Step Back in Time
Jul 02, 2018 10:46AM ● Published by Maleesa Johnson
This summer, take a deep dive into United States history by visiting cities and sites that still emanate days past. Naturally, Washington D.C. is probably one the first places that comes to mind. However, we decided to give you a mixture of places that serve to rehash a plethora of different eras. Plus, you can trick your kids into getting some summertime education. Fun learning experiences are truly the way to go when school is out!
The beauty of Charleston, South Carolina, is that you get a sampling of multiple different eras in U.S. history. Most notably, the Civil War had a large impact on the city. Sites such as Fort Sumter are evidence of that. In fact, the first shots of the war were fired there on April 12, 1861. The fort is open for tours and incredibly affordable, with adult passes priced at $3 and children admitted for free. Get a glimpse of life before the war by checking out Magnolia Plantation. It boasts one of the nation’s largest collections of azaleas and camellias, making it a beautiful stop for botanists and history buffs alike. Much like New Orleans, Charleston is home to a French Quarter. In it, The Dock Street Theatre stands, despite having to be rebuilt after the Great Fire of 1740. First opening in 1736, the theatre is on the National Register of Historic Places as the first building in the U.S. designed for theatrical use. There is something for every member of your family in Charleston, and that’s just the historical side. CharlestonCVB.com
We’re taking you way off the beaten path for this one. Unsurprisingly, most people forget that Alaska had a part in World War II. However, control of Alaska’s Aleutian Islands during the war was crucial to transportation in the Pacific Ocean. The Japanese army knew this and occupied two of the islands in June of 1942. There are plenty of historical sites along the island chain, but it takes some substantial effort (read: ferries and float planes). If you’re already in Anchorage, we have a more attainable WWII site to visit.
One town away, in Seward, Alaska, lies the trailhead to Caines Head Coastal Trail, which leads to abandoned U.S. military Fort McGilvray. The fort is perched 650 feet above Resurrection Bay. When we said more attainable, that still didn’t mean easy. This trial will require you to keep good track of the tides, as a significant stretch will be completely underwater for most of the day. It’s a tight window, but it’s worth it.
Once you make it to the bunkers, you’re free to walk in, on and through them. Nothing is roped off, and you are free to have a hands-on history lesson. It’s a 14-mile hike one way, so it may not be the best for young children. Alaska.org/detail/caines-head-trail
This one shouldn’t surprise anyone. Philadelphia is steeped in history from our nation’s founding days. While the Liberty Bell is still there – spoiler alert, it’s cracked – we had some other stops in mind. Perhaps the most popular historical attraction in Philadelphia is definitely worth elbowing your way through a crowd for. Independence Hall, completed in 1753, is where Declaration of Independence was signed and the U.S. Constitution was debated and adopted. It’s like seeing “Hamilton” without paying the Broadway prices. Speaking of “Hamilton,” are you ready to wave Betsy Ross’ flag higher? Go visit her home and see where the magic was stitched together. The tour is interactive and perfect for kiddos. Reserve an afternoon to immerse yourself in the African American History Museum. Founded in 1976, the museum is the first museum funded and built by a municipality to help preserve, interpret and exhibit the heritage of African Americans. It features a rotating schedule of exhibitions, so check the schedule before your trip. Tickets are $14 for adults and $10 for children, making it an affordable, educational day trip whenever you’re in Philly. VisitPhilly.com