Vacationing: The best way to explore American history

Understanding the past can help us better appreciate the present and look toward the future. If you want a more meaningful vacation, an excursion to one of America’s most significant sites can be a step straight into history. Why not celebrate the Gettysburg Address’ and Yosemite National Park’s 150th anniversaries by delving into the rich landscape that hosted each monumental achievement?

Allow your mind to explore the wonderful places past and present with one of Tauck’s all-encompassing, all-inclusive tours. Two Ken Burns’s documentaries have inspired tours featuring some of the most revered places in America. From a turning point in the American Civil War to a turning point in the struggle to save America’s wild places, these two tours will inspire every visitor.

The Ken Burns documentary “The Civil War” focuses on a pivotal time in America’s history, but nothing can compare to visiting the conflict’s actual sites and hallowed grounds, and experiencing the history for yourself. Feel the power that the places still hold and hear exclusive talks from experts. Visitors will find a new appreciation for what it means to be an American as they travel from Washington, D.C. through Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, to Richmond, Va.

* National Archives. Get an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the place that houses the nation’s founding documents, like the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights. Visitors will also see how the archives are preserved to share the stories with future generations.

* Iconic battlefields. Visit Gettysburg, Antietam, Petersburg and Appomattox Court House while being guided by area experts. These private tours will give visitors a greater understanding of what happened on the battlefields and how those past events still affect life today.

* Exclusive lectures from great historians. Feed your mind as you travel the most prominent locations of the Civil War. Tours are accented by brief films produced by Ken Burns that give unique perspectives on the conflict and how it continues to shape the nation today.

The national park system helps to preserve some of the most awe-inspiring areas of the nation. These untouched swaths of land can tell endless stories of the past, while making visitors feel the overwhelming power of nature. California’s Yosemite National Park was the nation’s first protected wild land, making it one of the most astounding parks both for its dense history and unscathed backdrops. The Tauck Yosemite Event marks the park’s 150th anniversary and guides visitors through the park, mirroring themes explored in the Ken Burn documentary “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.” Travelers can expect to get an insider look at the past and the present of this breathtaking park.

* The Bracebridge Dinner. This black tie affair dates back to 1927 and transforms the main dining room in Yosemite’s historic Ahwahnee Hotel into a 17th century English manor for one night. Tickets to the four-hour, seven-course meal (complemented by extravagant performances) have historically been nearly impossible to obtain, but Tauck is including the Bracebridge Dinner in its Yosemite Event. It’s the perfect way to celebrate the traditions of Yosemite and the holiday season.

* Attend the Tauck event, and besides touring Yosemite, you’ll enjoy other memorable experiences in the region. Feel dwarfed as you stroll under the towering canopy of Muir Woods. The winding paths will guide you through some of the most humbling places of the majestic forest. Get off your feet and take a scenic train ride through California’s Central Valley. (The rail follows the route the historic Buffalo Soldiers took in the 1800s.)  Tour iconic locations in beautiful San Francisco, and enjoy a combined three nights at the St. Regis San Francisco (along with two nights accommodations at The Ahwahnee in Yosemite).

* View the amazing works the park has inspired. Celebrate Yosemite’s milestone while attending galas and events that shine the spotlight on the natural wonders. Get the inside look at how the beautiful land inspired great photographers like Ansel Adams and timeless films like Little House on the Prairie.

Traveling through historic sites satisfies both wanderlust and the yearning to learn more about the complex past of America. A rich historic tour is sure to inspire passion and awe in all visitors, no matter how little or how much they already know about American history.

For more information on historic, all-inclusive tours, visit

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