Best Destination for History Buffs (2015)


For a relatively young nation, the United States has played witness to a massive amount of history, and these 10 winning destinations in the category of Best Destination for History Buffs are living in the past – in a good way!

  • Gettysburg, Penn.

    Gettysburg, Penn.

    Gettysburg, as many know, was the fateful location of Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s invasion of the North. It was here, in July of 1863, that the Union Army halted Lee’s advance and broke the back of his, up to that point, mostly undefeated army of crack troops across three days of bitter conflict in the city itself and the lands surrounding it, almost all of which have been meticulously maintained for their historical significance.
    Photo courtesy of Destination Gettysburg

  • Montgomery, Ala.

    Montgomery, Ala.

    Arguably the high water mark of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, Montgomery was the site of the bus boycotts of the mid 1950s as well as the now infamous Selma-to-Montgomery marches of 1965 that made the dramatic shift in public opinion in favor of the Civil Rights Acts that followed.
    Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

  • Philadelphia


    With arguably the largest role in the founding of America, the City of Brotherly Love is dotted with dozens of historic sites, many of which date back nearly three hundred years. Philly was even the US Capital from 1790 to 1800 with Congress operating out of the Philadelphia County Courthouse and the Supreme Court out of City Hall. If you’re the patriotic sort of history buff, this city should definitely be on your bucket list.
    Photo courtesy of D. Cruz for VISIT PHILADELPHIA

  • Williamsburg, Va.

    Williamsburg, Va.

    Originally the capital of Virginia (the largest state at that time) from 1699-1780, Williamsburg lost much of its prominence when the capital was moved to Richmond. However this was a blessing in disguise as the town was left mostly untouched by urbanization and the Industrial Revolution, leaving many of its historical buildings and sites intact, despite bitter battles and sieges being fought in the area during the Civil War.
    Photo courtesy of Visit Williamsburg

  • St. Augustine, Fla.

    St. Augustine, Fla.

    The oldest city in the US, St. Augustine was initially set up by Spanish pioneers as a forward base for expanding settlements further into North America. Throughout its history the fort city, which is punctuated by the oldest fort in America, Castillo de San Marcos, has been raided, attacked, and changed hands several times. The city even played a major role during the Civil Rights era when Martin Luther King Jr. led several marches and sit-ins throughout the city.
    Photo courtesy of

  • Savannah, Ga.

    Savannah, Ga.

    While many of Savannah’s Revolutionary War era historic locales were lost in the Siege of Savannah, most of the Antebellum era architecture survived intact due to peace talks with Union troops under William T. Sherman who had Savannah as his ultimate goal in his March to the Sea campaign which saw Atlanta burned to the ground just a month prior.
    Photo courtesy of Visit Savannah

  • Newport, R.I.

    Newport, R.I.

    Home of the highest number of surviving colonial buildings in the entire US, Newport has long been the summer retreat of the American well-to-do. The city of just 23,000 or so has been pretty much untouched since the turn of the 20th century when wealthy southerners began building massive mansions and estates to escape the summer heat.
    Photo courtesy of Gavin Ashworth/The Preservation Society of Newport County

  • Galveston, Texas

    Galveston, Texas

    At one point the capital of the Republic of Texas, Galveston served for many decades as the main port of Texas, both when it was an independent state and a member of the US. It was a drastically important city during the Mexican-American War and the Civil War as it was, at that time, the only major port for the large state. The Strand Historic District has preserved many buildings from these two pivotal eras of Texan history.
    Photo courtesy of Galveston Island Convention & Visitors Bureau

  • Charleston, S.C.

    Charleston, S.C.

    Site of the first shots fired in the American Civil War, Charleston was also the location of the British attempt to invade and move up the southern colonies during the Revolutionary War. Dotted throughout Charleston and the surrounding East Carolina Lowlands are immaculately preserved buildings and sites from the Revolutionary, Antebellum, Civil War and Reconstruction eras, making Chucktown one of the most varied and well conserved historic cities on our list.
    Photo courtesy of

  • Boston


    Boston found itself as the flashpoint for many events leading up to the American Revolution and as such rivals Philadelphia in number of must-visit sites for the red-white-and-blue loving history buffs out there. The city also has a massive Irish-American community that ties in well with the hard-nosed music scenes that have called Boston home for decades.
    Photo courtesy of Freedom Trail Foundation / Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau Convention & Visitors Bureau

For the past four weeks our readers have been voting daily for their favorite historic destination, and now the results are in! With heaps of Civil War history, it was Gettysburg, Penn. that took home top honors.

The top 10 winners in the category Best Destination for History Buffs are as follows:

  1. Gettysburg, Penn.
  2. Montgomery, Ala.
  3. Philadelphia
  4. Williamsburg, Va.
  5. St. Augustine, Fla.
  6. Savannah, Ga.
  7. Newport, R.I.
  8. Galveston, Texas
  9. Charleston, S.C.
  10. Boston

Additional nominees for the title included Charlottesville, Honolulu, New Orleans, New York, Portland (Maine), Richmond, San Antonio, San Francisco, St. Louis and Washington.

A panel of experts picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Larry Bleiberg, Marla Cimini and Lydia Schrandt (10Best Editor) were chosen based on their experience traveling to America's most historic cities.

10Best and USA TODAY extend their congratulations to all the winners.


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Larry Bleiberg

Larry Bleiberg

Larry Bleiberg

Marla Cimini

Marla Cimini

Marla Cimini

Lydia Schrandt

Lydia Schrandt

Lydia Schrandt