Five Historical Travel Destinations in NC and VA for the History Buff

Get a dose of education while on vacay via these 5 historical travel destinations.

Kitty Hawk

Do you believe you can fly? Take your travels to new heights at the Wright Brothers National Memorial; then continue the history lesson and honor our city’s namesake with a visit to Fort Raleigh—or wander into The Lost Colony at Roanoke, just ~30 minutes south of the birth of aviation. Lost history, found!


’Ello Guv’na! Start the day in VA with a guided tour of the Governor’s Palace (Pro tip: If you want to wander the palace at your own pace, visit after 4pm). Discover modern-day craftsmen using 18th century tools and techniques via a stroll down “the most historic avenue in all America,” according to Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Duke of Gloucester Street. Also don’t miss the ongoing Custis Square Archaeology Project to see Colonial artifacts as they’re being unearthed, and visit the historic Public Gaol and pillory (public humiliation, anyone?) to discover where prisoners awaited trial in one of the birthplaces of American justice.


Stay mellow at Monticello as you learn about the land on which Thomas Jefferson’s plantation resided via the Plantation Archaeology Walking Tour weaving through the gorgeous woodlands of the estate. Or, try the Founding Father’s take on the grape and indulge in the Monticello Wine Trail (aka the Birthplace of American Wine). Great minds drink alike! 

New Bern

Born in the Carolinas: Let’s get fizzical! Pop into the former pharmacy housing The Birthplace of Pepsi-Cola and walk through the history of “Brad’s Drink” in the birthplace of the distinguished Carolina beverage. 

The Great Rebellion: Calling all Civil War buffs! Explore the site of the 1862 Civil War battle as it was over a century-and-a-half ago (perfectly preserved!) at the New Bern Battlefield Park

Blast From the Past: Allow costumed guides (!) to take you on a tour through Tyron Palace, the former headquarters of the British governors of NC. And don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers in the palace gardens. Tea and crumpets, please!

Spark Some Romance: “It wasn’t over. It still isn’t over…” As any bookworm (or romantic!) knows, the unsuspecting town of New Bern plays a central role in several Nicholas Sparks novels. If your visit isn’t fully booked, join the A Walk to Remember Tour and visit 15 distinct landmarks from The Notebook, The Wedding and A Bend in the Road

Mount Vernon 

No lies found here! General Washington’s home and estate, Mount Vernon, is a revolutionary destination. After marching through the estate and gardens, hit up the fully functioning reconstructions of Washington’s Distillery and Gristmill (we rec you try a sample of the whiskey made on-site and grab a bite at Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant). And don’t miss the Pope-Leighey House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, aka the pioneer of modern architecture. 

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About the Author

Angela Brown
Angela Brown is the author of our Business & Economy section.