20 inspirational destinations to travel this summer
Lincoln Memorial and Reflecting Pool
The magnificence of Daniel Chester French's 19-foot-high statue of Lincoln is flanked by 60-foot-high murals depicting the Angel of Truth on one side and Fraternity and Charity on another. Go after dark when the lighting is stunning and be sure to read the patriotic words of Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address carved into the wall.
Golden Gate Bridge
The bridge connects San Francisco to California's northern counties. With its incredible 746-foot-tall towers, sweeping main cables, signature International Orange color and Art Deco styling, it is an all-out feast for the senses. With more than 10 million annual visitors, be ready for crowds (especially during the summer) and changing weather conditions (read: pack a windbreaker).
San Francisco's Coit Tower is one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks. Set in the Telegraph Hill neighborhood of the city, the 210-foot tower was built in 1933 using monies left by wealthy socialite Lillie Hitchcock Coit. If you plan on visiting this popular tourist attraction this summer, prepare for packed parking lots and a steep climb.
Pacific Coast Highway
Known by locals as the “PCH,” this breathtakingly beautiful highway along the northern California coast has some of the best views in the United States. In the summer, the single-lane stretches can be slow moving, so plan travel accordingly. Be sure to pack a camera and stop at the vista points and small towns such as Santa Cruz, Monterey, Big Sur and Santa Barbara.
Whether you’re young or old, a history buff or not, a visit to Pearl Harbor in Hawaii can be an extremely emotional experience. The war memorial commemorates the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the United States' entry into World War II. If you plan on visiting the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center and its displays of personal memorabilia, historic photographs, artifacts of the battle and interactive exhibits, arrive early to avoid tour buses.
When John Muir learned that William and Elizabeth Kent were naming a redwood forest near San Francisco in his honor, he declared, “This is the best tree-lovers monument that could possibly be found in all the forests of the world.”
The couple had purchased the land to preserve its beauty and restful wilderness; in 1908, they donated it to the federal government to protect it from destruction.
Summer is Muir Woods' busiest time of year, especially on Saturdays and Sundays. Spend less time looking for parking by taking the Muir Woods Shuttle.
National Civil Rights Museum
The National Civil Rights Museum, at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn., the assassination site of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., chronicles key episodes of the American civil rights movement and the legacy of this movement to inspire participation in civil and human rights efforts globally. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stayed at the Lorraine Motel numerous times and was a guest of the Lorraine when he came to Memphis in 1968 in support of striking sanitation workers.
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Located among the monuments to freedom on the National Mall, this living memorial to the Holocaust inspires citizens and leaders worldwide to confront hatred, prevent genocide and promote human dignity.
Families with young children can pick up a Family Guide at the Information Desk to learn more about Remember the Children: Daniel’s Story, an exhibition for children age 8 and up, and the Children’s Tile Wall, which was created by U.S. schoolchildren.
The National WWII Museum
The National WWII Museum is a dynamic educational destination in New Orleans. USA Today gave the museum top honors on its list of “Best Places to Learn U.S. Military History.” Exhibitions and programs help visitors explore the war that changed the world – why it was fought, how it was won and what it means today.
Yosemite National Park
First protected in 1864, Yosemite National Park is best known for its waterfalls, but within its nearly 1,200 square miles you can find deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoias, a vast wilderness area and much more. During the summer months, Yosemite's campgrounds are extremely popular and reservations are required for most sites. Soak up summer family fun at this destination with hiking, rock climbing, fishing, biking and bird watching.