Presidential Destinations

From towering mansions to simple farmhouses to interactive museum experiences, these sites chronicle the achievements of some of the greatest American presidents.

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San Francisco Solano
Founded on July 4, 1823, by Father Jose Altimira, this historic mission was the site of the Bear Flag Revolt that led to the establishment of the California Republic in 1846.
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/edbierman  

San Rafael Arcangel
This mission is located 20 miles north of San Francisco at the foot of Mount Tamalpais. It was established as a sanitarium and hospital for San Francisco neophytes suffering from depression and disease.
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/edbierman  

San Francisco de Asis (Mission Dolores)
On a site selected by Juan Bautista de Anza, the first mission church was a 50-foot-long log and mud structure. It was eventually moved to higher ground, adjacent to Lake Dolores. The mission was dedicated to Saint Francis by Father Serra in 1776.
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Robert A. Estremo, Wikimedia Creative Commons  

San Jose
The most recent mission to have its church restored, the work truly captures the look and feel of 1830s prosperity. Founded in 1797 by Father Lasuen, the fertile site was chosen because of its view of Mission Dolores and Yerba Buena Island.
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Sanfranman59, Wikimedia Creative Commons  

Santa Clara de Asis
Located on the Guadeloupe River, the log chapel was founded in 1777 by Father Serra in honor of St. Clare. In 1851, work began which ultimately produced Santa Clara University as we know it today.
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Jaga, Wikimedia Creative Commons  

Santa Cruz
Although the soil was excellent and the location ideal, this mission never reached its potential. The dedication of Mission la Exaltacion de la Santa Cruz was made in 1791 by Father Lasuen, but the site was unfortunately located next to Branciforte pueblo, a community of ex-convicts and thieves.
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/pocait  

San Juan Bautista
Founded by Father Lasuen in 1797, this mission was unwittingly located directly above the San Andreas fault. Much of the original structure remains and has been restored. It's considered the largest California mission church and the only one with 3 aisles. It was named for John the Baptist.
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/harshlight  

San Carlos Boorromeo de Carmelo
Founded by Father Serra in 1770 on Pentecost Sunday, this mission was considered to be his favorite. Both he and Father Lasuen are buried here. It served as the ecclesiastical capital of California, as well as Father Serra's headquarters for administrative duties as president of the missions.
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Didier B, Wikimedia Creative Commons  

Nuestra Senora de la Soledad
The padres named this mission for Our Lady of Solitude in 1791, which fits its isolated location. The rich soil and plentiful water helped the mission produce more than 100,000 bushels of wheat per year and raise nearly 17,000 head of livestock.
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/pocait  

San Antonio de Padua
Located 40 miles north of Paso Robles, this picturesque mission is nestled in the grasslands and oak trees of the San Antonio Valley. Named for a saint known as the "miracle worker," it was dedicated in 1771 by Father Serra. The church is known for its campanario and archway bells.
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/edbierman  

San Miguel Arcangel
This mission was founded in 1797 by Father Lasuen. It completed the mission chain from San Luis Obispo to Mission Dolores in San Francisco. Located in the Salinas Valley, it was the mid point between the San Luis Obispo and San Antonio Missions. Under the direction of Esteban Munros, the Indians painted the walls and ceilings with ornate designs; the original murals are the best preserved in California today.
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Elf, Wikimedia Creative Commons  

San Luis Obispo de Tolosa
This humble chapel, built of logs, was dedicated to St. Louis, Bishop of Tolosa in 1772. It was the first mission to use tiles extensively on the roof due to repeated attacks by Indians who used flaming arrows to ignite the original thatched roof.
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/edbierman  

La Purísima Concepción
Founded in 1787 by Father Lasuen, this mission is located 50 miles west of Santa Barbara. Considered to be the best example of mission architecture, it has 37 rooms that have been completely restored and furnished.
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/alanvernon  

Santa Ines
This mission was named for a 13-year-old Roman martyr, St. Agnes, who refused to sacrifice to the pagan gods in 304 AD. Santa Ines was dedicated in 1804 by Father Estevan Tapis. The museum contains a notable collection of vestments, church records and missals.
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/pfly  

Santa Barbara
Founded in 1786, the "Queen of the Missions" was the first to be christened by Father Lasuen and has continuously served as a parish church for the local population.
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/kenlund  

San Buenaventura
The ninth mission in the chain was founded on Easter Sunday in 1782 by Father Serra and dedicated to St. Bonaventure. It was the last mission the humble priest would christen. Restored in 1957, the facade exhibits an unusual triangular design which opens onto the gardens.
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/kenlund  

San Fernando Rey de Espana
Father Lasuen named this mission in honor of King Ferdinand III of Spain in 1797. Located 25 miles north of Los Angeles in the San Fernando Valley, the convent is the largest freestanding adobe in California and was originally used as a hospice for travelers.
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Geographer, Wikimedia Creative Commons  

San Gabriel Arcangel
Founded in 1771 by Junipero Serra, this fortress-like structure with 5-foot thick walls and narrow windows is a design not found in any other mission. One-fourth of the wealth of the California missions' in stock and grain was credited to San Gabriel.
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Wikimedia Creative Commons  

San Juan Capistrano
Named for Crusader Saint John of Capistrano and designed in the shape of a cross, this great stone church once consisted of 7 domes and a bell tower so tall it could be seen from 10 miles away.
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Ken Lund http://www.flickr.com/photos/kenlund  

San Luis Rey de Francia
Known as the "King of the Missions," San Luis Rey de Francia lies in a sheltered valley just east of Oceanside on State Highway 76. Named for Louis IX, the crusading King of France, the cross-shaped church was dedicated on the Feast of St. Anthony in 1798 by Father Lasuen.
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Geographer Wikimedia Creative Commons  

San Diego de Alcala
The mission trail in California began here on July 16, 1769, when Fathers Serra, Palou and Parron planted a large cross in the beachhead near the mouth of the San Diego River. A bell was suspended from a nearby tree, and the site was dedicated to St. Didacus.
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/tomsaint  

Map of all 21 missions along the coast of California, from San Francisco to San Diego. 960 1280

© 2011 Pentacle Press, www.missionscalifornia.com  

In 1963, nearly 300,000 protestors headed to the nation's capital for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, which was a step in the right direction for passing the Civil Rights Act of1964. 960 1280

Library of Congress  

Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his memorable 'I Have a Dream' speech at this spot on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington in 1963. 960 1280

Getty  

On March 30, 1965, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife Coretta Scott King led protestors in a march from Selma, AL, to the capitol in Montgomery to fight for black voting rights. 960 1280

Getty  

Martin Luther King Jr. slept in Room 306 at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, TN, on the night before he was assassinated while standing on the hotel's balcony in 1968. 960 1280

Reuters  

The Lorraine Motel is now home to the National Civil Rights Museum, which chronicles the civil rights movement and provides opportunities to learn more about peace and justice in our world. 960 1280

Reuters  

Visitors pay their respects to Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife Coretta Scott King at the crypt at the King Center in Atlanta. 960 1280

Reuters  

Martin Luther King Jr. was the pastor at the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church & Parsonage in Montgomery, AL, between 1954 and 1960. Today, you can take a tour of the church and parsonage, both National Historic Landmarks. 960 1280

Library of Congress  

Two great civil rights leaders are celebrated at the intersection of Rosa Parks Boulevard and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Detroit. 960 1280

Reuters  

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati celebrates our country's civil rights heroes from the days of slavery and the Underground Railroad to modern times. 960 1280

Farshid Assassi/Assassi Productions  

In 1955, Rosa Parks, an African-American woman, refused to give up her seat on the bus for a white man. This action rocked the country and sparked another battle in the war for civil rights. Today, the public can step on the bus where it all began at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI. 960 1280

Getty  

The Rosa Parks Museum tells the tale of the 'victory ride' and the 381-day boycott of the Montgomery bus system that happened after Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on the bus. 960 1280

Getty  

Rosa Parks passed away in 2005 and is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in Detroit. 960 1280

Getty  

Martin Luther King Jr. preached about nonviolence and peace from the pulpit of the original Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, which was across the street from the new sanctuary on the grounds of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Historic Site. 960 1280

  

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial

In October 2011, after more than 2 decades of planning, the MLK Memorial opened in Washington, DC. Critics were unhappy with “drum major” quote abbreviation (pictured); the Department of Interior has since announced the quote will be removed. 960 1280

PBS NewsHour, flickr  

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial

‘Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.’ These words -- from MLK’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech -- inform the design of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial. Unveiled in October 2011, the memorial is the first of its kind on the National Mall in Washington, DC , to honor an African-American leader. 960 1280

Geoff Livingston, flickr  

9/11 Memorial

9/11 Memorial

The single largest loss of civilian life on US soil is commemorated at the 9/11 Memorial in NYC. Located on the grounds where the Twin Towers once stood, bronze parapets are inscribed with the names of 2,983 individuals -- including John Robert Cruz, a 32-year-old employee of Cantor Fitzgerald who became engaged 2 weeks before the attacks. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Trail of Tears National Historic Trail

Trail of Tears National Historic Trail

The Indian Removal Act of 1830 cast a long shadow on America. By 1837, 46,000 Native Americans had been removed from their homes in the southeastern US. Thousands died along the way from exposure to harsh winters, disease and starvation. Today, the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail runs through 9 states, including Village Creek State Park in Arkansas. 960 1280

Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism  

USS Arizona

USS Arizona

FDR declared Dec. 7, 1941, 'a date which will live in infamy.' The surprise military attack against the US naval base at Pearl Harbor, HI, shocked the nation. Today, the USS Arizona Memorial marks the resting place of 1,102 of the 1,177 sailors killed on the battleship that morning. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

Inside a marble temple, Abraham Lincoln sits -- his gaze cast straight ahead upon the US Capitol, a symbol of the Union he helped defend and preserve during this country’s bloodiest conflict. Today, the words of the 16th president’s greatest speech, the Gettysburg Address, live on, inscribed inside this stirring memorial. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Liberty Memorial

Liberty Memorial

The Liberty Memorial in Kansas City, MO, remembers the 'war to end all wars.' The memorial also houses the National World War I Museum, which tells the story of the Great War through 2 theaters, exhibitions of period artifacts, replica trenches and more. 960 1280

Chris Murphy, flickr  

Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore

Carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore near Keystone, SD, this national memorial commemorates America’s 4 greatest presidents. The idea came from a South Dakota historian who wanted to create a memorial that would attract people from all over the country. Today, nearly 3 million people visit each year. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Arlington National Cemetery

Arlington National Cemetery

America’s most hallowed ground is the final resting place for more than 300,000 active-duty members of the US armed forces. In addition to these rows of white marble headstones, the 624-acre grounds are home to many stirring memorials, most notably the Tomb of the Unknowns, as well as the graves of 2 US presidents. 960 1280

Beverly & Pack, flickr  

Korean War Veterans Memorial

Korean War Veterans Memorial

Over 38 months, more than 54,000 American soldiers lost their lives defending South Korea. The Korean War Memorial honors those who served in this 'Forgotten War.' These 19 figures represent a squad on patrol, from each branch of the armed forces. 960 1280

Sean Hayford O’Leary, flickr  

Statue of Liberty National Monument

Statue of Liberty National Monument

Her torch held high, this Roman goddess of freedom was one of the first things that many immigrants who entered through New York’s Ellis Island saw. 'I saw the Statue of Liberty,' recalled one Greek immigrant, 'And I said, ‘Give me a chance to prove that I am worth it, to be someone in America.' 960 1280

Thinkstock  

George Washington Birthplace

George Washington Birthplace

George Washington was born here, in Westmoreland County, VA, in 1732. The 662-acre property includes a family graveyard for 5 generations of the Washington family, including George Washington’s father, grandfather and paternal great-grandfather, who emigrated from England in 1657. 960 1280

Margaret Hill, flickr  

Gettysburg National Military Park

Gettysburg National Military Park

More than 50,000 soldiers died during the 3-day Battle of Gettysburg. Today, hundreds of markers dot the battlefield -- including the State of Pennsylvania Monument. The largest monument on the grounds, it commemorates the 34,530 Pennsylvania soldiers who served in battle -- the single largest group of Union forces to do so. 960 1280

Ron Cogswell, flickr  

Manzanar National Historic Site

Manzanar National Historic Site

During World War II, more than 110,000 Japanese residents of the US -- two-thirds of them US citizens -- were forced into remote, military-style camps. Manzanar National Historic Site is one of 10 internment camp locations that have been preserved. More than 135 internees died at Manzanar. In 1943, internees erected this cement memorial -- its words loosely translate as, ‘This is the place of consolation for the spirit of all mankind.’ 960 1280

jericl cat, flickr  

Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument

Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument

For decades, this battlefield in Montana was named after Gen. George Custer -- and told just one side of the story of the battle between US and the Native American forces here. Then, legislation signed in 1991 renamed the park Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. The law also said that a Native American memorial should be built on the grounds -- this sculpture by an Oglala Sioux artist is one of the results. 960 1280

reb, flickr  

Fort McHenry

Fort McHenry

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. Remember it with a visit to this star-shaped fort that successfully defended Baltimore Harbor from the British. During the bombardment of the fort, an American lawyer named Francis Scott Key was inspired to write what would become the national anthem. 960 1280

National Park Service  

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

More than 58,000 names are inscribed on this black granite wall. Each name is listed in the order in which they were reported to have died or gone missing in action. For surviving vets, the wall is the closest thing to an address that many have to pay their respects. Mementoes such as baseball mitts, notes and old photos are often left at the wall. 960 1280

Thinkstock