One of the most popular living history museums in America, Jamestown Settlement tells the story of the first permanent English settlement in 1607 and the cultures that converged there. It originally opened as a museum in 1957 and was expanded in 2007, in commemoration of its Quadricentennial. Named in honor of King James I of England, the complex includes immersive indoor and outdoor exhibits, and daily interactive demonstrations.
Alexandria was established as a town along the northernmost part of the Potomac River in 1749, named after the Alexander family whose land formed the majority of the area. It was considered the first major seaport of British America. Known for its 18th and 19th century architecture (we could have spent days just walking the neighborhoods and checking out window boxes and front doors), it is a nationally designated historic district.
Colonial Williamsburg is the largest living history museum in the world. Recreating life in the 1770s, the 300 acre complex includes over 40 historic trade shops, homes, community space, and taverns. The complex is one mile long and a half mile wide and is divided into four key areas: The Visitor Center, Palace Green, Capitol, and Market Square. Palace Green, Capitol, and Market Square areas include historic sites, trades buildings, as well as lodging, shopping, and dining options.
Yorktown, Virginia, a tiny town located on the banks of the York River, is synonymous with the American Revolution, as it is the sight of the last major battle of the Revolution in the fall of 1781, when British General Cornwallis surrendered to General George Washington. The town is also known for its port, the largest between Charleston and Philadelphia, and tobacco trading. Today, the town honors its role in American history with several historical sites, museums, and activities to help visitors better understand the American Revolution.
Part of the Colonial National Historic Park (one of the first parks, created in 1930) Historic Jamestowne honors the British Colonist experience in North America. The park includes a 23 mile scenic parkway that connects Yorktown Battlefield and Historic Jamestown. Both Yorktown and Jamestown have Visitor Centers with museums, outdoor activities, and many ranger led programs. Historic Jamestowne also includes archaeological sites, churches, and monuments honoring important historical figures.
Mount Vernon, home to George and Martha Washington and their family, is the most popular home in America- over one million people visit each year. The home, located twenty minutes outside downtown Washington DC in Mount Vernon, Virginia, was originally a 8,000 complex with five farms: Dogue Run, Muddy Hole, River, Union, and Mansion House Farms. Washington also built a gristmill and distillery on the property, which is on the banks of the Potomac River, with Maryland on the other side of the river. Washington took possession of the home in 1739 and completed a major renovation by 1787. After George and Martha died in 1779 and 1802 respectively, the home was passed on to family until 1860, when the home was open to the public. The now 50 acre site includes over two dozen areas to explore. We’ve included ten spots children will most enjoy.