If you're in the mood for a patriotic vacation this summer, your first thought might be to head to Washington, D.C. Although our nation's capital makes for a great family trip, this city isn't the only U.S. destination for a patriot-minded family. The U.S.A. boasts all-American tourist spots from sea to shining sea.
Keystone, South Dakota
Nestled in the Black Hills near Keystone is the Mount Rushmore National Memorial, where the faces of George Washington, Theodore Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson are carved into the mountain. After taking in the breathtaking sculpture, take a hike on the Presidential Trail, explore the visitor center and learn about the area's original inhabitants at the Heritage Village.
St. Louis, Missouri
Often called “The Gateway to the West,” St. Louis was the starting point for much of the westward expansion of the 19th century. The Gateway Arch, a monument to the vision and process of westward movement, is part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. In addition to a trip to the top of the Arch, visitors will also enjoy a visit to the Museum of the Westward Expansion at the base.
Families with youngsters will enjoy a stop at The Magic House. This one-of-a-kind children's museum's includes several patriotic exhibits. Kids can pretend to be explorers in the Lewis and Clark Adventure or receive hands-on civics lessons in the Star-Spangled Center.
Cape Canaveral, Florida
To John F. Kennedy, winning the Space Race was a matter of national pride, security and preeminence. Because of his vision and the challenge he issued, the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida was named in his honor. The Visitor Complex is a tribute to American space exploration. Learn what it's like to be an astronaut, walk among real space rockets and try your hand at space travel simulators. The center is a tribute to the hard work and determination of the many Americans who made space travel a reality and are continuing to explore this vast frontier.
New York, New York
Lady Liberty stands watch over New York City as a symbol of American freedom. The Statue of Liberty is a national monument on Liberty Island, which can be reached by ferry. Visitors can secure tickets to tour the grounds, the pedestal or the crown. The Liberty Island museum is housed in the pedestal of the statue.
The ferry service also takes tourists to Ellis Island. An astonishing 12 million immigrants began their American experience here in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Today, the Ellis Island Immigration Museum is part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument Park.
San Antonio, Texas
The Battle of the Alamo was a significant event in American history, and a visit to this battle site will help your family “Remember the Alamo.” The museum, shrine, gardens and other areas of the Alamo complex teach visitors to honor the courage of the Texans who resisted Mexican forces for 13 days in 1836.
Also on your visit to San Antonio, take a trip to the top of the Tower of the Americas, the city's tallest building, where the observation tower offers an impressive view of the city. The tower also has informative exhibits about the history of the area and a 4D theater ride featuring the great state of Texas.
San Diego, California
San Diego ranks as one of the most patriotic city in the entire U.S.A., thanks to the popularity of fireworks and local spending on veterans. For a patriotic tour of the city, a stop at the U.S.S. Midway Museum is a must. This maritime museum is housed on the real Midway aircraft carrier, which served from 1945 to 1992. Be sure to take advantage of the self-guided audio tour, which is narrated by actual soldiers who served on Midway.
Meghan Ross is a freelance writer covering all things home and living. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.
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