Historical Vacations

Destinations: Toronto, Montréal, London, Beijing, Boston, Rome, Philadelphia

Activities: Arts and Entertainment, Eat, Hiking, Museums, Sightseeing, Sleep

You might think getting the family fired up for a “historical vacation” is a difficult task. However, with the right planning, trips to historical sites can be action-packed and engaging. Plus, your vacation will have a sense of purpose, and you’ll feel good about educating the kids—or just yourself—along the way.

The Lewis and Clark Trail provides a goldmine of cross-country vacation ideas, with hiking, camping and rafting as just a few of the options. Other historical vacations include Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia; Machu Picchu in Peru, with its ancient mystery and culture; the ruins of ancient Rome; or the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas.

The important thing is to instill a sense of historical importance when you visit these sites. Children love imagining battles and historic events, or seeing them reenacted, and will appreciate visuals to go along with textbook knowledge. Wherever you go, chances are you’ll feel satisfied—and smart—at the end of your historical vacation.


Articles About Historical Vacations

History and Modern Delights in Alexandria

Take a day trip from Washington, D.C., to Alexandria, which offers charming historical landmarks and popular boutique shopping.

Historic Atlanta: From Civil War to Civil Rights

Teach your kids, and yourself, about Atlanta’s role in American history, as well as in the classic film “Gone With the Wind.”

Beijing’s Ancient and Modern Family-Friendly Attractions

Beijing sights offer cultural insights from old to new, from historical sites to futuristic Olympics venues.

Beijing’s Top 10 Sights

There are plenty of additional historic and cultural attractions worth your while, but if visiting Beijing for the first time, here are 10 must-see sights to get you on your way.

Jungle Lodges Along Belize’s Maya Trail

Experience rural Belize and explore ancient Mayan ruins when you stay at these top jungle lodges.

Belize’s Maya Trail

Explore Mayan civilization on your Belize vacation with tours to ancient ruins like Caracol, Lamanai and Altun Ha.

Following Boston’s Freedom Trail

Get local expert tips on how to make the most of your tour to these 16 historic sites that trace America’s colonial roots.

Boston Travel Planning by Neighborhood

Our local expert shares her tips to help you plan your vacation to Beantown and discover its many wonderful historic neighborhoods.

Cape Town Township Tours With Teens

One family’s visit to Langa, a black township in Cape Town, offered an education in cultural exchange.

Touring Historic Charleston

Pre-Revolutionary War homes and sprawling antebellum plantations highlight this popular historical destination in South Carolina.

Obama’s Chicago: Seven Sites in the City

Visit historical locations and personal favorites of the 44th president in his hometown of Chicago.

Washington, D.C., College Visit Guide

Explore the diverse neighborhoods of D.C. during your college visit.

Nile Cruises: In the Footsteps of Pharoahs

Discover Egypt’s historic waterway in all its grandeur with a cruise along the world-famous Nile River.

Irish Enchantment: Dublin’s Top Attractions

Historical landmarks, world-class museums, incomparable pubs and abundant shopping are just a few of the draws in this capital city.

10 Historical Events Across America

From the Colonial East to the Wild West, step back in time at some famous—and not-so-famous—destinations.

Back in Time in Chesapeake Bay

Tour the tiny, coastal villages of Chesapeake Bay for a glimpse of the past and a refreshing respite from the modern metropolis.

Historic Mansions of Westchester County

Tour Westchester’s grand old estates, including the former homes of Nelson D. Rockefeller and Washington Irving.

Buddha’s Birthday Party in Lumbini, Nepal

Visit Buddha’s birthplace to observe—or partake in—holy rituals and one raucous celebration in honor of third-century religious figure, Gautama.

Outdoor Family Adventures on Mackinac Island

Head to Mackinac Island for famous fudge, historic forts and the great outdoors.

Join the Crowds on Inauguration Day

Insider advice from a former White House staffer for planning your trip to Washington, D.C., to attend the inauguration of the 44th U.S. President, Barack Obama.

Salute the Troops of Present and Past

Visit these famous U.S. war memorials this Veterans Day to honor American soldiers and learn about the history of this important holiday.

Taking it Easy in Winslow, Arizona

The town made famous by a popular Eagles song transformed Winslow, Ariz., from merely lyrics to a major tourist destination.

Gettysburg Family Vacation

Tour the famous battlefield and stand in the spot where President Lincoln gave the “Gettysburg Address.”

Grand Canyon, From Rim to Rim

Read our tips for taking in the best vistas and historic sites of this national treasure, one of the seven wonders of the natural world.

Hot in Havana

Havana has so much more than old cars, listening to wizened musicians play live music and drinking rum.

Hilton Head Island’s Gullah Culture and History

Learn about this African-influenced culture and the people who have helped preserve it in the Carolina Sea Islands.

Accolades for Abe

Lincoln bicentennial exhibitions, events and activities honoring the 16th President of the United States.

In the Heart of Honolulu’s Chinatown

Let your taste buds lead the way. Experience Honolulu’s eclectic Chinese-inspired culinary scene and open-air markets that define this culturally diverse neighborhood.

6 Family Friendly Day Trips From London

London’s great, but why not experience the rest of England—even if only for a day.

Exploring London

A practical travel guide by our local expert to a historic city with modern verve.

Oxford Excursion

This famous university town is a welcome respite from hectic London and a great place to teach the kids a history lesson or two.

Top Things to Do on Martha’s Vineyard

From New England history to maritime culture to classic Atlantic beaches—what not to miss during your vacation to this idyllic, historic island.

Mount Rushmore Puts a Fresh Face on History

The iconic monument is a work of art, a symbol of American freedom and a lesson in our country’s history.

Digging History on a Naples Vacation

From Pompeii to Herculaneum, step back in time at the several archaeological sites near the city.

9 Alternative New York Attractions

Check out these lesser-known New York sightseeing gems, from Manhattan’s last natural salt marsh and 18th century farmhouses to a remote Buddhist museum.

Hawaiian History for the Kids

Learn about Hawaii and explore Oahu’s natural wonders on these affordable kid-friendly excursions.

Day Tripping to Colonia, Uruguay

Need a break from bustling Buenos Aires? Consider a jaunt across the Rio de la Plata to historic Colonia del Sacramento.

Days and (K)nights of Malta

Discover this tiny Mediterranean island nation, which offers legendary history, luxurious hotels and beautiful beaches.

Paris: Charming City With Historical Beauty

The French capital lives up to its hype, with world-class museums, restaurants, shopping and historical sites. Check out our local expert’s recommended favorites.

Québec: North America’s European City

From its historical sites and enclosing wall to its French-influenced culture and cuisine, Québec City offers enticing options for all ages.

Rome: Catacombs For Kids

Everyone has heard of the catacombs, but these early Christian tombs are only the beginning of Rome’s subterranean world.

Rome: Italy’s Grand Museum

From the toppled columns of the Forum to Vatican City to the cobblestone streets of Trastevere, Rome has something to appeal to everyone.

San Antonio’s Mission Trail

After seeing the Alamo, head to nearby Missions National Park to see four additional historic Spanish missions, all still active churches.

San Antonio: There’s More to Remember Than the Alamo

Explore this Southwestern city beyond the famous Alamo. Don’t miss the San Antonio River Walk, its Tex-Mex culture, the Fiesta festival and more.

Outdoor Family Fun Near San Diego

San Diego isn’t just about surfing and Legoland. There are plenty of other outdoor adventures sure to excite the entire family—and they’re all less than an hour from the city.

Savannah Lodging: Historic, Retro and Boutique

Choose from historic inns to stylish, modern boutique hotels when you stay in Savannah.

The Idyllic Islands of Georgia

Georgia’s historic coastal islands offer everything from haute to honky-tonk and a pristine national seashore.

Savannah Art and Architecture: A Fusion of Past and Present

Savannah’s remarkably well-preserved historical buildings and celebrated contemporary arts scene offer an elegant feast for the eyes.

A Stroll Through Savannah

Take in some Southern charm and explore the history and architectural treasures on a specialized Savannah sightseeing walking tour.

Savannah’s Southern Charm and Modern Marvels

Learn about this fine U.S. colonial city’s beautiful historical sites as well as its cutting-edge contemporary attractions.

Nelson Mandela’s Madiba Trail

Visit key sites in Nelson Mandela life, from his youth to his freedom from jail.

Ybor City: Tampa’s Cuban Cultural Community

Visit Tampa’s Latin quarter for a taste of Cuban cuisine, entertainment and history.

Hiking Along the Great Wall of China

One teen hikes the Great Wall on her family vacation and takes a memorable zip-line flight off its edge.

Family Vacation Savings, Theme Park Passes, Free Gas Cards

Williamsburg theme park passes and hotel discount package, free Orlando and San Francisco hotel gas card offers, Bahamas Wyndham Nassau resort discount.

Hudson 400: Henry Hudson’s Historic Voyage

It’s been four centuries since this Dutch explorer discovered the Hudson River. Check out the events slated for the year-long celebrations throughout New York State.

Escape to the U.S. Virgin Islands

Chill on gorgeous beaches, ply Caribbean waters, tour historic attractions and shop duty-free on St. Croix, St. Thomas and St. John—while leaving your passport at home.

Washington, D.C., Insider Travel Planning Tips

Insider info from our local expert on where to go and what to see on your next trip to D.C.

History Lessons at D.C. Museums and Memorials

Don’t know which Washington museums are best for kids from tykes to teens? Read here for age-appropriate recommendations.

Historic Presidential Attractions in D.C. Beyond the White House

With the upcoming inauguration, learn about the history and lives of our previous commanders in chief by checking out these top presidential attractions in Washington, D.C.

Time Travel to Colonial Williamsburg

Retrace U.S. colonial history on your next vacation to Williamsburg, Virginia.

Family Stays at Colonial Williamsburg Guesthouses

Complete your authentic family vacation to Williamsburg with an overnighter at one of 26 historic guesthouses.

Colonial Dining in Williamsburg

Treat the kids to an 18th century dining experience in a traditional colonial-style restaurant in Williamsburg.

Jamestown: North America’s First English Colony

When visiting nearby Colonial Williamsburg, take a break from the crowds and plan a day trip to this historic settlement.

Hitting the Historic Road

Learn about the original 13 colonies or factoids about each of the 50 U.S. states with these two travel books, one geared for adults, the other for kids.

Las Vegas Guides and Ghosts

Discover “Top 5” lists of things to do in Vegas or read up on haunted historic sites to catch a glimpse of ghosts, including Elvis, lurking around Sin City.

Tired of the Mudslinging? Discover D.C. for Yourself

Two Washington guidebooks highlight capital attractions in an interactive format for kids.

Happy Independence Day!

Our Fourth of July coverage tackles all things Americana: from Colonial Williamsburg and historic Mt. Rushmore to traditonal U.S. summer vacation destinations and kitschy festivals.

Let the Beijing Games Begin

Old meets new, East meets West in this ancient city that has been transforming itself for the XXIX Olympiad, just a week away.