TRIP IDEA

Civil War Heritage - DC Region

Multiple Parks

Living history reenactment at Manassas National Battlefield Park.
Duration Multiple Days
Topic(s) Architecture and Building, Burial, Cemetery and Gravesite, National Cemetery, Enslavement, Military, Civil War, Assassinations, Murders, Battlefields, Monuments and Memorials, Scenic Views, Trails, Presidents, Abolition Movement, Civil Rights, Forts, Wars and Conflicts, African American Heritage, Armories, US Marines, Social Movements
Activities Self-Guided Tours - Walking, Theater, Cultural Demonstrations
Type Kid Friendly, Active, Relaxed, Educational, Inspirational
Parks Arlington House, Ford's Theatre, Antietam National Battlefield, Monocacy National Battlefield, Lincoln Memorial, Rock Creek Park, Manassas National Battlefield Park, Appalachian National Scenic Trail, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, African American Civil War Memorial, Fort Washington Park

Living History Reenactment at Manassas National Battlefield Park.
Living History reenactment at Manassas National Battlefield Park.

NPS

From 1861 to 1865, the American union was broken as brother fought brother in a Civil War that remains a defining moment in our nation's history. From battlefields and monuments to homefronts, the National Park Service preserves many of these historic sites and landscapes, allowing visitors today a glimpse back to rolling farm fields, historic buildings, and sweeping panoramas where battles were fought and decisions were made.

On forested hills surrounding the nation's capital are the remnants of a complex system of Civil War fortifications, and within a two hour drive of Washington, DC you can visit battlefields that have witnessed several centuries of history.

Each of the parks identified below are a two-hour drive or less from Washington, DC.
Civil War Heritage Sites
    • Activity Fee: No (Entrance fees may apply)
    • Reservations: No
    • Activity: Self-Guided Tours - Walking
    • Pets: Yes
    • Location: Manassas National Battlefield Park
    • Duration: 1–3 Hours
    • Season: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
    • Time of Day: Day, Dawn, Dusk
    A stone house sits behind a hill in Manassas National Battlefield Park.

    There are many things to do at Manassas National Battlefield Park. Join a park ranger for a walking tour, explore the Visitor Center museum, or hike the First Manassas Loop Trail

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    • Activity Fee: No (Entrance fees may apply)
    • Reservations: No
    • Activity: Self-Guided Tours - Walking
    • Pets: Yes with Restrictions
    • Season: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
    • Time of Day: Day
    small brick building that is John Brown\'s Fort with other Lower Town buildings in the background

    A visit to John Brown's Fort is more than seeing the building where John Brown and several of his followers barricaded themselves in 1859. The building has a complex history that begins in 1848, continues through to today, and includes four locations in Harpers Ferry and one in Chicago. We invite you to visit this famous Harpers Ferry building and discover what it means to you.

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    • Activity Fee: Yes
    • Reservations: No
    • Activity: Self-Guided Tours - Walking
    • Pets: No
    • Location: Arlington House
    • Duration: 30–180 Minutes
    • Season: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
    Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial.

    Take a tour or walk the grounds of Arlington House to learn how it has served as a family home, a military headquarters, a national cemetery, and much more. When visiting Arlington House, you may walk through the mansion at your own pace or you can ask if there is a scheduled tour available. The tours start on the hour and take between thirty and forty-five minutes. Normally, tours occur on weekends in the winter or every day in the summer.

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    • Activity Fee: No (Entrance fees may apply)
    • Reservations: Yes
    • Activity: Self-Guided Tours - Walking
    • Pets: Yes
    • Location: 5201 Urbana Pike Frederick, MD 21704
    • Duration: 1–4 Hours
    • Season: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
    • Time of Day: Day
    Monocacy Best Farm.

    Monocacy National Battlefield encompasses several centuries of history, which reflect events of both national and local significance.

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  • Antietam National Battlefield

    Explore the Battlefield at Antietam

    • Activity Fee: Yes
    • Reservations: No
    • Activity: Self-Guided Tours - Walking
    • Pets: Yes
    • Location: 5831 Dunker Church Road, Sharpsburg, MD 21782
    • Duration: 1–4 Hours
    • Season: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
    • Time of Day: Day
    Cannon on the battlefield.

    Learn, listen, hike, and explore. There are many things to do at Antietam, check out our calendar for special programs held throughout the year.

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  • African American Civil War Memorial

    Visit the African American Civil War Memorial

    • Activity Fee: No (Entrance fees may apply)
    • Reservations: No
    • Activity: Self-Guided Tours - Walking
    • Pets: Yes
    • Location: 1925 Vermont Avenue Northwest, Washington DC 20001
    • Duration: 15–90 Minutes
    • Season: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
    • Time of Day: Day
    African American Civil War Memorial

    Over 200,000 African-American soldiers and sailors served in the U.S. Army and Navy during the Civil War. Their service helped to end the war and free over four million slaves. The African American Civil War Memorial honors their service and sacrifice.

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    • Activity Fee: No (Entrance fees may apply)
    • Reservations: No
    • Activity: Self-Guided Tours - Walking
    • Pets: Yes with Restrictions
    • Location: Lincoln Memorial
    • Duration: 5–30 Minutes
    • Season: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
    • Time of Day: Any Time
    Ariel view of the Lincoln memorial

    Few places in Washington, DC, are as well-known or as inspiring as the Lincoln Memorial. Here you can experience how a nation remembers one of its great leaders, and the enduring values of union, emancipation, justice, and healing.

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    • Activity Fee: Yes
    • Reservations: No
    • Activity: Theater
    • Pets: No
    • Location: Ford's Theatre
    • Duration: 1–3 Hours
    • Season: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
    • Time of Day: Day, Night
    Inside Ford\'s Theatre

    On the night of April 14, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln was shot in Ford's Theatre by John Wilkes Booth. He died in the early hours of April 15, in the small back bedroom of a boarding house across the street. Lincoln, who had struggled through the Civil War to preserve the union, lived long enough to see it maintained but not long enough to help in healing the wounds left by the war. The Theatre where Lincoln was shot and the house where he died, are preserved today.

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  • Rock Creek Park

    Survey Fort Stevens

    • Activity Fee: No (Entrance fees may apply)
    • Reservations: No
    • Activity: Self-Guided Tours - Walking
    • Pets: Yes with Restrictions
    • Location: 13th St NW & Quackenbos Street NW, Washington, DC 20011
    • Duration: 30–90 Minutes
    • Season: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
    • Time of Day: Day
    Historical reenactor visiting Fort Stephens.

    Take a step back in time and imagine the sights and sounds of the Civil War at a Civil War Defense of Washington. Fort Stevens, now partially restored, was built to defend the approaches to Washington from the 7th Street Pike (now Georgia Avenue) which was then the main thoroughfare from the north into Washington. 

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    • Activity Fee: Yes
    • Reservations: No
    • Activity: Cultural Demonstrations
    • Pets: Yes with Restrictions
    • Location: Fort Washington Park
    • Duration: 15–90 Minutes
    • Season: Spring, Summer, Fall
    • Time of Day: Day
    Cannons at Fort Washington

    Ever wonder how Civil War cannons were fired? Come and join the Fort Washington Guard as they handle muskets and shoot off cannons. Visit the park the first and third Sunday of every month to watch the Fort Washington Guard demonstrate and explain the procedures used during the muzzle-loading era of American Artillery.

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Last updated: May 26, 2017