There are many reasons why people travel. Some travel for adventure and to see incredible landscapes. Others travel to get away and relax. Still, many people travel in order to experience new cultures. Certain destinations across the globe allow us to appreciate cultures and parts of history that we don’t have access to at home.
Traveling for culture is especially important for students. Being able to gain insight into the past allows them to broaden their perspectives and truly understand the significance of all those dates and facts they’ve been learning within the classroom.
Here are five great U.S. destinations for appreciating history and culture!
The birthplace of jazz, home to culinary treasures, and full of French influence, New Orleans is rich in history.
For music lovers, the Jazz National Historic Park does a wonderful job of preserving the history and timeline of American jazz. Founded in 1994, visitors to the park can learn about the evolution of jazz and maybe even catch a concert or two!
The French Quarter is a great place to experience the French influence that so deeply pervades the city of New Orleans. It is the oldest neighborhood in the city and has been designated as a National Historic Landmark. The French Quarter is also home to the iconic Bourbon Street, which provides visitors with a glance into the culture that shaped the city.
Other opportunities for history and cultural education in New Orleans:
St. Louis Cemetery
Civil Rights Trail
A trip made up of several destinations, the Civil Rights Trail charts the course of the Civil Rights Movement, which spanned decades, cities, and states.
In Memphis, Tennessee, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his final speech before his assassination at the Lorraine Motel, a National Civil Rights Museum stands. Visitors can view Dr. King’s “I Am a Man” exhibit as well as many other important artifacts from his life.
In Selma, Alabama, visitors can walk the Historic Edmund Pettus Bridge and remember the many lives that were lost in the march for African-Americans’ voting rights. The bridge is now the site of the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute.
Other important locations on the Civil Rights Trail:
Montgomery, Alabama - the city where Rosa Parks was arrested
Atlanta, Georgia - home of the MLK National Historic Site
Jackson, Mississippi - home of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum
For a truly immersive historical experience, Colonial Williamsburg is absolutely the place to go. The entire town is a living, working history museum that functions just as it would have in the 18th century. Students will discover an accurate preservation of colonial life while partaking in hands-on colonial activities.
The Yorktown Victory Center marks the location of the battle in which the Revolutionary War ended. Here, visitors can gain a better understanding of what daily life was like for soldiers in the war.
Other important sites near Colonial Williamsburg:
The birthplace of American democracy, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has managed to maintain many of its ties to colonial America over the years.
At Independence National Historic Park, which has been aptly nicknamed “America’s most historic square mile,” students can see many sites associated with the American Revolution. The most notable of these sites is Independence Hall, which is where both the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were signed. It was also home to the Liberty Bell after its construction in 1752.
At the National Constitution Center students will understand the history and significance of the Constitution through exhibits and presentations. Leading constitutional scholars come from across the nation to speak at the center, the main goal of the organization being to engage all American citizens in learning about the U.S. Constitution.
Other important historic sites in Philadelphia:
Valley Forge National Historical Park
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Betsy Ross House
First colonized by the Spanish in the late-1600s, San Antonio has always been a city of full of vibrance! Today, the city is full of history, and the Spanish influence remains very prevalent.
Mission San Jose is an extremely culturally rich district with 18th-century Spanish fortifications and colorful frescoes. Within this district is the San Antonio Missions National Park, which preserves four of the five Spanish missions located in San Antonio. These churches were established by the Spanish Catholics to spread their religion to the neighboring natives.
A tour of the Alamo gives visitors a look into the deadly Battle of the Alamo in 1836. All but two Texans were killed during the fighting. Today, the site is one of the most visited attractions in the entire state of Texas!
Other educational sites in San Antonio:
Fort Sam Houston Army Post
Japanese Sunken Gardens
Witte Museum of Natural History
Click here for a full list of the student travel tours offered by Good News Travels!