg address.
“When it comes to historic places, Washington, D.C., shouldn’t be discounted. Every one of its Smithsonian Museums, including the National Zoo, are free,” states Lissa Poirot, editor-in-chief of Family Vacation Critic.
As a mother who is well-versed in family travel, she likes to trek often to historic sites.
“It costs nothing to walk along the Washington Mall and visit its multiple memorials. As part of the National Park Service, every monument and memorial has its own Junior Ranger program that kids can do with scavenger hunts, puzzles and games,” she adds.
Poirot recommends looking at visitor’s bureaus when planning last-minute trips, as they will typically offer special deals on attractions, restaurants and hotels. She also notes that discounts may be found on the internet.
“When planning last-minute, checking out sites like Groupon can help you find deals and cool things to do wherever you are going,” Poirot said.
If Midwest traveling is your thing, visit Mackinac Island in Michigan. Located in the northern part of Lake Huron, this site offers both fun activities and a tranquil escape.
“Mackinac Island is dotted with smaller Victorian-era hotels and B&Bs that are slightly more affordable” says Kris, a travel blogger at Nomad by Trade. “The island doesn’t allow motorized vehicles, so during summer, all transportation is by horse, bike or foot.” she says. The Grand Hotel, with its regal porch (all 660 feet of it) and historic decor, is an iconic place to stay. Camping options are nearby at Straits State Park St. Ignace. With its location right on the shore of Lake Huron, it gives you breathtaking views of the Mackinac Bridge.
If you’re ready to go and make memories you can cherish for a lifetime, plan a historic trip! There’s something for everyone of all ages to get into. Always remember to research the places you may want to travel to in order to get the best rates and experiences.
If so, subscribe now for tips on home, money, and life delivered straight to your inbox.