Make your next trip an educational one! If you are someone who just loves history, then you are probably aware that it goes hand in hand with travel. History helps us understand the past, while travel connects that past to the present. We become educated in the diverse cultures and ways of life. We learn about how our lives are intertwined and how we can impact one another. From confederate hospitals in North Carolina to the towering castles and cobblestone alleyways of Bermuda, we invite everyone to travel back in time. Below are some historic destinations—some popular, some lesser-known—that all history enthusiasts should add to their bucket list.
Calling all history buffs! Did you know North Carolina is a state brimming with an interesting history? From an early declaration of independence to modern-day Special Forces, eastern North Carolina is rich in military history, all easily accessible from Interstates 95 and 40.
Historic Halifax & Bentonville Battlefield – About 15 miles south of the Virginia border on I-95 is the town of Halifax and the Historic Halifax State Historic Site. Continue about 90 miles down I-95 past Smithfield and take U.S. Highway 701 to the Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site near the town of Four Oaks. The largest land engagement in North Carolina and one of the last conflicts of the Civil War was fought here March 19 through 21, 1865.
Take I-95 to the town of Dunn and the Averasboro Battlefield & Museum. Historic markers outline the events of the tactical resistance leading up to the Battle of Bentonville. You’ll also see Lebanon, a plantation home used as a Confederate Hospital, and the Chicora Civil War Cemetery where the battle’s casualties are buried.
Battleship North Carolina & Fort Fisher – Cut across North Carolina Route 24 and connect with I-40 East to Wilmington. Here, you can board Battleship North Carolina. Commissioned in 1941, North Carolina served in every major naval offensive in the Pacific in World War II, earning 15 battle stars. A two-hour self-guided tour includes an orientation exhibit and portions of nine decks, including the crew’s quarters, the bridge, gun turrets, and radio and engine rooms.
From American Indian ruins, historic military forts, and pristine white missions dotting the landscape to intricate Victorian mansions, ornate courthouses, and entire Wild West districts in the heart of town, there’s something to fill every era of human history.
Wupatki National Monument – Fewer than 800 years ago, Wupatki was the largest pueblo around. It flourished for a time as a meeting place of different cultures. Situated in a hot, dry place, how and why did people live here? The builders of Wupatki and nearby pueblos have moved on, but their legacy remains and visitors get to witness it.
Canyon De Chelly National Monument – Step back in time at Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Arizona. Explore the canyon walls that cradle hundreds of ancient pueblo ruins. Get up close with a hike or plan a guided tour to see even more scenic views.
Grand Canyon Railway – Take a trip through time – and some of Arizona’s prettiest high country – with a ride on the Grand Canyon Railway, taking you from Williams right to the South Rim. Located in Williams, AZ, the Grand Canyon Railway remains one of the most unique ways to travel to the Grand Canyon. The Railroad was originally built to transport ore in the Wild West from the Anita mines, 45 miles north of Williams in the late 1800s.
West Hollywood may not be the most historical city in the U.S. Founded in 1984 as the 84th city in Los Angeles County, West Hollywood is a young, vibrant community with a colorful and entertaining past. Its history stretches back over 300 years.
The Sunset Strip – Loosely overseen by the Los Angeles County Sherrif’s Department, the region became a hotbed of liquor and nightlife. The dirt road at the northern border of West Hollywood, which served as the main commuter route between Beverly Hills and Hollywood, became known as Sunset Blvd., and nightclubs, hotels and restaurants sprung up along The Sunset Strip. Gambling, which was legal in Los Angeles County but not in the City of Los Angeles, brought money and the attention of mobsters like Bugsy Segal and Micky Cohen, regulars at Strip nightclubs like Ciro’s (now The Comedy Store) and the Melody Room (now Viper Room). In the Golden Age of Hollywood, West Hollywood was the swankiest, most glamorous nightlife destination in the Los Angeles Metropolitan area. In the 60s and 70s, it became a major gathering place for the counterculture, with hippies, musicians and artists flooding the streets. Acts like Led Zeppelin, The Doors and Elton John won over crowds in emerging music venues such as The Troubadour, The Whisky a Go Go, and The Roxy.
Stroll through West Hollywood’s architectural golden era with this planned walking tour from the West Hollywood Preservation Alliance.
Walk this tour to discover architectural gems in West Hollywood – including the historic former abodes of Bette Davis, the Marx Brothers, and Marilyn Monroe. In the 1920s, West Hollywood was the center of lavish apartment living for captivating Hollywood stars, writers, and decked-out-in-diamonds socialites. Architects of the day created ornate masterpieces that still stand tall among a 4-block radius.
Experience history right where it happened, New Hampshire has a history to be proud. It was one of the original 13 states that founded the United States of America and produced America’s thirteenth president, Franklin Pierce. Much of this history can be explored today in museums and along the scenic rail routes.
Kancamagus Highway – The Kancamagus Scenic Byway passes through the heart of the White Mountains while traversing the flank of Mt. Kancamagus, filled with scenic areas and overlooks. Visit the Russell Colbath Historic Site, which offers colonial history, and explore the Forest Discovery Trail, which provides forest ecology experiences in a living classroom.
Strawbery Banke Museum – Strawbery Banke Museum is a 10-acre campus dedicated to bringing 300+ years of history to life, from Indigenous history to the present day, in the Puddle Dock neighborhood. Tour historic houses on their original foundations, meet engaging costumed roleplayers, watch traditional crafts demonstrations, and explore historical gardens and landscapes.
Flume Gorge – The Flume is a natural gorge extending 800 feet at the base of Mount Liberty. The walls of Conway granite rise to a height of 70 to 90 feet and are 12 to 20 feet apart. Discovered in 1808 by 93-year-old “Aunt” Jess Guernsey, the Flume is now a paid attraction that allows visitors to walk through it from May 10th to October 20th.
Know someone who loves to get their hands on Nevada’s history and heritage? Treat that devotee of days gone by to a guided tour at famous locales, like Lake Tahoe, Virginia City, or Boulder City—on foot, on the water, or even on one of the state’s three still-chuggin’ scenic railways. (Some tours are seasonal and may not be available at a given moment, but it never hurts to think—and gift— ahead.) Meanwhile, Nevada State Museum memberships score free admission to all seven sites statewide.
Colorado River Tours in Laughlin – Book a London Bridge Jet Boat Tour to see the landmark that formerly spanned England’s River Thames from the 1830s to the 1960s before being rebuilt here in the USA, piece by piece. Or, enjoy a fully narrated cruise on the USS Riverside, which details the history of the region while taking you under the Laughlin Bridge and up to Davis Dam.
Eldorado Canyon Mine Tours in Boulder City – The Techatticup Mine is the oldest, richest, and most famous gold mine in southern Nevada. Since then, it’s become a mega popular place for movie, TV, and magazine shoots, some of which left incredible props behind (including the oft-Instagrammed plane from 3000 Miles to Graceland). Eldorado Canyon Mine Tours is your go-to for guided mine tours, as well as kayak/canoe rentals to launch on the nearby Colorado River.
Thunderbird Lodge in Lake Tahoe – Explore the palatial waterfront residence and uncover the incredible tales of eccentric George Whittel Jr., the eccentric early 20th century millionaire who once owned 40,000 acres of Lake Tahoe’s #NevadaSide. Tours are history-focused, while some incorporate wine and cheese tasting. Arrive by land, cruise there in style on a classic 1950 “woody” from Zephyr cove, or kayak in with Tahoe Adventure Company.
One of the 13 original colonies, “The Free State” is a hub for history lovers. With living-history colonial towns, national shrines, the home of The Star-Spangled Banner, and the birthplaces of some of the nation’s most important civil rights leaders, Maryland is home to a wealth of historic sites and museums.
Salute the Flag at Fort McHenry – This beautiful brick fortress stands sentry at the mouth of Baltimore Harbor and today, as a National Historic Shrine, it preserves our history. In 1814, its battle flag inspired Francis Scott Key to pen The Star-Spangled Banner. During the Civil War, the fort served as a Union hospital.
Walk the halls of history at the Maryland State House – Once the capital of the United States, it was here that the Continental Congress signed the Treaty of Paris ending the Revolutionary War. Later, General George Washington stepped down as Commander in Chief of the Continental Army.
Experience Colonial Maryland at Historic St. Mary’s City – Founded in 1634, today living historians keep the streets, fields and ships of Maryland’s first capital alive. Tour the working 1600s plantation, experience the reconstructed state house, and walk the decks of the Dove, a reconstructed sailing ship.
Las Vegas maybe known for its buffets, bright lights and seedy past but the true history of the city is endlessly fascinating. More than just simple exhibits, you can visit historic saloons, take a closer look at organized crime and prohibition in America, or even get an up-close look at some of the most famous city lights of the past.
The Mob Museum – Located in the heart of Downtown Las Vegas, The Mob Museum explores more than just the Mob history in Vegas- it is also the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement. The museum covers all three stories (and the basement) of the former courthouse building.
The Boneyard – The most famous signs in Las Vegas come here to rest after being decommissioned. The Boneyard inside the Neon Museum hosts many truly stunning signs like the iconic Stardust sign as well as smaller pieces that are equally inspiring.
Pioneer Salon – The historic Pioneer Saloon is located in Goodsprings, a ghost town just a short distance away from Las Vegas. Step into the Wild West at this fully operational restaurant with a haunted past. Pioneer Saloon even periodically offers ghost hunting events inside the restaurant after hours.