How good would it feel to take a family vacation where everyone not only had a blast, but learned something, too? Whether they realize it or not, families do this every summer when they choose to visit one of the thousands of living history sites on offer in the United States. Museums, battlefields, plantations, or a trip through Colonial America – all ages can enjoy stepping back in time as history is reenacted before your eyes.
Sound like fun? Here are seven great living history sites to make for a vacation of historical proportions:
Orange Empire Railway Museum , Perris, CA
For the train buffs in your house, spend a day exploring California’s locomotive history. Walk through the museum, get a guided tour, take a ride on a trolley or train car, and even have a turn driving a real train engine!
Colonial Williamsburg, Williamsburg, VA
An online calendar shows exactly what events happen each day in this unbelievable historical city. While on a walking tour, you will encounter history reenacted before your eyes as fife and drum marchers parade through town. See demonstrations on quill pens or 18th century dance performances, or if you’re feeling really brave, take a nightly ghost tour. When the kids find out how close you are to Bush Gardens Williamsburg, they’ll start packing for this vacation right away!
The City of Boston, Boston, MA
Kids will love the “Boston By Foot” walking tour, covering everything from Ben Franklin to the first public school in America. Boston has a wonderful children’s museum, as well as a Museum of Science. Nearby Plimoth Plantation gives families an up-close look at the inspiration behind our annual Thanksgiving feast.
Conner Prairie Fishers, IN,
The year is 1886 and you are in the rural community of Liberty Corner. Visitors to this beautiful outdoor museum have the chance to spend a day, and even a night, experiencing the life of a family in 1886. Attend school, do chores, and play games like they did 120 years ago.
El Rancho de las Golondrinas, Sante Fe, NM
Imagine 200 acres dedicated to the culture and heritage of Spanish Colonial New Mexico. There are still original early 18th century buildings on this site. Villagers clothed in the style of the times show how life was lived in early New Mexico. Check the schedule for several festivals throughout the summer that paint a picture of what life was like when Spain and Mexico ruled this part of the Unites States.
Fort Wilkins and Copper Harbor ,Copper Harbor, MI
This 1845 Army post has been recreated for families to enjoy today. Costumed guides answer questions about what life was like in an isolated military camp, protecting the local copper mines years ago. Guests will also enjoy a boat ride to nearby Copper Harbor Lighthouse where they can learn how and why lighthouses were built.
Virginia City and Nevada City, Montana
Want to pretend you are mingling in the saloons of the Old West? Ready for the gold rush and any gun-slinging showdown that might come your way? Visit these preserved gold mining towns from the 1860s to ride in a stagecoach, locomotive, and more. See the largest collection of automated music machines. And enjoy a night’s stay in an authentic 1860s place of lodging. The whole family will enjoy this weekend adventure!
Whatever you pleasure, step back in time this summer for a historical vacation you will always remember.