Travel is not always about beast beaches, wild adventures, and sunset cocktails. It can also be a journey of learning and diving deep into culture and history.
One great way to do that – especially if you are traveling with kids – is to create a road trip theme around historical events. (This is also perfect for homeschooling families.)
One that our family has enjoyed, especially as Australians learning about what makes up the spirit of Americans, is to visit the places and experiences that tell the story of the Revolutionary War.
With an East Coast Revolutionary USA road trip idea we want to help you do the same. Most of the destinations are in Northeast USA.
Ditch the text books, jump in the car and head to the areas along the east coast were the story was born.
Why this is a valuable road trip?
istory is the story that has helped create who we are, what we believe in, and shows us what we are capable of. It (hopefully) inspires us to follow in the footsteps of those before us who created greatness, or, warns us to turn back from the path that creates the opposite.
One of the most inspiring stories from America’s history is their fight (and victory) for independence from Britain – something my own country is yet to do.
Before traveling this Revolutionary War road trip in the east, I never could quite comprehend America’s rhetoric over “freedom and liberty” and fascination with war, and seemingly over-the-top patriotism.
Because of this trip, I understood these statements are not necessarily made in ignorance of other countries, but in celebration of how they arrived.
They believe in freedom for all as it’s what drove them to create the life they have now, which is why they are at the forefront of fighting for others to have it (most of the time – everything is mostly!)
We all travel with our own way of looking at the world. Many things we encounter will seem strange and we may be judgmental or overly critical of them.
But once we learn the stories and why they are so important, we can better understand. Our perspective changes and we can connect more deeply to the culture.
It’s also only when we step outside of ourselves (or our own culture) that we can look back and understand ourselves better
If you want to follow the Revolutionary Tale in order, start in Colonial Williamsburg and head straight to Boston. Then visit Philadelphia and Washington D.C. on your way back down.
Greater Williamsburg, Virginia
Visiting Greater Williamsburg in Virginia gave me a fascinating insight into the birth of the United States, a greater understanding of the American culture, and strangely enough, a better understanding of my own culture.
It’s the perfect starting point for your Revolutionary War Road Trip and will give you a deeper insight into life before the War of Independence, which lead to the unrest and the resulting cause.
For a comprehensive history lesson on America’s Enduring Story, I recommend spending a day at each of the following:
Jamestown Settlement and Historic Jamestowne
Jamestown Settlement is a living history museum that tells that story of the English colonist establishing a permanent English colony (and their many almost failures).
Learn about the first settlement and Powhatan and her people’s struggle to accept the foreign invaders.
Historic Jamestowne is the original site of the 1607 Fort and the place where legendary figures John Smith, Pocahontas, John Rolfe and more walked and helped write the beginnings of the USA.
Colonial Williamsburg is where the ideals founding the Constitution began to grow. It’s 18th Century Colonial Virginia brought back to life with live reenactments, noon day cannons, Patriots at Play games and inspiring speeches by George Washington.
The re-enactments and characters roaming the streets give you a profound sense of the evolving American story and help kids understand the ideas and values that crafted the world they live in today.
There are over 35 historical sites and 22 trade sites in Colonial Williamsburg, including the Capitol, where the people’s representatives voted for Independence; the opulent Governor’s Palace; and working trade shops including the apothecary, the shoemaker and more.
Yorktown Battlefield and American Revolution Museum at Yorktown
The Yorktown experience is where those hard-fought ideals became reality.
Here, you can walk the Yorktown battlegrounds where the Americans defeated the British, which ultimately led to America’s Independence.
The interactive American Revolution Museum at Yorktown tells the story of the nation’s founding from the twilight of the Colonial period to the dawn of the Constitution. It helps you further understand complicated documents like the Constitution and how it’s relevant to our current lives.
This fascinating learning experience was probably the highlight of my trip to the Greater Williamsburg area.
Although Washington, D.C. did not become the center of American government until 1790, the U.S. capitol is home to various monuments and artifacts of Revolutionary War history, including the Washington Monument and the Declaration of Independence.
You can learn more about the government created because of the Revolutionary War at the Capitol Building and White House.
Nearby is Mount Vernon, the home of George and Martha Washington, one of the heroes of the Revolutionary Tale. You can to see where the former general and first President of the United States lived.