For history buffs, travel is more than just a chance to relax; it’s an opportunity to look into the past. Thankfully, the arrival of autumn means you’re able to explore while also bypassing the long lines and heat of summer. If you’re looking for an intellectual weekend escape, use this list of five historic US cities to visit this fall for your travel inspiration.
1. St. Augustine, Florida
Established back in 1565 by Spanish explorer Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles, St. Augustine, FL, is the oldest city in the continental U.S. With such a long history, it’s not a surprise that the city offers an abundance of historical landmarks. The best place to spot these magnificent structures is the city’s beloved Historic District.
As the name suggests, the Oldest Wooden School House is the oldest wooden schoolhouse in the country, dating back to the late 1700s. Today, the property stands as a museum with visitors partaking in a self-guided tour of the school, homes, and gardens that remain intact. While you’re in the area, visit the Oldest House Museum, the Old Jail, and the Peña-Peck House.
Another must-see historical spot in the district is the Father O’Reilly House Museum, which was built in 1791 — the second oldest structure in St. Augustine. The museum is only predated by the Castillo de San Marcos. The masonry fort is over 320 years old and offers tours, special programs, and daily canon firings.
2. Annapolis, Maryland
Coming in at just under 40,000 residents, Annapolis, MD, is fairly small in size. However, with a history dating back to 1649, the city offers a surplus of significant locations and structures. Make the first stop on your historic tour the Maryland State House. Built in 1772, the building has served both state and federal uses throughout its long history. Congress even ratified the Treaty of Paris there back in 1784.
When it comes to impressive architecture in Annapolis, it’s hard to beat St. Anne’s Episcopal Church. Erected in 1682, it was the first church in the city and is renowned for its Tiffany stained-glass windows. The property is also home to a cemetery where some of the community’s most famous residents reside.
Many of the city’s notable historic homes are also open to the public for tours. For a peek into colonial life, visit The Hammond-Harwood House for a guided tour of the property, featuring an impressive collection of John Shaw furniture and artwork from Charles Willson Peale. Just outside of Annapolis, the Historic London Town and Gardens offers guests free reign of 23 acres of gardens and homestead.
3. Santa Fe, New Mexico
As the oldest state capital in the country, Santa Fe, NM, has long been committed to preserving its past. While it was founded by the Spanish in 1610, native tribes called the site home for thousands of years prior to colonization. With such a rich history, it definitely deserves a spot on your list of historic cities to visit this fall.
The Plaza of Santa Fe is a historic landmark, which still serves as a community gathering spot today. There are both modern and traditional eateries surrounding the square as well as street vendors serving up authentic grub and selling handmade jewelry and crafts. Completed in 1878, the Loretto Chapel is a locally beloved spot, featuring eye-catching architecture and a unique helix-shaped spiral staircase. Other sites you won’t want to miss include the San Miguel Mission and the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi.
4. Charleston, South Carolina
When it comes to charming southern cities, history buffs won’t want to miss a chance to explore Charleston, SC. Originally designated “Charles Town,” the city was founded in 1670 and is the oldest town in the state. Fortunately, many of its antebellum structures are still standing today, including the Heyward-Washington House and the Nathaniel Russell House. While you may not have time to fit in all the city’s significant spots into one trip, be sure to hit the Historic Charleston City Market. The market covers a four-block radius and has been a Charleston tradition for over 200 years.
5. Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Settled in 1630, Portsmouth, NH, is renowned for its historic architecture. The city still boasts beautifully preserved homes dating back to the 1600s and 1700s. One of the most impressive is the Wentworth-Coolidge Mansion, which features 40 rooms on waterfront property. Can’t get enough Georgian architecture? Take a tour of the Moffat-Ladd House and Garden as well as the Jon Paul Jones House — both built in the mid-18th century. While Governor John Langdon House serves as an impressive example of high-end design, the Jackson House provides insight into life for the average person as the oldest wood-framed home in the state. The New England city also offers some of the most spectacular fall foliage in the region, making autumn the ideal season for a visit.
Step Back in Time with BusTickets.com
With so many historic cities to visit this fall, you may find it hard to choose just one. Thankfully, with BusTickets.com, you don’t have to. Our user-friendly platform allows you to compare prices and routes in real-time so that you find the most affordable rate for every trip. Don’t let history be forgotten — book your bus tickets today!
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