Photo Tour of American Independence

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With Independence Day fast approaching a visual tour of some of the nation’s top historical sites is as easy as entering a few key search terms into the Dreamstime search box. You will quickly find some of the most important landmarks and buildings that were involved in shaping the country at the time of its beginning.

Copyright Dreamstime | Monkey Business Images

Throw the photos into a Lightbox and share them with your children. They may have learned about the history of the nation in school but a picture makes it real. After viewing the images your family will be better able to plan a trip to see some of the cities and monuments that hold special historical significance to all Americans. It will be a vacation that is both fun and educational.

Here is a visual tour of some of the major historical sites with a tie to United States independence. There are many more but here’s a few to get you started on your journey.

Copyright Dreamstime | Steve AllenWashington DC

The nation’s capital, Washington, DC, is the prime location for learning about government. However, the area is also teeming with American history.

Copyright Dreamstime | Dana Rothstein

At the National Archives, you can see the original documents that formed the basis for American government: the Charters of Freedom, the US Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence.

Copyright Dreamstime | Julie Feinstein

The Smithsonian Institution is a vast storehouse of American history. It fills 19 museums and galleries and one of the largest is the National Museum of American History. Among the items on display is the original Star-Spangled Banner.

Copyright Dreamstime | Olga Bogatyrenko

The Washington Monument honors the memory of the first President of the United States, George Washington and is an important historic site and landmark on the National Mall in Washington, DC. The Fourth of July in Washington, DC is an all-day event beginning with a parade along Constitution Avenue and ending with a spectacular display of fireworks over the Washington Monument.

Copyright Dreamstime | Ken Cole

Mount Vernon, Virginia

In nearby Mount Vernon you can tour the estate of George Washington. It includes a 14-room mansion that is faithfully restored and furnished with original objects dating back to the 1740’s. The historic site is located along the shores of the beautiful Potomac River.

Copyright Dreamstime | Steve Estvanik

Monticello and Montpelier – Charlottesville, Virginia

Thomas Jefferson was an American Founding Father, the principal author of The Declaration of Independence and the third President of the United States. Monticello was Thomas Jefferson’s home and it is open to visitors.

James Madison, Jr. was an American statesman, political theorist and the fourth President of the United States. He is hailed as the “Father of the Constitution” for being instrumental in the drafting of the United States Constitution and as the key champion and author of the United States Bill of Rights. James Madison’s home, Montpelier, is open for tours too.

Copyright Dreamstime | Americanspirit

Jamestown, Yorktown, and Williamsburg, Virginia

See where the United States of America got its start at Jamestown, America’s first permanent English colony, settled in 1607. At the Jamestown Settlement Museum, you can see how America’s earliest residents lived and interacted with their Native American neighbors with such re-created settings as a Powhatan Indian village, 1607 English ships and a 1610 colonial fort.

Copyright Dreamstime | Americanspirit

Nearby at the Yorktown Victory Center, families can see where the British surrendered to American and French forces to effectively end the Revolutionary War, which set the stage for the official formation of the United States of America. This museum showcases life during these times.

In neighboring Colonial Williamsburg, visitors can explore a re-created 18th-century town complete with original buildings, homes, shops and public buildings encompassing more than 300 acres. Not only can you see how daily life during this era was conducted, but you also can learn the stories behind the political movement that led to the fight for independence from England.

Copyright Dreamstime | Wangkun Jia

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Like Washington, DC, Philadelphia is home to many historic sites and attractions that played a role in early American history. There is Carpenters’ Hall, the meeting place of the First Continental Congress, and Independence Hall, where both The Declaration of Independence and The United States Constitution were signed. The Liberty Bell Center is home to the iconic symbol of freedom for America.

Copyright Dreamstime | Americanspirit

Plimoth Plantation – Plymouth, Massachusetts

Plimoth Plantation is a living museum that shows the original settlement of the Plymouth Colony established in the 17th century by English colonists, some of whom later became known as Pilgrims. They were among the first people who immigrated to America. Travel back in time to when Native Americans and the Pilgrims came together. Alongside the settlement is a re-creation of a Wampanoag home site, where modern Native People from a variety of nations demonstrate how the Wampanoag’s ancestors lived and interacted with the settlers.

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You can tour the Mayflower II, stroll around a Pilgrim village from the 1600s and view rare breeds of livestock in the barn.

Copyright Dreamstime | Arenacreative

Boston, Massachusetts

The Freedom Trail, a 2.5-mile route, links together 16 historical sites leading visitors through the city’s history. Sites include the Boston Common, site of the Boston Massacre, Paul Revere’s house, the Bunker Hill Monument and the USS Constitution.

So consider visiting these landmarks to reconnect with America’s past. The sites mentioned are rich in Colonial history and feature quaint architecture, museums with costumed interpreters, and entertaining walking tours. Make it a family affair.

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Betsy Hern

Betsy Hearn is a professional photographer and illustrator. She has been an avid contributor of photos, images, and expertise to the Dreamstime stock photography community since 2005. You can see Betsy's work here:

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