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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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Lewis & Clark and Sacagawea Statue
Lewis & Clark and Sacagawea Statue

Lewis & Clark and Sacagawea Statue

This towering statue in Charlottesville, VA, commemorates the 1803-1806 journey of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Dedicated in 1919, the statue also pays homage to Shoshone Indian Sacagawea, who acted as interpreter and guide to the explorers, traveling thousands of miles alongside them from North Dakota to the Pacific Ocean. 960 1280

Bsabarnowl through Creative Commons License  

Native American Powwow

Native American Powwow

Silhouette of an Oglala Lakota member during a 3-day powwow on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. A gathering of North America’s Native people, powwows began hundreds of years ago, showcasing drumming, dancing and storytelling. 960 1280

Reuters  

Trail of Tears

Trail of Tears

In 1830, the Indian Removal Act forced thousands of Native Americans from their homes in the Southeast. The route, later known as the Trail of Tears, led to the deaths of roughly 4,000 Cherokee people from exposure, disease and starvation. Today, about 2,200 miles of the route are preserved, marking the journey through portions of 9 states. 960 1280

Image by Houseofsims through Creative Commons License  

Little Bighorn

Little Bighorn

Little Bighorn in Montana was the site a 2-day battle in which Lakota, Northern Cheyenne and Arapaho people, led by several war leaders, including Crazy Horse, saw decisive victory against US infantry forces led by George Armstrong Custer -- his final battle here would come to be known as “Custer’s Last Stand.” 960 1280

Image by MattSchwartz through Creative Commons License  

Legend Rock Petroglyph Site

Legend Rock Petroglyph Site

Located in Hot Springs County, WY, Legend Rock features nearly 300 individual petroglyphs spread across the face of red-brown sandstone. The petroglyphs, showcasing otherworldly spirit figures, feature some of the oldest examples of rock art in the world, stretching as far back as 3,000 years. 960 1280

iStock  

Totem Poles

Totem Poles

Carved from trees, towering structures like this were the handiwork of the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest coast. Very early European explorers thought totem poles were objects of worship, but later explorers noted they seemed only to illustrate stories. Here’s a view of the Kwakwaka'wakw pole at Thunderbird Park in Victoria, British Columbia. 960 1280

Theodore Scott, flickr  

Crazy Horse Memorial

Crazy Horse Memorial

More than 135 years after his death, Crazy Horse ranks as one of the most notable Native American tribal leaders. Tucked in South Dakota’s Black Hills, the memorial to the famous Lakota warrior is more than 60 years in the making. Current projections call for the memorial's completion by 2020. 960 1280

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Pueblo Bonito

Pueblo Bonito

Chaco Culture National Historical Park is home to the densest and most remarkable concentration of pueblos in the Southwest. Within the park, Pueblo Bonito is the largest. The ancestral Pueblo people constructed the structure between 850 A.D. and 1150 A.D. This “Great House” was the center of the Chacoan world. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde National Park

Another great place to explore the lives of ancestral Pueblo people is Colorado’s Mesa Verde National Park -- it’s home to some of the best-preserved cliff dwellings in the world. Spanning more than 81 square miles, the site encompasses more than 4,000 archaeological sites and 600 cliff dwellings. 960 1280

Ken Lund, flickr  

Cahokia Mounds

Cahokia Mounds

Across the Mississippi River, east of St. Louis, discover an ancient Native American city. Spanning 2,200 acres, the Cahokia Mounds preserve a settlement that thrived more than 500 years before Europeans ever set foot in the New World. In fact, Cahokia was the largest and most influential urban settlement in the Mississippian culture, thriving between 600-1400 A.D. 960 1280

Steve Moss, flickr  

Four Corners Monument

Four Corners Monument

Stand on the exact spot where the states of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah meet. This amazing quadripoint, celebrated in granite and brass, is overseen by the Navajo Nation. As you journey to the site, along US Highway 160, make sure you bring plenty of comforts for the road. The area is remote, with no running water, electricity or telephones. 960 1280

Rich Torres, Wikimedia Commons  

Chumash Painted Cave

Chumash Painted Cave

Inside this small sandstone cave in Santa Barbara, CA, is an amazing sight: ancient rock art attributed to the Chumash people – a Native American people who’ve inhabited the central and southern coastal regions of California for a millennia. 960 1280

Brad Lauster, flickr  

Oklahoma History Center

Oklahoma History Center

Just across the street from the governor’s mansion, the Oklahoma History Center tells the story of prehistoric Native American tribes. The focal point is the ONEOK Gallery: Located on the north end of the museum’s first floor, the gallery showcases the histories of 39 American Indian tribes through art, artifacts, tribal music and more. 960 1280

  

National Museum of the American Indian

National Museum of the American Indian

Explore the story of 1,000 Native American tribes, spanning 10,000 years, at the National Museum of the American Indian. Since it opened on DC’s National Mall in 2004, the museum has preserved the literature, history, languages and arts of America’s earliest peoples through a collection of more than 800,000 objects and a photographic archive of 125,000 images. 960 1280

Allie_Caulfield, flickr  

Cherokee Indian Reservation

Cherokee Indian Reservation

As far back as 3,800 years, the Cherokee people have called western North Carolina home. Today, you can explore that world at the Cherokee Indian Reservation, which includes a recreated village showcasing what life was like for the Cherokee 250 years ago. The reservation is also home to Mingo Falls -- a 120-foot-tall waterfall, one of the tallest in the southern Appalachians. 960 1280

Timothy Wildey, flickr  

Acoma Pueblo

Acoma Pueblo

Sixty miles west of Albuquerque, this Native American pueblo has been inhabited continuously for over 800 years -- making it one of the oldest communities of its kind in the US. Acoma Pueblo spans 3 villages, home to nearly 5,000 people. The grounds also include this Spanish mission church, founded in 1629. 960 1280

Thinkstock   

Native Voices at The Autry

Native Voices at The Autry

The talents of Native American playwrights take center stage at The Autry National Center of the American West. The Los Angeles intercultural center and museum is home to Native Voices, a theatre company dedicated to producing new works such as Kino and Teresa,the story of star-crossed lovers in late-17th century Santa Fe by longtime Angelino James Lujan. 960 1280

Abel Gutierrez  


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