Many student travel groups I have toured with are visiting the East Coast for the first time. I like to offer these types of groups a view of Early American life that spans many of the Eastern states, with a focus on the Revolutionary War period.
In order to understand the Revolutionary War within the larger scheme of things, I advise teachers coordinating student tour groups to visit Yorktown and Mount Vernon in Virginia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Washington D.C. Boston, Massachusettes is also on the list of destinations for the Revolutionary War Tour, but in the interest of keeping the trip brief and manageable, Boston is usually excluded. History and government teachers may want to offer an overview of Boston and the role it played during the Revolutionary War period prior to the student travel trip.
For student tour groups taking the tour from the West Coast or the Midwest, flying into Norfolk, Virginia, and flying out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania makes a great deal of sense for the Revolutionary War tour because it saves time. Students coming from closer locations may want to consider alternate flying routes to save time and cover the most distance possible. The educational travel professionals at my company schedule the student tour with everyone’s comfort and convenience in mind.
Yorktown Virginia – A Must See on the Student Travel Tour
Yorktown Battlefields are a primary destination for the Revolutionary War tour of the East. In 1781, General Lord Charles Cornwallis surrendered with 8,300 troops, ending the American Revolution in Yorktown. Yet the story leading up to this surrender, and the battles fought before it took place are engaging and numerous. Student travel groups will want to take the 7-mile or 9 mile driving tours of Yorktown Battlefields to have a fuller understanding of the scope of this final battle and Cornwallis’ surrender.
Yorktown Battlefield Museum
The Yorktown Battlefield Museum details it as the place where Virginia’s colonial government was established in 1691. Because of its strategic location on the York River, one of the main tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay, Yorktown was a highly contested Naval post during the Revolutionary War, and so was the appropriate place for the final battle to be fought. Student tour groups will learn a great deal about the culmination of the Revolutionary War at Yorktown and therefore, should not miss this destination.
Teachers may visit http://www.nps.gov/york/forteachers/yorktowneducationalprograms.htm and with enough advance notice, may book special interepretive programs that are in sync with curriculum objectives.
Historic Revolutionary War Sites Near Washington D.C.
Not far from Washington D.C. is one of the most famous estates on American soil. Mount Vernon was George Washington’s Home, and was a working farm as well as an estate home in the Early American style. Both are well preserved. Living history programs including an actress who plays the part of Martha Washington, Our First Lady, and demonstrations of Early American farming techniques are some of the highlights of the Mount Vernon tour. Students can visit the Eighteenth Century house, farm, and gristmill for an authentic glimpse into what it must have been like to live during Washington’s time.
Philadelphia: Important Sites for a Student Tour of Revolutionary War
Since the creation and signing of the Declaration of Independence from British Colonial rule occurred in Philadelphia, many would consider it the birthplace of democracy. Thus, Philadelphia is on the Itinerary for the Revolutionary War Tour. There are many prominent sites to enjoy in Philadelphia.
Independence Hall: Visit the place where the signers of the Declaration of Independence sat and had discourse on this historic document before penning their names in old fashioned ink. Independence Hall is a well preserved and maintained site and is well worth the visit.
Liberty Bell: Though it is broken and not in use the Liberty Bell is on display for all to see now at a special location between 5th and 6th on Market Street in Philadelphia. The Liberty Bell Center has exhibits and a movie to explain the significance of the Liberty Bell in American History.
Betsy Ross House: Nestled in Old City Philadelphia, not far from the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall is Betsy Ross’s historic home. Betsy Ross made the first American flag and is one of the earliest women patriots. Student tour groups will enjoy a short tour of her home and the story of how she made the first American flag.
Christ Church: Located near 2nd Street and above Market, Historic Christ Church dates to 1695 and is an appropriate place to visit for the revolutionary War Tour. Christ Church was one of the first parishes of the Church of England in the new world. The Christ Church Burial Ground includes the tombs of some famous early Americans including Ben Franklin who was interred there. This historic, early American landmark is a site that student groups will not want to miss.
Washington Crossing Park
George Washington led 2,500 troops across the Delaware River on Christmas Day in 1776 from Buck’s County Pennsylvania to Trenton to attack an army of 1,500 and won. This victory came at a low point in the Revolutionary War. Students will want to visit the Pennsylvania side of Washington Crossing to see the museum, and should time permit, cross to the New Jersey side to see the landing area and the road used by the continental army to march to Trenton and attack. The trip to Washington Crossing is a short one hour journey from Philadelphia and well worth it for its historical significance during the Revolutionary period.
There are other historic sites that date back to revolutionary times and are significant. For this tour, I have concentrated on the major high points of the war and the major historic sites. Student travel groups wishing to book a tour with a Revolutionary War theme can email: