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

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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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Tour de France’s 100th
Tour de France’s 100th

Tour de France’s 100th

Cycling’s premier annual event marks its 100th anniversary in 2013. The very first Tour de France comprised a 5-stage race, beginning in Paris and stopping in Lyon, Marseille, Bordeaux and Nantes before returning to Paris. Today, the race typically spans 21 days and a total of 2,000 miles; 2013’s Tour de France will start in Corsica, in the city of Porto-Vecchio, and finish at dusk in Paris. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Grand Central’s 100th

Grand Central’s 100th

This megadaddy of rail travel turns 100 in 2013. Spanning 48 acres, the grand Beaux-Arts-designed terminal has risen and fallen (it went into bankruptcy in 1970 and even faced potential demolition), and risen again. Today, the hub is the world’s sixth most visited tourist attraction, according to a Travel + Leisure survey. 960 1280

Katie Hards   

Groundhog Day at 20

Groundhog Day at 20

Thank the 1993 Bill Murray flick for catapulting this furry little guy onto the national scene. 2013 marks the American comedy-turned-classic’s 20th anniversary. Celebrate with a trip to the central Pennsylvania town of Punxsutawney, where thousands have gathered each year since 1886 to await Punxsutawney Phil’s end-of-winter predictions. According to records dating back to 1887, Phil’s been accurate 39% of the time. 960 1280

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125 Years of Nat Geo

125 Years of Nat Geo

Many leaders have had the National Geographic Society to thank for kindling their imagination in exploring the world around them. Among them was America’s 36th president LBJ -- he once said, “My mother brought me up by putting the Bible in my right hand and the National Geographic magazine in my left.” 960 1280

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Amsterdam’s Big Year

Amsterdam’s Big Year

Amsterdam sees an epic year of milestones ahead: In 2013, Amsterdam marks the 175th birthday of the Artis Royal Zoo, the nation's most famous zoo, which houses 900 species of animals. The Dutch capital is also celebrating the 400th anniversary of its famed Canal Ring, which has given Amsterdam the moniker, "Venice of the North." 960 1280

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Hitchcock’s The Birds 50th

Hitchcock’s The Birds 50th

One day, without warning, this idyllic coastal town in Sonoma County, CA, was attacked by … the birds! Who can ever look at birds the same way after watching Hitchcock’s suspense-horror classic, which turns 50 in 2013. Mark the occasion with a visit to Bodega Bay, and keep a watchful eye on the sky -- you just never know. 960 1280

iStock  

Harley-Davidson at 110

Harley-Davidson at 110

The freedom of the open road, the need for speed -- this journey began 110 years ago in Milwaukee. In 1903, the granddaddy of American motorcycle manufacturers got its start in a small machine shop, where a 23-year-old engineering genius William Sylvester Harley toiled away. Harley worked on a “motor-cycle” with childhood friend Arthur Davidson; the rest is bad-ass history. 960 1280

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The Drive-In Turns 70

The Drive-In Turns 70

This icon of American pop culture became official 70 years ago, when a chemical company magnate was granted a patent for his invention: an outdoor theater. From humble beginnings (the first drive-in opened in Pennsauken Township, NJ), the drive-in movie theater peaked in popularity from the late 1950s to early 1960s. You can relive the glory days at retro drive-ins like Sandell Theater in Clarendon, TX. 960 1280

Orange County Archives, flickr  

Lamborghini at 50

Lamborghini at 50

You are what you drive. Who’d want to admit that -- unless, of course, you’re driving this motor-sportin’ beaut. Fifty years ago, the Italian luxury sports car manufacturer got its start in the northern Italian town of Sant'Agata Bolognese. In May 2013, the automaker celebrates by hosting a 700-mile road trip through northern and central Italy. Andiamo! 960 1280

Ben_in_london, flickr  

David Livingstone's 200th

David Livingstone's 200th

“Dr. Livingstone, I presume?” Why, indeed it is: 2013 marks the 200th anniversary of the famed Scottish explorer’s birth. At the age of 27, the young missionary headed for Africa. Fascinated by the continent’s beauty, he went on to spend 30 years in places such as modern-day Botswana and Zambia. In the end, his one regret was that he hadn’t spent enough time with his children. Honor the great doctor’s legacy; take the kids on safari. 960 1280

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Elvis’ Aloha from Hawaii 40th

Elvis’ Aloha from Hawaii 40th

We’re caught in a trap, I can’t walk out … and why would you want to? Not when the setting is the beautiful Aloha State. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the King’s live concert from the capital city of Honolulu. Celebrate Elvis’ love of all things Hawaiian with your own journey to his favorite spots, like Hanauma Bay, featured in his films Blue Hawaii and Paradise, Hawaiian Style. 960 1280

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Emancipation Proclamation's 150th

Emancipation Proclamation's 150th

With a stroke of the pen, Abraham Lincoln opened the door to the eradication of America’s greatest evil. The end of slavery would not come with the simple signing of this executive order on Jan. 1, 1863, but it did make abolition an official goal of the Civil War. Revisit that chapter in the exhibit “Changing America,” at Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History through Sept. 15, 2013. 960 1280

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Gettysburg at 150

Gettysburg at 150

“Four score and 7 years ago …” The passion of Abraham Lincoln’s words, all 272 of them, gave meaning to what history would record as the bloodiest battle of the Civil War. Relive this pivotal moment in US history with a trip to this stretch of southern Pennsylvania, during the 150th anniversary year of the Battle of Gettysburg and the Gettysburg Address. 960 1280

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I Have a Dream Turns 50

I Have a Dream Turns 50

Fifty years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. led the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom; stand in the exact spot where MLK delivered his speech at the Lincoln Memorial. 2013 sees other big civil rights anniversaries, including the 100th birthday of the “first lady of civil rights” Rosa Parks and the 50th anniversary of protests in Birmingham, AL, that triggered a national dialogue about the need for civil rights for African-American citizens. 960 1280

Getty Images  

West Virginia's 150th

West Virginia's 150th

The Mountain State marks its 150th anniversary in 2013. In June 1863, at the height of the Civil War, an expanse of land in the Appalachian Mountain range broke away from the state of Virginia, becoming the only state to form by seceding from the Confederacy. Among West Virginia’s must-see sites is the New River Gorge, a 3,030-foot-long steel arch bridge near Fayetteville, WV. 960 1280

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