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What to see in Washington DC and the East Coast when you are on SOTW4?


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I am taking off again ( I have road fever and love our "field trips"). I do like to keep my classical chronology when traveling.


I will be in DC in April and can easily visit other points along the East Coast.


We are on SOTW4 - please pass along some of your recommendations.


Many thanks!

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Oooh - I just love the museums in DC.


You can visit the Capital - sometimes you can see a session in progress.


Go up the "needle" - Washington Monument - gives you a bird's eye view of the Whitehouse, Capital and others.


a nice place to start is the Smithsonian Castle- they have samples of displays from each of their different museums - so you can get a taste of what to expect at each of their different museums - also have medals of various olympic winners.


If you like Cathedrals, then the National cathedral is wonderful to visit, and is open for tourists all the time, even when a service is in progress


The smithsonian air and space museum has displays which will tie in with your physics studies.


the smithsonian african art museum is a small gallery, with a wonderful variety of aritifacts from different african countries / tribes and eras - including modern art. SOTW4 includes South Africa and there is modern art from South Africa depicting the recent history of South Africa


Tours of the whitehouse are possible, but you need to arrange for this in advance.


Quantico is the US Marine Museum - not in DC, if you have a car then you will be able to get there - they have displays from the various wars, not violent or disturbing, if you have boys then they will love the real tanks, planes, lifesize displays with soldiers in various wars, for example one war in the hot dessert , the room is heated and dry, then another war in some or other cold place the room is icy cold - I am not a fan of war, so I don't know the names, but my boys loved it.


the smithsonian museums have a cafeteria area, where you can bring your own brown bag lunch, or buy subs, coffee etc.


LMK if you have other questions.

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just remembered, April is a good time for the Cherry Blossoms - just don't go on the day of the Cherry Blossom festival itself, the crowds are horrendous, the Japanese gave the trees to Dc as a gift, planted the trees all around the Tidal Basin, Lincoln Monument.

This is my favorite part of DC :)

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If you can get there... Williamsburg/Jamestown/Yorktown.

Mt. Vernon (George Washington's Home)

Call your Congressman and get tickets to the Congressional tour and the White House Tour... there is also a US Treasury Tour, and I believe an "Old Post Office" tour.


Visit the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials (and War Memorials, if interested).


Washington Navy Yard has an interesting museum.


If you can get there... Annapolis (US Naval Academy), has some cool history stuff.


Depending upon the ages/maturity of the children, Antietam Battlefield.


Our favorite museums in Washington include the Museum of Natural History, the US History Museum, the Air and Space Museum, Washington Monument... the US Library of Congress, The Supreme Courthouse building... pretty much everything around the Mall!

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We just did this trip in October! We went for variety, volume (it will probably be the only time we'll all visit the east coast as a family), and mostly free things. To cut costs, we took a cooler for food, and stayed in places with a fridge and microwave, and heated up breakfasts/dinners, and packed lunches. Be aware that the Philadelphia Mint doesn't allow food, drinks or cameras. Some of the Museums in Washington DC don't allow drinks or food inside. We enjoyed eating our packed lunch outside in the National Art Gallery Sculpture Garden.


We did almost all of the sites listed below. It was an awesome trip! Enjoy! Warmest regards, Lori D.


PS -- And be sure to take proof of homeschooling status. I had ID cards to the 2 homeschool organizations we are members of, and those cards got me (as a teacher) into the Franklin Institute for FREE, and gave us discounts to other sites. So always remember to ask, wherever you go, if there is a teacher/educator discount! : )




- free = Liberty Bell = http://www.nps.gov/inde/liberty-bell-center.htm

- free = Independence Hall = http://www.nps.gov/inde/independence-hall-1.htm

- free guided tour = US Mint = http://www.usmint.gov/mint_tours/index.cfm?flash=yes&action=philadelphia

- Franklin Institute Science Museum (*great* science museum! worth the price!) = http://www2.fi.edu/




- free self guided tour = Valley Forge = http://www.nps.gov/vafo/

- free self guided tour = Gettysburg = http://www.gettysburg.com/




- free guided tour = USS Constitution ("Old Ironsides"), oldest still in service US warship, Charlestown Navy Yard at Boston Harbor = http://www.ussconstitution.navy.mil/

(gun is fired each day at the lowering of the flag at sunset)

- free guided tour = USS Cassin Young WW2 battleship, Charlestown Navy Yard at Boston Harbor = http://www.nps.gov/bost/historyculture/usscassinyoung.htm

- free = Charlestown Navy Yard Visitor's Center, at Boston Harbor = http://www.nps.gov/bost/historyculture/cny.htm

- free guided tour = Freedom Trail (Boston historic sites) = http://www.nps.gov/bost/planyourvisit/guidedtours.htm




- free = Halibut Point State Park (beautiful park on the grounds of an old quarry, with trails and beach) = http://www.mass.gov/dcr/parks/northeast/halb.htm



New Jersey

- Liberty State Park (view of Statue of Liberty; ferries to Ellis Island, 1890s-1950s arrival point for many immigrants) = http://www.libertystatepark.org/

- free = Barnegat Lighthouse State Park (climb to top of lighthouse, in operation 1830s-1940s) = http://www.longbeachisland.com/history.html

- Cape May-Lewes Ferry (we saw porpoises and jellyfish swimming in the water during our crossing on the ferry!) = http://www.capemaylewesferry.com/



Washington DC

- free = National Archives (Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, letters to various 1900s US presidents, modern documents, etc.) = http://www.archives.gov/nae/

- free = US Holocaust Memorial Museum (somber, very worthwhile; covers 1930s-1940s) = http://www.ushmm.org/

- free guided tour = US Capitol Building (incredible artwork/architecture inside!), White House, Supreme Court (call your state's senator/representative 2 months in advance for timed tickets)

- free = Smithsonian Museum of Natural History = http://www.mnh.si.edu/

- free = Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum = http://www.nasm.si.edu/

- free = Smithsonian National Museum of American History = http://americanhistory.si.edu/

- free = National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden = http://www.nga.gov/exhibitions/sculptureinfo.shtm'>http://www.nga.gov/exhibitions/sculptureinfo.shtm

- free = National Gallery of Art = http://www.nga.gov/

- free = various memorials on the Washington DC National Mall

(Lincoln, Washington, Marines (Iwo Jima statue), Vietnam Wall, Korean War)

- free = Library of Congress (incredible artwork/architecture inside!) = http://myloc.gov/pages/default.aspx


Arlington National Cemetery

- changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (honoring fallen dead from WW1, WW2, Korea, Vietnam) = http://www.arlingtoncemetery.org/ceremonies/sentinelsotu.html

- gravesite of JFK = http://www.arlingtoncemetery.org/visitor_information/JFK.html

- guided tour of Robert E. Lee's mansion in the center of the cemetery = http://www.nps.gov/arho/




- Monticello (Thomas Jefferson's home) (innovatively designed home by Jefferson; beautiful grounds; several types of guided tours) = http://www.monticello.org/

- Colonial Williamsburg = http://www.history.org/

- Jamestown Settlement = http://www.historyisfun.org/Jamestown-Settlement.htm

- First Landing State Park, Virginia Beach, VA = http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state_parks/fir.shtml

Edited by Lori D.
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