Do you love history? I know I do! The United States has so many amazing historical sites each celebrating American history.  This post will focus on East Coast historical sites!

Lets take a East Coast Historical Site Road Trip and explore some of the best historical sites along the way!

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Historical Sites On the East Coast - Maine

Historical Sites on the East Coast Maine

Maine is ripe with history and a vacation here can be one of learning about the founding of our country as we know it today.  Did you know, for example, that the first Thanksgiving was actually held in what is now known as Popham, Maine? 

I didn’t make that up!  The New England Historical Society says it is so!  While you are in Popham you can visit Fort Popham, a civil war era defense fortification.  

Cushnoc

The Cushnoc Archaeological Site which rests on the trading post, built in 1628, operated by English colonists from Plymouth Colony in present-day Massachusetts.

Augusta

Visiting our capital of Augusta?  Check out Old Fort Western built in 1754 during the French and Indian War, and is now a National Historic Landmark.

Portland

In Portland you can visit the Victoria Mansion which is one of the most historic homes of the 19th century. I personally, love this area. 

If you love nature you can visit the 1st State Park in Maine, Aroostook State Park.

Historical Sites in Maine

No matter the region, Maine is full of history!  Here are some other notable locations throughout Maine:

  • Washburn-Norlands Living History Center-Livermore, Maine

  • Kennebec Aresenal-Augusta, Maine

  • Maine Maritime Academy-Castine, Maine

  • Winslow Homer Studio-Scarborough, Maine

  • Sabbath day Lake Shaker Village-New Gloucester, Maine

  • Fort Kent State Historic Site-Fort Kent, Maine

  • Harriet Beecher Stowe House-Brunswick, Maine

  • Wadsworth-Longfellow House-Portland, Maine

  • Olson House-Cushing, Maine

Contributed By: Tripstotale.com

Fort Adams, Rhode Island

East Coast Historic Site Fort Adams

Newport is an adorable and trendy colonial town on the water in Rhode Island. It lies at the entrance to Narragansett Bay, an important trading route.

History

In 1799, one of the first US Army forts was built in Newport on Brenton Point. It was used in the Mexican–American War, American Civil War, Spanish–American War, World War I, and World War II, although it never fired at an enemy. Even once it wasn’t used as a fort any longer, it still was part of US history, serving as a summer White House for President Dwight D. Eisenhower. 

Fort Adams

Fort Adams is now part of Fort Adams State Park, which contains the fort, hiking trails, fishing spots, and sailing opportunities. You can tour the fort in season, including its unique listening tunnels dug under the fort to listen for enemy activity.

Since the fort is perched on a hill over a peninsula, it is a perfect spot to take in Newport’s incredible views, including that of its bridge. The fort is also an ideal starting point for a bike ride about Newport, Rhode Island.   

Contributed By: Adventuresinnewengland.com

Concord, Massachusetts

East Coast Historic Sites

Concord is one of the most historical towns in the United States. It was the location of “the shot heard round the world” as well as the birthplace of the literary transcendental movement. 

Things to Do in Concord

Visit the Old North Bridge to see the spot where British troops and local militia met in April of 1775. Three British troops were killed along with 2 colonists. The skirmish there began the American Revolution. 

Walk from the North Bridge to the Concord Museum up the hill. Learn all about the military history of the Bridge, Paul Revere’s capture, and other events that happened in 1775.  While you are there you can also learn about the many famous authors who lived in Concord.

Walk back over the bridge and  you can walk next door to visit the home of Ralph Waldo Emerson. He was one of the foremost thinkers of the day and the author of the essay “Self Reliance”.

Next, you can visit the homes of other famous Concord writers. Louisa May Alcott, Henry David Thoreau, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Concord is truly the birthplace of American literature. You can learn more about these authors by visiting the Concord Museum. 

If you decide to visit Concord Massachusetts you are in for a real treat!

Contributed By: Travelswiththecrew.com

Freedom Trail, Boston Massachusetts.

East Coast Historical Sites - Freedom Trail

The Freedom Trail

To really get a taste of the history of Boston, the Freedom Trail is the place to start! It is a 2.5 mile route through the heart of Boston, with 16 historic landmarks to visit on the way. A brick line built into the streets and sidewalks of Boston shows visitors the way as they follow it through the city.

 “One if by Land, Two if by Sea”

Schoolchildren all over the country have learned this famous couplet regarding the British march to Lexington and Concord. On the night of Paul Revere’s ride, two lanterns were hung from the steeple of the Old North Church, as an indication that the British were arriving by sea – across the Charles River.

The Old North Church is just one of the fascinating stops where visitors are reminded of important events in the history of The United States of America. 

Some of the other stops include Boston Common, Faneuil Hall, and Charleston Navy Yard, which also includes the USS Constitution museum. Don’t miss the Freedom Trail on your visit to Boston.

It is one of the best East Coast historical sites!

Contributed By: Serendipityonpurpose.com

Salem, Massachusetts

East Coast Historical Sites Salem

Salem, Massachusetts seems to be synonymous with witches. The town really does have lots more to offer but let’s start with the witches.

Salem’s Witches

To explore the city’s witch history first start with the witch museum. Afterward visit the Witch House, the Salem Witch Dungeon Museum and along with the 3 different burying grounds, the memorial to the victims. Pay homage to those who lost their lives. 

And if you haven’t had enough witch fun check out the shops along Salem’s main pedestrian drag. There you will find many shops to indulge in all things paranormal and witch-like.

Sweet Treats

If, however, you’ve had enough check out the sweeter side of Salem with their famous Sweet Shops. Harbor Sweets is amazing as is Ye Ode Candy Company and for tasting chocolate try Kakawa Chocolate House.

But just walking around town you can feel Colonial times in the architecture of the houses. Explore the side streets and step back in time.

National Historic Site – Salem Harbor

Don’t miss exploring the National Historic Site of Salem Harbor. Your kids can earn a Junior Ranger badge and learn all about being a sailor and how to tie knots.

Of course, you can also enjoy a ride on a replica tall ship and sail out to sea. Viewing the coast from the water and being on the Atlantic Ocean is really something special.

No matter how you explore Salem, I hope you enjoy it as much as my family does.

Contributed By: Intheolivegroves.com

Statue of Liberty - New York

East Coast Historical Site - Statue of Liberty
 

 

The Statue of Liberty is an iconic site and known throughout the world. It is situated in New York City on its own island, Liberty Island, set out in New York Harbour.

Statue of Liberty

The statue whose full name is “The Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World” was a gift from France to the United States to celebrate its freedom and the figure represents Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom.

This 19th century statue was designed by the French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and the distinctive metal body was built by Gustave Eiffel, who built his namesake the Eiffel Tower.

Symbol of Freedom

It is a worldwide symbol of freedom and stood next to Ellis Island, where immigrants would first arrive in to the US from the 1880s. In 1984 it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

 Explore the Statue of Liberty

Today you can take boat trips around it and step out on to Liberty Island and even walk up the inside of the Statue to various viewing platforms.

Some of the best family hotels New York  have views of the Statue of Liberty, it has become the symbol of the city as well as internationally known.

 Contributed By: familyhotelexpert.com

 

Caumsett State historic Park - New York

Historic state park- New York

Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve is a state park on Lloyd Neck, a peninsula in the Long Island Sound, in the Village of Lloyd Harbor, New York.

It is operated by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. In 1921 Marshall Field III purchased 1,750 acres of Lloyd Neck to create one large estate named Caumsett, “place by a shark rock”.

Recreation

In 1961 New York State acquired Caumsett. You can now enjoy fishing, biking, hiking, polo, scuba diving, bird watching,  photography, polo, and horse back riding on the 1,520-acre property.

There is so much to do at Caumsett State Park!

Contributed By: Oneflylife.com

The Green New Haven, Connecticut

Best Historical Sites on the Eat Coast- New Haven

New Haven is one of the oldest cities in the US, founded in 1638 by Puritan colonists, who came here from the northern areas of New England.

First Planned City in the US

It is also the first planned city in the US, designed to have eight residential squares and one green square in the middle.
Initially the square was supposed to be the marketplace – the meeting area of the new residents of New Haven.

Later, a church was built there, and it became the central location for cultural and religious events. Throughout the years, the buildings in The Green were destroyed and new ones were built, but its purpose has remained the same up until these days – a place for recreation and socializing.

The Green

Today, still located in downtown New Haven, The Green is an open park that hosts local events that get people together around art and music.

Three beautiful churches from the 19 th century stand inside The Green, and other historical buildings surround it, with the most impressive one – the old Campus of Yale University.

The Green is one of the most interesting East Coast historical sites and is also a National Historic Landmark. Walking inside or around it, enjoying the quiet and the architecture, makes you feel like a jump back in time.

Contributed By: Thetoptentraveler.com

Lewes, Delaware

East Coast Historic Site

Most people that know Lewes, Delaware associate the location with a summer beach getaway.

However, there is a lot more to Lewes than the beach. Lewes was settled by the Dutch in 1631.  It was later raided by pirates in the late 1600’s and is rumored to have a chest of gold buried in Lewes by the infamous pirate, Captian Kidd.

The main street of Lewes has many fully preserved houses dating back to the late 1600’s as well as a historical society consisting of many historic buildings.

War of 1812

Lewes also played a role in the War of 1812 and one of the homes (now a maritime museum) has a cannonball wedged into the foundation of the house.

Historic Church 

The historic St Peters Episcopal Church, located on Main Street, has a cemetery with gravestones dating back to 1707.

Lewes History Museum 

There is also a Lewes History Museum detailing the history of Lewes, it’s maritime importance, as well as highlighting some of the more important families of Lewes.

Nowadays, families can stroll the Main street of Lewes, popping into some of the boutique shops, eating at the local restaurants and stopping for an ice-cream at the well-known Kings Ice-cream.

It is a fantastic town for families with the history and of course the beach.

Contributed By: Fivefamilyadventures

Gettysburg Pennsylvania

Historical Sites on the East Coast

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania one of the most popular East Coast historical sites.  It is known for its significance in the Civil War. The location of Abraham Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address on November 19, 1863, Gettysburg is more popularly known as the location for the battle of Gettysburg.

History of Gettysburg

This small town in Pennsylvania is part of the Gettysburg National Military Park, a National Battlefield location. The battle of Gettysburg started on July 1, 1863 when General Robert E. Lee marched his confederate troops into Pennsylvania and meet General George G. Meade’s Union troops at the crossroads leading into Gettysburg.

The Union and Confederates fought for 3 days over 11,000+ acres within the town of Gettysburg before General George G. Meade’s troops took the victory of the Potomac and pushed the Confederates out of the area. 

Visit Gettysburg

When visiting Gettysburg visitors have the chance to learn about these 3 significant days in American history as they explore the battlefields, monuments and museums that are all preserved as part of the  Gettysburg National Military Park.

Without the sacrifice of the men, women and children of  Gettysburg, American history could have turned out to be vastly different than what we know today. I highly recommend a trip! 

Contributed By: Portlypassengers.com

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia East Coast historical Site - Independence Hall

Perhaps the most visited place in Philadelphia is Independence Hall. Of course, we are big fans of National Treasure. My favorite part is when they have the Declaration of Independence and pause to reflect that the last time that document was there, it was being signed by our Founding Fathers.

Independence Hall

Independence Hall is run by the National Park Service, and guides take you through the history of the three documents created there, as well as into the rooms of the hall and how they may have been arranged.

Benjamin Franklin Museum

Easily, our favorite highlight of the trip was the Benjamin Franklin Museum. Located on what was once his home, the museum is also run by the National Park System.

The museum itself is in the basement of the location. It contains 5 separate “rooms” that explore the different traits of Mr. Franklin. I knew Benjamin Franklin had done a lot in his life, I don’t think I realized just how much he did.

What makes the Benjamin Franklin Museum the best of the family-friendly things to do in Philadelphia is the interactive exhibits. Here you’ll find videos, touch screen interactive elements, and movable exhibits. We spent well over an hour exploring the museum and grounds. According to the kids, it was the best site we did in Philly.

*Currently these attractions are closed. Be sure to check the websites for updates.

Contributed By: Detailorientedtraveler.com

Pittsburg, Pennsylvania

East Coast Historic Site

Pittsburgh isn’t on the radar for most travelers when they are planning a East Coast historical site trip.  This is surprising considering it’s one of the most charming cities in the US.

It’s the birthplace of the coal industry in the US and one of the products we use everyday in our households – ketchup. John Heinz the maker of Heinz Ketchup went from crushing pickles in his mom’s garden to creating an empire of sauces and soups within a few years.

The incredible history of his life is recorded at one of the most historic buildings in Pittsburgh, the Heinz History Museum.

East Coast Historical Sites

Andrew Carnegie, another Pittsburgh native, not only built Pittsburgh’s steel industry he also built the prestigious Carnegie Mellon University, the two renowned Carnegie museums of Art and Natural History next door and the Carnegie Hall across the street where Batman was shot (the scene with Bane in front of the building that has huge pillars).

Things to See

These temples of knowledge not only have gorgeous architecture, they are full of artifacts of historical significance ranging from Andy Warhol’s college prints (he went to CMU) to the treasure of prehistoric bones found during excavation for steel in the Pittsburgh area to incredible exhibitions from the glass industry that is a core part of the city today.

I think Pittsburgh is truly one of the most historically indulgent cities in the US.

Contributed By: Sunsetjeans.com

Harper's Ferry, West Virginia

Historical Sites on the East Coast - Harpers Ferry

One often overlooked historical site on the East Coast is Harpers Ferry National Historical Park in West Virginia. Located at the intersection between the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers, Harpers Ferry is also at the crossroads of Virginia, Maryland, and West Virginia.

Because of its advantageous location, this site was extremely important during the Civil War and changed hands eight times in just four years.

History of Harpers Ferry

For even more history, Harpers Ferry has roots in the Niagara Movement, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy is headquartered here, and you can even stand where Thomas Jefferson once stood when he visited.

The historic buildings, free guided tours and historical markers throughout the town allow for a history-rich atmosphere, while the river views and fewer tourists make Harpers Ferry the perfect historical getaway.

More to Do at Harper’s Ferry

When visiting, be aware that parking is limited, but Amtrak does have a train stop here. Also, if you want a break from all the history, there is plenty of hiking and outdoor activities to enjoy.

Whether you are a history buff or just want to get away, Harpers Ferry is well worth a visit. 

Contributed By: Thesololife.com

Alexandria, Virginia

East Coast historical Site - Alexandria

Taking a trip to one of the most historic states in the US, just be certain not to miss Alexandria and her sister Washington, DC. Each is a treasure among jeweled treasures. 

Historical Houses

There are many historical houses and museums to be found in Alexandria’s Old Town. Also, if you head about 10 miles south you will get to visit George Washington’s House – Mount Vernon.  It is one of my favorite places.

If you have the children or grandchildren, they will love riding the trolley and the metro located throughout this area.  

Torpedo Factory

If you add an artsy friend along for a ride, visit a favorite spot for our entire family, the Torpedo Factory. Once a munitions plant, the Torpedo Factory is now home to more than 82 artists’ studios.

Contributed By: Borntobeboomers.com

Washington DC

Washington Monument at Night

Washington DC is at the top of the list of East Coast historical sites.  There are so many museums and monuments that represent American history.

I love viewing the monuments at night and taking tours of places such as the White House and Nationals Capitol during the day.  

Visiting the Smithsonian’s is a must!  One thing I love about Washington DC is most of the sites and museum are free.  This is a great stop on your east coast road trip. 

Free East Coast Historical Sites

As you visit Washington DC one thing to note is that all the memorials, monuments, and many of the museums are free.  

  • National Archives Museum
  • National Museum of Natural History
  • United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
  • National Art Gallery
  • The Freer Gallery of Art 
  • National Museum of African Art
  • National Museum of American History
  • US Bureau of Engraving and Printing  
  • National Museum of the American Indian
  • National Air and Space Museum
  • Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
  • National Museum of African American History and Culture

Colonial Williamsburg Virginia

East Coast Historical Sites. Williamsburg, Virginia

Located in Williamsburg, Virginia, Colonial Williamsburg is the largest living history museum in the United States and one of the greatest historical sites on the East Coast to visit.

Since Williamsburg, Virginia was once the Commonwealth’s capital, hundreds of original, restored buildings still stand to create the museum’s collections. 

Things to Do in Williamsburg

If you’re looking for things to do in Williamsburg, spend your day walking around the museum’s grounds, learning from historical reenactors about their history, who will teach you from a “first-person experience” about life in the Colonial period. 

Walking Tours

Throughout the day, Colonial Williamsburg offers several walking tours, each focusing on various museum elements and its history. Although simply walking around the grounds is free, you’ll need to buy tickets to access many of the historic sites. You can find a single day and three-day passes available for purchase on the museum’s website.

Things to Eat

Before you leave, be sure to sit down for a meal at one of the restaurants located in Colonial Williamsburg like The Cheese Shop, Fat Canary, or Mello Mushroom Pizza, and don’t forget to grab dessert from Kilwin’s.

I highly recommend going to Williamsburg! 

Contributed By: Thepuposelylost.com

Savannah Georgia

Historical Sites on the East Coast -Monterery Square

Savannah, the oldest city in Georgia, is a beautiful city full of rich history. The city’s Historic District, the largest National Landmark Historic District in the USA, is home to 22 unique historic squares, beautiful parks, cobblestone streets lined with Spanish moss, and a plethora of historic buildings – many of which are open to visitors.

History

History buffs visiting Savannah will love exploring the historic homes, churches, and other historic buildings dotting the historic district. There are also historical homes you can actually stay in!

Savannah was an important city during the American Civil War, which you can learn more about when visiting the Green-Meldrim House and the Andrew Low House, both of which played an important role during the war.

Haunted History

Are you a fan of haunted history? If so, you’re in luck – Savannah is said to be one of the most haunted cities in the USA, and there is no shortage of ghost tours in town.

You can opt for a haunted history tour of some of the city’s spookiest sights, or take a haunted bar crawl, drinking your way through some of the city’s haunted bars. No matter which tour you choose, you’ll enjoy a night full of frightening fun.

 Savannah is the perfect East Coast historical site to visit! 

Contributed By: Aworldinreach.com

St. Augustine Florida

Historical sites on the east coast St. Augustine Florida

Image Courtesy of Visit Florida

What could be more historical than visiting St. Augustine, the Nation’s Oldest City, located on the east coast of Florida? Let’s take it way back.

History of St. Augustine

In 1513, the famous Spanish explorer Ponce de León landed in Florida, searching for the Fountain of Youth. Sources say he found the magical waters of eternal youth in St. Augustine. And if you visit, you, too, can take a sip from the Fountain of Youth.

Discover history around every corner and down every street in charming St. Augustine. Tour Castillo de San Marcos, the Spanish fortress built to protect the town, and standing strong after over 300 years. They even have canon firings on the weekends.

Things to See in St. Augustine

Check out the oldest wooden schoolhouse constructed in the 1700s, the oldest house, the spooky jail, and take a ghost tour. There’s bound to be some hauntings.

Stroll down the cobblestones of Aviles Street, the oldest street in the oldest city in the USA. Here you can tour four museums, purchase from local artisans selling blown and stained glass, paintings, sculptures, woodworks, and custom jewelry.

Then grab lunch and people-watch at your choice of multiple outdoor restaurants.

Architecture

And for your love of architecture, Flagler College is a must. Established in 1888 as the posh Ponce de León Hotel, now a small private liberal arts college and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Daily tours take you back when hotels were considered art. And don’t miss the Tiffany stained glass windows in the dining hall; they are spectacular.

Contributed By: Travelingpartyof4.com

Are You Ready to See the East Coast Historical Sites?

East Coast Historic Site -Lincoln Memorial

Hopefully, this post on the East Coast historical sites has inspired you to plan an East Coast Vacation.  There are so many amazing places to learn all about American history.  

I know you will enjoy your trip! 

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