Happy Independence Day!
Each year on July 4th, we celebrate the birth of the United States of America and give special recognition to our history and the freedoms that we enjoy in this great nation. Independence Day is my favorite holiday, so today I’m sharing our Top 10 Patriotic Places in the United States.
Katie or I have personally visited each of these patriotic places, and can certify that there is no better way for families to learn about our great nation first hand. And, nearly all of these destinations offer fun hands-on activities and wide open spaces where children can act like children.
Here is our list of the best patriotic places for families in the United States.
The United States was born at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This is where representatives of the 13 colonies debated and signed the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America. The Liberty Bell and other important historical sites and museums are also located at Independence National Historic Park.
Independence Park is located in downtown Philadelphia. Tours are required for Independence Hall. Pick up a free ticket from the Ranger Desk at the visitor center. Arrive early, expect security screenings, and plan to enjoy other park sites, like the Liberty Bell, before and after your tour.
Read our full post about visiting Independence National Historic Park here.
Statue of Liberty
Give me your tired, your poor,Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
Visitors to the Statue of Liberty get their first up-close look by boat, as millions of immigrants hoping for a better life have done before. Once on Liberty Island, families can learn about the Statue of Liberty through the Junior Ranger program and enjoy great views of Lower Manhattan.
Read our full post about visiting the Statue of Liberty National Monument here.
Washington D.C. is a city of monuments to the great people who helped found and build our nation. I could fill this post with those monuments alone – and probably will write that post another time.
The Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial and Lincoln Memorial are must-see destinations for any visitor to Washington D.C. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Marine Corps War Memorial (Iwo Jima), National World War II Memorial are moving tributes to those who gave much and sacrificed all. There are so many more.
Katie recommends touring the Washington D.C. monuments by night. Read our full post about it here.
Our national anthem The Star Spangled Banner was written at Fort McHenry in Maryland. Francis Scott Key penned the words to the anthem after seeing the American flag fly in victory over the fort after a fierce all-night battle against the English navy.
The visitor center and grounds of Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine are interactive and family-friendly. You can bring your own U.S. flag to fly over Fort McHenry, or purchase a certified Star Spangled Banner from the gift shop.
Read our full post about visiting Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine here.
Photos cannot do justice to the awe of seeing Mount Rushmore in person. Located in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota, Mount Rushmore is an engineering feat dedicated to four of our greatest U.S. Presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.
There is a lot more to do at Mount Rushmore National Memorial than just look at the monument. Check out the visitor center, Presidential Trail, Indian Heritage Village and Artist’s Studio and night programs too. Be sure to pick up a FREE Junior Ranger booklet for kids at the Ranger Desk early in your visit.
Read our full post about visiting Mount Rushmore National Memorial here.
Mount Vernon was the beloved home of George Washington and his family. It is located on the banks of the Potomac River in Virginia, near Washington D.C. As General of the armies that fought for American independence, and First President of the United States of America, George Washington truly earned the title “Father of our Country.” However, his heart was always at Mount Vernon.
Katie lives near Washington D.C. and says that Mount Vernon is a must-see destination, with fun activities for families 365 days a year. In addition to the historic home, you’ll find an interactive museum, demonstrations, holiday celebrations and plenty of outdoor space for families to roam.
Read our full post about visiting George Washington’s Mount Vernon here.
Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington National Cemetery near Washington D.C. is the final resting place of many important figures in U.S. history and thousands of soldiers who lost their lives in defense of our great nation. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the graves of John, Jacqueline and Robert Kennedy, and Arlington House – former home of Robert E. Lee – are among the highlights of this important patriotic site.
This is the only destination on this list where children should not run around the grounds and use “outdoor” voices, so be sure to talk to young children about respect for cemeteries before visiting.
Read our full post about visiting Arlington National Cemetery here.
The United States Capitol in Washington D.C. is a living monument to our nation. The U.S. Capitol houses the United States Senate and House of Representatives, who are elected by the people of their respective states, and make the laws that govern our country.
There are many interesting things to see at the U.S. Capitol, in addition to our government at work. If you are planning a trip to Washington D.C., a U.S. Capitol Tour is the best way to visit this iconic building.
Read our full post about visiting the U.S. Capitol here.
Fort Ticonderoga is important because it was the site of the first American victory in the Revolutionary War. In May 1775, the Americans were scrappy underdogs, and badly needed artillery and a boost in morale. In the middle of a night, Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold launched a surprise attack on Fort Ticonderoga with fewer than 100 men, and took the fort without shedding a drop of blood.
Fort Ticonderoga dates back to the French-Indian War and has had a long and colorful history. Each year, Fort Ticonderoga focuses on a single year of that history, and plans tours, demonstrations and activities around it. Fort Ticonderoga is located on Lake Champlain in Ticonderoga, New York, near the Vermont border.
Read our full post about visiting Fort Ticonderoga here.
The history of the United States of America begins in Jamestown, where English colonists established the first permanent settlement on American soil. Jamestown was not the first English settlement in the original 13 colonies, but it was the first that lasted. Its success led to many more.
Jamestown Settlement is located in Virginia near Colonial Williamsburg and both are full of fun things for families to do. Colonial Williamsburg is a great place to get a taste of what it was like to live in the Revolutionary War era. Choose from a variety of re-enactments, tours and hands-on activities for families.
Read our full post about visiting Jamestown Settlement here.
Have you visited any of our Top 10 Patriotic Places?
Please share your experience and tips in the comments!