20 Historic Sites in Virginia

Mt. Vernon

Location: Northern Virginia

George Washington’s beloved home, Mount Vernon is a beautiful place to visit just down the Potomac River from Olde Towne Alexandria. As you enter, you’ll be taken through an interactive exhibit that covers George Washington’s life and death. With some basic knowledge under your belt, you’ll head down to the main house. The elegance of the area is well preserved, with much of the original furniture and artifacts, and friendly guides in every room will tell you stories about the Washingtons and their life here as you proceed in the tour.

There are multiple other attractions to visit on the land, like Washington’s gardens, stables, granary, and grave. You can also see the slave quarters and talk with the volunteers about Washington’s thoughts on slavery. Near the entrance and exit of the property, there are huge shops for souvenirs, and a very good Colonial-style restaurant.

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Colonial Williamsburg

Location: Southern Virginia

Colonial Williamsburg is one of the best attractions in Southern Virginia. This section of historic houses, shops, and workplaces is manned by volunteers and staff who are passionate about what they do. Whether you want to know about weaving or shoe-making or binding books or making swords, they will be happy to talk you through the process. This magical hole in time is saved from being corny by the workers’ devotion to their subjects, and it is truly a delight to visit. Also, there are plenty of tasty pubs along the main street! Free to wander, but you’ll have to buy a day ticket to go into most of the houses.

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Arlington National Cemetery

Location: Northern Virginia

Arlington House was seized from Confederate General Robert E. Lee after the end of the Civil War, and the land surrounding the house was made into a graveyard for soldiers. The house itself provides an interesting look into Robert E. Lee’s home life and times, while the cemetery is a beautiful if sad place to meander. On the grounds, you’ll find John F. Kennedy buried, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (always manned, whatever the weather), and other nooks of historical significance.

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