Best U.S. Historical Places to Visit with Kids or Grandkids

Family with kids travel to Washington DC with Jefferson Memorial in background

Looking for the best places to travel with kids?

You love spending quality time with your grandkids, and this year you’re committed to planning a meaningful family trip that everyone will enjoy. Deciding on a destination that not only appeals to your entire family but also provides an opportunity to interact and connect doesn’t have to be difficult. Multigenerational families are traveling together now more than ever, and visiting historical places in the U.S. continues to be a favorite vacation trend—especially for grandparents wanting to experience a fun yet educational travel experience with their grandkids.

While traveling with kids to historical attractions, older adults can share perspectives that may spark healthy curiosity in younger family members. And perhaps listening to what your grandkids have learned in school may refresh your memory and offer up new ways of looking back at history. Trips are transformational, and developing an appreciation for the past through engaging experiences can be impactful and last a lifetime.

Best Historical Places to Travel with Kids

The U.S. has many historical vacation destinations to choose from, and these east coast favor-ites will leave a lasting impression on your family for years to come. Starting from the North East and venturing into the Mid-Atlantic region, we’ve rounded up five of the top family-friendly, history-rich destinations in the U.S. for you to consider.

Plymouth, MA
A top choice for history buffs, America’s Hometown of Plymouth, MA, is a 45-minute drive south of Boston. Best known for Plymouth Rock, the landing place of the Pilgrims in 1620, this quaint coastal town has plenty of family-friendly attractions making it a top choice when traveling with kids.

Bonus: Cape Cod is only a 15-minute drive away, where you can take a ferry to the ever famous Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. 

Must-see historical landmarks: Plimoth Plantation 17th Century Village, National Monument to the Forefathers, and of course Plymouth Rock (Pilgrim Memorial State Park)

Philadelphia, PA
Rooted in rich historical heritage, Philadelphia hosts millions of visitors each year and is undoubt-edly one of the most important historical cities in the U.S. Independence Hall, the birthplace of a once new republic, is a primary historical attraction. But the city’s lively spirit of all things Americana invites tourists to explore beyond its notable landmarks.

Must-see historical landmarks: Independence Hall, Liberty Bell Center, National Constitution Center, Museum of the American Revolution, Benjamin Franklin Museum, and the Betsy Ross House

Gettysburg, PA
About a two-hour drive from Philadelphia, Gettysburg is the most visited American Civil War site. This history-focused destination holds an essential significance in U.S. history, and visitors get a glimpse into the three-day battle and where Lincoln gave his famous Gettysburg Address in 1863. For live battleground reenactments, visit during the first week of July. 

Must-see historical landmarks: Gettysburg Battlefield, Gettysburg National Military Park, Ei-senhower National Historic Site, and the Jennie Wade House

Also read: Best 4th of July Events Worth Traveling to See

Washington, D.C.
Landmark and museum-filled, the Nation’s Capital is a historical hub that hosts repeat visitors who know there’s always more to see and do. A family and budget-friendly highlight: The Smithsonian Institution consortium of museums is the largest of its kind in the world, and is free. With so many easily accessible sightseeing opportunities, the District remains at the top of the list of best places to travel with kids—especially when aiming to see as many historical places as possible in one city. In Springtime, walk around the Tidal Basin for the National Cherry Blossom festival—all while strolling past memorial sculptures of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Franklin D. Roosevelt and more. 

Must-see historical landmarks: Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, The Declaration of Independence and the White House

Williamsburg, VA
Less than three hours by car from Washington, DC, Williamsburg, VA was founded in 1632 and was Virginia’s political epicenter into the American Revolution. Kid-friendly and family-centric, Co-lonial Williamsburg is a historical gateway into early Colonial American life. You’ll also want to consider visiting Historic Jamestowne, the first permanent English settlement in North America, 15 minutes away. 

Must-see historical landmarks: Williamsburg Historic District (Colonial Williamsburg), Jamestown Colony, Governor’s Palace, and Bassett Hall

Tips for Older Adults Traveling with Grandchildren

History-focused trips filled with discoveries are a chance for your family to learn together—an enrichment opportunity where everyone may just learn a thing or two missed in history class. But as you know, traveling with kids can take some extra planning. Here are a few tips for multigenerational families traveling together:

  • Involve school-aged children in your travel planning process, and plan each day strategically (for example, if you don’t want to spend your entire day walking, perhaps booking a bus tour around Washington, DC would be a better option) to ensure a comfortable vacation. See also: Tips for Planning a Smooth Family Trip.
  • If you're a grandparent traveling with your grandkids, be sure you have proper documentation when taking them on a trip. This free travel consent form creator from Law Depot is helpful.
  • Take advantage of travel insurance and other services that are included. General Global Assistance travel insurance plans are especially helpful for families as our plans can insure up to 10 travelers on one plan. Additionally, our concierge services that are included with all plans can assist you with recommendations, reservations and more.

Read more:
• Why Domestic Travelers Should Consider Travel Protection
• Family Vacation Ideas for Summer and Beyond

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