Learning About the United States Through Travel

History Fangirl has just turned six years old! To make sure all travel guides are up to date, some posts are getting overhauled, which means you may come across posts that are under construction. Note: This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure page for more details.

When it comes to learning about the United States—everything from history and architecture to geography and culture—most people read books and watch videos. But wouldn’t it be more fun (and even educational) to see it up close and personal?

Whether you want to see some of the places that you remember reading about in your American History classes, or you have kiddos who want to learn about the U.S. first-hand, getting out to explore the country can make for a perfect summer vacation.

Essential Travel Resources for 2021 & 2022

These are my favorite companies that I use on my travels.

Find the best deals on hotels & vacation rentals on Booking.com.

For road trips and ground transportation, rent a car through Discover Cars.

Find the best city tours, day tours, bus tours, & skip-the-line tickets on GetYourGuide.

For packing and travel essentials order via Amazon.

For travel guidebooks to have with you during your trip, I always pick one or two (or five) from Rick Steves, Lonely Planet, Moon Travel Guides, or Fodor’s Travel Guides.

Get reliable travel insurance through World Nomads.

Book an affordable family or romantic photography session on your trip through Flytographer (Use the code HISTORYFANGIRL for 10% off your first photoshoot).

As for suggestions on where to go, consider the following ideas:

Route 66 via RV

You’ve heard the song “(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66” more times than you can count. You remember reading about the historic highway and how it represented freedom in John Steinbeck’s novel “The Grapes of Wrath.” Now, it’s time to plan an epic road trip that allows you to drive as much of the highway, which dates back to 1926, as you wish. To make the trip as memorable as possible, consider renting an RV and traveling in comfort. The route stretches from Illinois to Southern California and is the ultimate in a cross-country road trip filled with history and scenery. Making the journey in an RV will allow you to save on hotel bills along the way, and you can pack food and beverages to make the travel costs a bit lighter.

See also
The Perfect Day Trip to the Great Smoky Mountains: Itinerary + Travel Tips

Cruise to Alaska

Alaska is such a large state, it can feel daunting to drive across even a portion of it. Fortunately, you don’t need wheels to experience the history and beauty of Alaska—you can book an Alaska cruise for you and the family. You can sail out of a number of cruise ports including Seattle, Washington. To make the trip as educational as possible, consider booking an Alaska land and sea tour that includes stops in Denali National Park or Denali and the Yukon. Beforehand, watch some videos about the region and then create a list of “must-see” critters and scenery including bears, eagles and glaciers. Alaskan cruise packages are also quite affordable—you can sign up for alerts to deals and savings that will make this the best Alaska cruise ever.

Tour New England

You and your kids have both read plenty about the pilgrims, the Declaration of Independence, the Founding Fathers and the Revolutionary War. To bring history to life, book a trip to New England. You can fly into whichever part of New England you wish, rent a car and then drive to as many states as you can, including Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. Every New England state has sites that date back to before the United States came to be. For instance, in Plymouth, Massachusetts you can see Plymouth Rock and tour a replica of the Mayflower. Another great option includes The Freedom Trail in Boston, which goes past meeting houses and churches where the American Revolution gained steam.

History Will Come Alive

Sure, you could drop a ton of money at a theme park this summer and have a marvelous time—and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that type of vacation. But there is also something equally wonderful about getting to know our country and its rich history and beautiful scenery. From a drive down Route 66 to an Alaska cruise vacation to a tour of history-rich New England, the United States is a virtual treasure trove of educational travel adventures.

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