10 National Park Sites to Go on a Virtual Tour While Staying Home

have been toying with the idea of posting content related to the current climate of staying home during the COVID 19 pandemic since the crisis started last month. My focus of this blog has always been family focused, education fun and traveling throughout the United States. I thought about posts regarding things to keep kids busy, new skills kids can learn, favorite family board games and books (I might still share that post), and how to avoid boredom. But those posts didn’t seem that original or enlightening. So we’re sticking with what we know best: family travel.

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2019 Year in Review: 65 Highlights

2019 was a year for the record books. We travelled over 25,000 miles from TopSail, North Carolina to Gloucester, Massachusetts and a ton of places in between those spots. We had a few common themes (you’ll notice them below) and no matter where we travelled, we found friendly locals, rich history, and tons of fun. We’re keeping it short and sweet here with the highlights, but feel free to click on the links for the full scoop and tons of travel tips!

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Four East Coast Cities With Nearby Fun

Large cities like Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, and DC are popular for good reason: There are historical sites dating back hundreds of years, tons of museums and galleries, and a seemingly endless variety of cultural events and ethnic food options. However, many of these large cities cast a bit of a “shadow” on nearby neighbors that can hold their own with visitors! We’ve spent some time over the past couple of years exploring some “smaller” cities within a short drive of well known metropolitans and we wanted to share many places to explore if you find yourself in town with an extra day or weekend.

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14 Private Homes We Toured in 2019

2019 has been a busy travel year for us. We’ll have a full recap of highlights at the end of December, but when we started thinking about all the places we’ve explored, we found some common themes. We’ve explored 15 private homes since January of last year and we’ve loved every single one. You’ll notice two other themes- we covered most of the Revolutionary War and Civil War this year, and we love visiting National Park Service sites (read why here!).  Here’s the list with some travel tips and the “coolest” things our children loved about each spot. Click the links to get more details and travel tips from our visits. 

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Playing ‘I Spy” in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, a town of less than 10,000 people, is the site of the largest Civil War battle ever fought, lasting three days in early July 1863. Over 51,000 soldiers were captured, wounded, or killed. The Battle is considered the turning point of the American Civil War, as the Union won the battle over Robert E. Lee and the Confederate army.

Each year, over three million people visit Gettysburg to learn about American history; to explore the museums, shops, and restaurants; and to enjoy the outdoors- there are over 31 miles of hiking trails. Many locations around town honor the people who fought in the battle and the civilians who supported them during and after the battle. The town also has strong ties to former Presidents Lincoln and Eisenhower.

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Eisenhower National Historic Site in Gettysburg, PA

Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was Supreme Allied Commander, war general, president of Columbia University and ultimately 34th president of the United States, lived in over 40 different homes before finally retiring in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania in 1961. Eisenhower studied the Civil War and had spent time training soldiers at Camp Colt in Gettysburg during World War I. Eisenhower and his wife, Mamie, purchased the 187 acre complex in 1950 and used the home as a “weekend White House” and for an extended time when Eisenhower recovered from a heart attack in 1955. The Eisenhower National Historic Site, now part of the Gettysburg National Military Park, has been open to visitors since 1980 and almost every artifact in the home is authentic to the Eisenhower family. The home reflects the everyday living of the Eisenhower family in the 1950s and 1960s.

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