The next time you’re heading out on a family vacation think about putting aside the ‘get there fast and get home even faster’ mentality we are all guilty of on occasion. This past summer my family and I took a road trip from St. Louis to Orlando Florida.
We traveled to Florida to attend my daughter’s national dance competition event, many of the other families opted to fly but for our family, we decided to drive and make the most of the trip itself. In all honesty, I can say that looking back on our trip the time in the car, seeing the country and laughing with my husband and our kids is my favorite part of the entire vacation.
Seeing the different topography of the country and making spontaneous stops was without a doubt the most fun we had while we were away from home. We used an app called RoadTrippers to plan our trip and help us find places to stay and to eat along the route. We had a few spots we knew we wanted to visit, like Nashville and the American Archeology store there. Otherwise, we were free to stop when and where we wanted to. It was fabulous!
Teach your kids about the rich history of the United States with a road trip. There are a number of routes that take you through some of the most notable, historical sites. You can visit many celebrated locations by car and see the natural beauty of America between each destination. Here are five road trips for your family to consider:
Columbia River Highway
Take your family on a journey along the first U.S. highway, which spans from Troutdale to Dalles, Oregon. Built in 1915, this route was initially part of the Oregon Trail and the last section of Lewis and Clark’s expedition. This route gives your kids a view of the natural wonders that were seen by the travelers who first explored the area. The scenic Columbia River Highway is also sprinkled with waterfalls, fields of wildflowers and grandiose vistas.
South Carolina to Alabama
Teach your children about the serious parts of American history — slavery and civil rights. Map out a route between the plantations of South Carolina and Montgomery, Alabama. Visit South Carolina Plantation’s site for a list of plantations that are open to the public and offer tours. Make a stop at The Old Slave Mart Museum in Charleston, where you can teach your kids about the unjust transactions between slaves and plantation owners.
Travel west to Montgomery, Alabama, where you can show your kids another facet of African American history. Visit the Civil Rights Memorial Center to learn about the Montgomery Bus Boycott spurred by Rosa Parks and the protests that fought for African American rights. This is truly traveling with meaning!
New York to Boston
The East Coast is rich in history and is the perfect region for an educational road trip. New York City boasts many museums that have collected historical works of art and artifacts, like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Museum of Natural History. You can visit Ellis Island, where immigrants had to register before they were either denied or granted access to the United States.
Travel north into Boston, where you can visit old colonial sites, like the Old North Church, Old State House, the site of the Boston Massacre and the Bunker Hill Monument. You can also walk along the route of the Freedom Trail, which is a marked red path that is laid throughout the city. If you want to read more about the reality of adventure sports, click here.
The Missions Trail spans between San Diego and Sonoma, California. El Camino Real was the road that connected the 21 California missions that were founded in the 18th century. The region was controlled by the Spanish monarchy.
Today, a state highway has replaced the El Camino Real, which makes it easy for your family to travel between the many missions. The adobes are active Catholic parishes and some charge fees for interior tours. Read also this post on how to travel 50 days per year with a full-time job.
The capitol is an ideal road trip destination, where you can drive to the 74 historical monuments within the city. The White House is a must-see and hosts public tours arranged through your representative in Congress.
The National Mall is home to the Jefferson Memorial, Washington Monument, and Lincoln Memorial. Show your children these various tributes to influential presidents and teach them about the social justices they achieved. The National Mall has hosted many protests, rallies and large events, like presidential inaugurations and the rally for African American civil rights where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his iconic speech.
The main thing to remember is to keep your eyes open, you never know when you’ll pass through a historic area that you’re not familiar with, or hadn’t remembered was there. You should also consider taking time to get off the freeway and take the long way, you just might find something amazing! Like unforgettable memories.