Video: History Lesson in Belfast

Michael and Mariana speak with Protestant loyalist about "the Troubles."
Bwzenith / iStock / Getty Images Plus

A Journey Through Time

Every city, state and country has historic sites that tell a story, whether it’s as significant as the signing of the Declaration of Independence or as simple as the childhood of a famous author. And when you connect with those stories, you can truly connect with your destination.

Get Inspired

texas, attractions, state fair, ferris wheel
Texas State Fair

Texas State Fair

Get ready for 24 days of excitement... and lots of fried food: deep-fried Oreos, deep-fried s'mores, deep-fried pork ribs, deep-fried peanut butter… did we say “fried”? But first, hop aboard this 212-foot-high Ferris wheel, the largest in North America, at the Texas State Fair -- a tradition since 1886 that takes place every fall at Dallas’ historic Fair Park. 960 1280

webtoaster777 / Getty Images  

Texas State Capitol

Texas State Capitol

When the Texas State Capitol was unveiled in 1888, it was billed as the “Seventh Largest Building in the World.” It’s still pretty spectacular: Surrounded by 22 acres of grounds and monuments, the capitol in Austin, Texas, has nearly 400 rooms and over 900 windows, making it the largest state capitol in the U.S. 960 1280

joe daniel price / Getty Images  

Congress Avenue Bridge Bats

Congress Avenue Bridge Bats

Bats, bats and more bats. Every spring, hundreds of thousands of mostly female, pregnant Mexican free-tailed bats migrate north to give birth; the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge in downtown Austin is their favorite hangout. See this spectacular sight for yourself -- it’s the largest urban bat colony in North America. 960 1280

Steve Kaufman / Getty Images  

Cowboys Stadium

Cowboys Stadium

Go Cowboys! Venture inside the Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, and prepare to be wowed: With a seating capacity of 85,000 spectators, it’s the third-largest stadium in the NFL. It’s also home to the world's largest column-free interior and the fourth largest high-def video screen. Plus, it’s the world’s largest domed structure.
960 1280

Jed Jacobsohn / Getty Images  

Houston Rodeo

Houston Rodeo

Check out heart-stopping action like this at the Houston Rodeo, the world's biggest live entertainment and livestock exhibition, held each March. The annual 20-day show attracts between 60,000 and 150,000 people each day. 960 1280

Christian Petersen / Getty Images  

The Alamo

The Alamo

Remember the Alamo! Visit the Alamo, a Roman Catholic mission and fortress of yore near modern-day San Antonio that saw 13 days of battle between Mexican and Texan forces in 1836. Each year, more than 2.5 million people visit the 4.2-acre complex, which endures as a dramatic symbol of Texas’ independence from Mexico.
960 1280

Dean Fikar / Getty Images  

San Antonio River Walk

San Antonio River Walk

Talk a stroll along the San Antonio River Walk, a lively pedestrian walkway along the banks of the river lined with shops, bars and restaurants. Or glide along in an open-air taxi. Quieter stretches of the river walk await along its northern section, known as Museum Reach; a river taxi stop is located here, near the San Antonio Museum of Art. 960 1280

Don Klumpp / Getty Images  

Schlitterbahn

Schlitterbahn

Splish-splash, plunge into fun at Schlitterbahn, a family-owned-and-operated waterpark with several locations throughout Texas. Take your pick: the 26-acre Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark, the 15-acre Schlitterbahn Beach Waterpark on South Padre Island, and in summer 2013 Schlitterbahn Cedar Park, an entertainment resort eventually slated to span 95 acres. 960 1280

Schlitterbahn  

Barbecue in Lockhart, Texas

Barbecue in Lockhart, Texas

Don't leave Texas without tearing into a rack of BBQ ribs. THE place to go is Lockhart, Texas. Billed as the “Barbecue Capital of Texas,” this small city 25 miles southeast of Austin is home to four major barbecue restaurants (including Kreuz Market), which attract roughly 250,000 BBQ-lovers each year. 960 1280

Dennis Sabo  

SeaWorld San Antonio

SeaWorld San Antonio

What kid wouldn’t love this? Find these adorable bottlenose dolphins at SeaWorld San Antonio’s Dolphin Cove. The 250-acre marine mammal park, oceanarium and animal theme park is the largest of the three waterparks in the SeaWorld chain; it is also home to the world’s largest marine-life park. 960 1280

Nan Palmero, flickr  

Texas Hill Country

Texas Hill Country

In a state second only to Alaska in size, take time out for a Texas day trip to a place refreshingly... mall. Kick back in the tranquil town of Fredericksburg, Texas. Located in the heart of Texas Hill Country, the town still retains the personable touch of its early settlement days, in 1846 by 120 German immigrants. Explore quaint shops like this, big on small-town charm. 960 1280

Stephen Saks / Getty Images  

Palo Duro Canyon

Palo Duro Canyon

Put your pedal to the metal with a mountain-bike trek through Palo Duro. Known as the “Grand Canyon of Texas,” this sweep of rock and mesa walls in the Texas Panhandle is the second largest canyon in the U.S. For more natural wonders, head south to Big Bend National Park, the largest protected area of Chihuahuan Desert in the U.S. 960 1280

Danita Delimont / Getty Images  

South by Southwest

South by Southwest

The largest music festival of its kind in the world, South by Southwest attracts more than 2,000 performers each year, playing in 100 venues. Recent headliners have included Lee Ann Womack and Lucinda Williams, along with conference guests like Al Gore, author Neil Gaiman and... Grumpy Cat. 960 1280

Sean Mathis / Getty Images  

Rio Grande Valley

Rio Grande Valley

If it’s bird-watching you’re after, head to the Rio Grande Valley. Situated in the southernmost tip of South Texas, the valley is home to more than 500 bird species, including many tropical bird species -- found nowhere else in the U.S. -- that don’t stray far from the tranquil Rio Grande River (pictured). 960 1280

Danita Delimont / Getty Images  

Billy Bob’s Texas

Billy Bob’s Texas

Texas and honky-tonk go hand-in-hand, and the place for all the boot-stomping action is Billy Bob’s Texas. This country-and-western nightclub in the Fort Worth Stockyards, near Dallas, bills itself as the “world’s largest honky-tonk -- and with more than 127,000 square feet, that’s no exaggeration. 960 1280

Stephen Saks / Getty Images  

Johnson Space Center

Johnson Space Center

Think you have the right stuff? Find out at Johnson Space Center, a 1,621-acre complex where NASA astronauts and international partners train for space missions. Take a tram tour past sites such as Historic Mission Control, where NASA once monitored space programs. 960 1280

Danny Lehman / Getty Images  

Dallas Zoo

Dallas Zoo

If you’ve got kids, they’ll want to see this zoo. Spanning 106 acres, the Dallas Zoo ranks as the largest of its kind in Texas. It’s also the oldest (established in 1888), with an impressive list of exotic creatures: Find them in the “Giants of the Savanna,” an 11-acre expanse home to giraffes, impala, zebras, lions, cheetahs, elephants and more. 960 1280

Perry Quan, flickr  

Debris at Japan's Sendai Airport
Debris at Japan's Sendai Airport

Debris at Japan's Sendai Airport

In March, an 8.9 magnitude earthquake shook Japan and triggered a tsunami. At the Sendai Airport in Natori, Miyagi, Japan, the tsunami washed debris inland, including a private plane. The quake was also responsible for destabilizing a power plant in the region. 960 1280

Getty  

Texas Wildfires

Texas Wildfires

Emergency crews battle one of the most destructive wildfires in Texas history. The fire claimed 2 lives, destroyed 1500 homes, burned more than 45 square miles around Bastrop and created a smoky haze over Austin, 25 miles to the west. 960 1280

Getty  

Tornado damage in Joplin,MO

Tornado damage in Joplin,MO

A tornado rips through a neighborhood in Joplin, MO, killing more than 120 people on May 25, 2011, making it the United States’ single deadliest tornado in 60 years. 960 1280

Getty  

Arizona Wildfires

Arizona Wildfires

A massive Arizona wildfire spread over 400,000 acres of land, including a portion of the Coronado National Forest. The fire destroyed 29 homes, and at one point, 10, 000 people were evacuated from the area. 960 1280

Getty  

Car submerged after Christchurch Earthquake

Car submerged after Christchurch Earthquake

A car is half submerged in water and thick mud after a 6.0 magnitude earthquake and a 5.5 magnitude earthquake strike Christchurch, New Zealand, on June 13, 2011. 960 1280

Getty  

Chilean restaurant covered in Volcano Ash

Chilean restaurant covered in Volcano Ash

After lying dormant for more than 50 years, Chile's Puyehue volcano erupted in June. Thick ash covered homes and this restaurant. Thousands of residents were evacuated. 960 1280

Getty  

Washington National Cathedral damage from Earthquake

Washington National Cathedral damage from Earthquake

A 5.9 earthquake shook the East Coast of the United States on August 23, 2011, causing damage to the Washington National Cathedral, in the nation’s capital. Although the epicenter was located near Mineral, VA, residents in southern Ontario, Canada felt the quake. 960 1280

Getty  

Stranded men on flooded road after Hurricane Irene

Stranded men on flooded road after Hurricane Irene

Hurricane Irene’s powerful 85-mph winds cause major damage in the Caribbean and on the East Coast, including North Carolina, where several roads were completely washed away, stranding travelers. 960 1280

Getty  

Turkey earthquake damage

Turkey earthquake damage

A 7.1 magnitude earthquake wreaks havoc in Van, Turkey on October 30, 2011. More than 600 people were killed and at least 11,232 buildings sustained some damage. On November 9, a 5.7 magnitude earthquake hits Van again, causing 40 deaths and hundreds of injuries. 960 1280

Getty  

Tropical Storm Lee washes out bridge

Tropical Storm Lee washes out bridge

Tropical Storm Lee hits the US Gulf Coast on September 1, 2011, causing major storms and heavy rainfall in south Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and the Florida panhandle. Rains caused significant flooding and damage in these areas. 960 1280

Ruhrfisch, Wikimedia Commons  

Arizona Dust Storm

Arizona Dust Storm

A major dust storm sweeps through the southern portion of the southwest Arizona, including Phoenix, on July 5, 2011. Triggered by thunderstorms and high winds, the storm causes flight delays and sparks numerous reports of power outages. 960 1280

Reuters  

Thailand Flooding

Thailand Flooding

In July, floods strike Thailand, killing nearly 400 people and disrupts the lives of more the 2 million people. This photo, taken in November, shows residents using boats, make-shift rafts or traveling by foot, through flood waters in northern Bangkok. 960 1280

Reuters  

Arkansas Dead Birds

Arkansas Dead Birds

A few unexplained events happened this year, including thousands of blackbirds that fell out of the sky in Beebe, Arkansas. Stress from New Year's Eve fireworks may have caused the deaths of up to 5,000 birds. 960 1280

Reuters  

Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II

London Celebrates the Queen
Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her Diamond Jubilee this year, marking her 60th year as monarch. A weekend of events in June is planned throughout the Commonwealth, culminating in a Royal Air Force flyover and a "Fire of Joy," a celebratory cascade of rifle fire given as a salute by the Queen's Guard.
960 1280

Getty Images  

Spider-Man turns 50

Spider-Man turns 50

Spider-Man Turns 50
Spider-Man made his first appearance in comics in 1962, making this his 50th anniversary. The newest Spiderman movie is also set for release this summer -- the perfect birthday gift for Spidey.
960 1280

Getty Images  

A War of 1812 reenactment

A War of 1812 reenactment

War of 1812 Bicentennial
The US declared war on Britain 200 years ago, setting off the War of 1812. This year bicentennial celebrations are being held by 10 states, as well as Washington, DC and Ontario.
960 1280

Getty Images  

Titanic Exhibit in DC

Titanic Exhibit in DC

100 Years After the Titanic Tragedy
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Titanic's sinking, sparking renewed interest in the tragedy. James Cameron's Titanic movie has been rereleased in 3-D, and the National Geographic Museum in Washington, DC, has a new exhibit, "Titanic: 100 Year Obsession," which includes props from the 1997 movie.
960 1280

Getty Images  

Arizona celebrates its centennial

Arizona celebrates its centennial

Arizona Celebrates Its Centennial
Arizona has taken on a series of statewide projects to commemorate its centennial. Projects include a documentary following 100 Arizona ranchers whose families have been ranching in the state since 1912 and a new museum that explores what it means to be an Arizonian.
960 1280

Thinkstock  

100 years of the Cherry Blossom Festival

100 years of the Cherry Blossom Festival

The National Cherry Blossom Festival
A century ago, Japan gave Washington, DC, a gift of 3,000 cherry blossom trees as a token of friendship. Each year, the US capital is painted pink with the blossoms, which lure visitors from all over the world.
960 1280

Thinkstock  

Louisiana's 200th year of statehood

Louisiana's 200th year of statehood

Louisiana's Bicentennial
To commemorate Louisiana's 200th anniversary, the Louisiana Bicentennial Commission has drawn up with a list of 200 free things that visitors can do in the state. These include visiting the state's 180-mile long Creole Nature Trail, which is home to 400 bird species.
960 1280

Thinkstock  

Charles Dickens turns 200

Charles Dickens turns 200

Charles Dickens' Birthday
Even though Charles Dickens turned 200 back in February, the party is continuing all year long with a Dickensian exhibit at the Museum of London and a guided tour through Chalk Church, which was featured in Great Expectations.
960 1280

Getty Images  

New Mexico's 100th year as a state

New Mexico's 100th year as a state

New Mexico's 100th Year
New Mexico celebrates 100 years of statehood this year. As part of the celebration, the state's governor created the Centennial Children's Legacy Fund, which hopes to improve the education and welfare of New Mexico's children.
960 1280

Nicholas_T, flickr  

Golden Gate Bridge celebrates 75 years

Golden Gate Bridge celebrates 75 years

The Golden Gate Bridge Turns 75
For the Golden Gate Bridge's 75th anniversary in May, San Francisco is going all out with a day-long festival that will celebrate the history of the bridge and the culture of the city -- all culminating in a fireworks grand finale.
960 1280

Geoff Stearns, flickr  

The Space Needle opened 50 years ago

The Space Needle opened 50 years ago

The Space Needle's 50th Anniversary
Fifty years ago, when the Space Needle opened at the Seattle World's Fair, it was called "The Space Cage." It was built in just 1 year and 4 days.
960 1280

Thinkstock  

One World Trade Center
One World Trade Center

One World Trade Center

Amid cheers and whistles from workers, the final piece of the spire of One World Trade Center is hoisted into place in May 2013. More than 10 years after NYC’s skyline was changed forever, the new building -- now the tallest in the United States -- rises 1,776 feet into the air, a testament to the Big Apple’s resilience in the years following the day that would come to mark the single-largest loss of civilian life on US soil. 960 1280

REUTERS/Gary He  

One World Trade Center

One World Trade Center

In years past, visitors from around the world came to pay their respects and see the progress being made on 1 World Trade Center. 960 1280

Travel Channel  

9/11 Memorial Plaza

9/11 Memorial Plaza

People walk through the 9/11 Memorial Plaza at One World Trade Center, site of the original World Trade Center Towers. Nearly 400 trees fill the plaza, inviting visitors to reflect on the events that occurred here. Meanwhile, One World Trade Center is set to open for business in 2014, with companies including Conde Nast and Vantone Holdings soon to have offices here. 960 1280

Mario Tama/Getty Images  

9/11 Memorial Plaza

9/11 Memorial Plaza

New York police, firefighters and Port Authority officers at one of the entrances of the 9/11 Memorial Plaza during the 10th anniversary ceremony. In all, 343 firefighters (including FDNY fire chaplain Mychal Judge), 23 NYPD officers and 37 Port Authority police officers lost their lives in the Sept. 11 attacks. Roughly 2,000 first responders were also injured that day. 960 1280

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images   

9/11 Memorial Museum

9/11 Memorial Museum

Two steel "tridents," which once held up the Twin Towers’ walls, stand in the entry of the pavilion area of the future 9/11 Memorial Museum. The museum, located 7 stories below the Memorial Plaza, is set to open in spring 2014, with 110,000 square feet of exhibition space dedicated to recounting the events of 9/11 through multimedia displays and voice recordings, like that of flight attendant CeeCee Lyles. 960 1280

REUTERS/Mike Segar  

WTC Site, Lower Manhattan

WTC Site, Lower Manhattan

In past years on Sept. 11, 2 columns of lights marked the place where NYC's Twin Towers once stood. 960 1280

Reuters  

9/11 Memorial

9/11 Memorial

The 9/11 Memorial in NYC honors the nearly 3,000 people who died in the Twin Towers and on the ground, near Shanksville, PA, and at the Pentagon, along with those who died in the World Trade Center bombing in 1993. 960 1280

Joe Woolhead  

North Memorial Pool

North Memorial Pool

US flags honor the memory of 25-year-old Bryan Bennett, whose name is etched into the rim of the north pool of the 9/11 Memorial. Bennett was one of the 2,606 who died in the World Trade Center attacks; he worked for eSpeed, a company that occupied the North Tower (1 World Trade Center). 960 1280

Jefferson Siegel-Pool/Getty Images  

Flight 93 Memorial

Flight 93 Memorial

After nearly 10 years of planning and fundraising, the Flight 93 National Memorial near Shanksville, PA, was officially dedicated on Sept. 10, 2011. The first phase of the memorial saw completion with the Wall of Names. The names of all 40 passengers and crew who perished on the flight are etched into the white marble. 960 1280

Jeff Swensen/Getty Images  

Flight 93 Memorial

Flight 93 Memorial

The Flight 93 memorial near Shanksville, PA, honors the 40 people who died on the hijacked flight trying to save others. The memorial was dedicated on the 10th anniversary of the attacks, with fundraising efforts led in large part by Flight 93 families. 960 1280

Paul Murdoch  

Pentagon at Night

Pentagon at Night

Dedicated in 2008, the Pentagon Memorial honors those 184 men and women who died on American Airlines Flight 77 and in the Pentagon itself. Each of the benches displays the name of a victim. They are organized from youngest to oldest, from 3-year-old Dana Falkenberg to 71-year-old John Yamnicky Sr. 960 1280

Michael Myers, flickr  

Pentagon Memorial

Pentagon Memorial

Young visitors pay their respects at the 9/11 memorial outside the Pentagon in Washington, DC. Maple trees are planted on the grounds of the memorial, which is open 7 days a week, year-round. 960 1280

Reuters  

Pentagon Memorial

Pentagon Memorial

Each year DC-area residents pay tribute to the victims of the attack on the Pentagon. Here, members of the military stand in unison, holding state flags. In 2013, President Obama will travel to the Pentagon Memorial to attend the Sept. 11th Observance Ceremony. 960 1280

Reuters  

Caribbean island, Hispaniola
Hispaniola

Hispaniola

Christmas Day 1492 wasn’t all glad tidings and good cheer for Christopher Columbus. On a journey to the northern coast of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, one of Columbus’ 3 ships, the Santa Maria, ran aground and had to be abandoned. It was the first of Columbus’ 4 voyages to the Americas. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Bay of Arrows

Bay of Arrows

Columbus didn’t exactly get a warm welcome when he landed on the Samana Peninsula (in present-day Dominican Republic). He met with violent resistance from the Ciguayos, one of the nations of the Caribbean islands. Because of the Ciguayos' use of arrows, Columbus called the inlet where he encountered them the Bay of Arrows. Historians have since debated its exact location: Some say it is the Bay of Rincon, others that it is Samana Bay. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Lisbon

Lisbon

The good times kept on coming as Columbus headed for Spain, on the last leg of his first voyage. He soon had to put those plans on hold, as a storm forced his fleet into Lisbon. There Columbus anchored next to Portugal King John II’s harbor partrol ship. Columbus spent the next week in Portugal, before he was able to continue on to Spain. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

La Navidad

La Navidad

Nine months later, Columbus once again set sail for the high seas. This time, on his second voyage, he returned to Hispaniola, where he intended to visit the fort of La Navidad (built during his first voyage). However, Columbus discovered that the fort, located on the northern coast of Haiti, had been destroyed by the native Taino people. Centuries later, in 1977, an amateur archeologist excavated artifacts from La Navidad. 960 1280
La Isabela

La Isabela

It seemed like a good idea at the time. When Columbus sailed more than 60 miles eastward, along Hispaniola’s northern coast, he established the settlement of La Isabela, in present-day Dominican Republic. But in 1494 and then, in 1495, the settlement was struck by 2 North Atlantic hurricanes. Hunger, disease and mutiny soon followed, until Columbus abandoned the settlement altogether. 960 1280

Wikimedia Commons  

Cuba ... Part of Asia?

Cuba ... Part of Asia?

That's what Columbus was thinking when he arrived in Cuba (which he named Juana) on April 30, 1494. Exploring the island’s southern coast, Columbus placed his bets that it was part of a peninsula connected to mainland Asia. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Gulf of Paria

Gulf of Paria

And this must be the Garden of Eden! That’s what Columbus concluded as he sailed the Gulf of Paria (between present-day Trinidad and Venezuela). The nice climate, the abundance of food, the friendliness of the natives and the richness of the area’s natural resources all led him to that conclusion. He also wagered that, based on the rotation of the pole star in the sky, the Earth must not be perfectly spherical, but rather bulged out like a pear around the new-found continent we now know as South America. 960 1280
Tropical beach, Hispaniola

Tropical beach, Hispaniola

Columbus wasn’t feeling so well when he returned to Hispaniola on Aug. 19, 1498, during his third voyage. He felt even worse when he discovered that many of the Spanish settlers of the new colony were in rebellion against his rule, saying that Columbus had misled them about the supposedly bountiful riches of the New World. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Santo Domingo

Santo Domingo

Columbus’ fourth and final voyage met with choppy waters in June 1502. When his fleet arrived in Santo Domingo, it was denied port by the new governor. But Columbus got his revenge. He told the governor a storm was coming. The gov didn’t listen … to his demise. He ended up surrendering to the sea, along with 29 of his 30 ships. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Belen River, Panama

Belen River, Panama

Columbus’ 4 ships took a bruising while cruising through present-day Panama. Locals had told Columbus about gold and a strait to another ocean. Columbus set out on an exploration and established a garrison at the mouth of Panama’s Belen River. In April 1503, one of Columbus’ ships became stranded in the river. Meanwhile, the garrison was attacked by the Guaymí locals. Further headaches followed when shipworms damaged the ships at sea. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

St Ann's Bay, Jamaica

St Ann's Bay, Jamaica

Columbus’ ships sustained further damage when a storm hit off the coast of Cuba. Unable to travel on, the fleet was beached in St. Ann’s Bay, in Jamaica. For 1 year, Columbus and his men remained stranded in Jamaica before help arrived. In all, Columbus’ voyages stretched over 12 years, and -- a few misadventures aside -- opened the door to the “New World." 960 1280

The Hot List

Explore America’s most stunning scenery.
Join the conversation on Social Media!
Stay updated on the latest travel tips and trends.
Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss Travel Channel in your favorite social media feeds.