It’s not too early to plan for spring break or summer vacations. If American History education for your kids is on your spring break agenda, Charlottesville, Virginia is a great spot to visit. Boasting three presidential homes within a short radius, Charlottesville is a wonderful place to learn more about American History. Here are more details about the Presidents’ homes in Charlottesville VA.
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Presidents’ Homes in Charlottesville VA
Monticello, the home of President Thomas Jefferson, is the most popular of the three presidential homes in Charlottesville, VA. It’s open for guided tours year round, and offers outdoor gardens and plantation tours between April to October. Monticello offers special family-friendly guided tours during spring break and in the summers, although all of the tours are okay for families. There’s also a family-friendly room with interactive items for kids to enjoy.
They recommend that you plan for at least three hours touring Monticello. Tickets can be purchased in advance online, and you can save money by buying in advance. Tour options include the Behind the Scenes House Tour and Day Pass, the Family Friendly Tour and Day Pass, and the Hamilton Tour Takeover. Many of these specific tours should be booked by the date/time, and are only available select times and dates.
James Monroe’s Highland, formerly known as Ash-Lawn Highland, is President James Monroe’s (the fifth president of the US) former home. It is adjacent to Monticello, so it’s convenient if you are planning on visiting both locations. Year round daily guided tours of the home are offered, and include seeing the original and period French and American furniture, gardens, and working farm.
There are several tour options available at James Monroe’s Highland, including the full experience, which includes a guided tour with augmented reality. The augmented reality isn’t recommended for those under the age of six, however. The guided tour takes about 40 minutes total.
You can also purchase tickets to visit the property on a self-guided basis. This ticket also includes the augmented reality experience. A discounted AAA rate is available.
President James Madison’s Montpelier was his lifelong home. It offers programming for kids, galleries, and hands on activities. In addition, you can also enjoy the 2,650 acres of gardens and grounds.
It’s recommended that you plan for at least two hours for your visit to Montpelier. Purchase your tickets online before your visit, and you’ll save up to $2 per ticket. Tickets include a guided tour, as well as the grounds (including 8+ miles of walking trails), and the archaeology lab.
If you are planning to travel to the Charlottesville area, definitely take advantage of the Presidents Passport. It has more than 50 offers for travelers, including hotel, restaurant, shopping, and train discounts, travel tips and packages, helpful hints, and much more. The Passport is free – you just have to sign up for it! Visit their website to learn more and sign up. The passport also offers deals for Alexandria, VA, so it’s a great option for a spring break vacation. If you are looking for a hotel to stay at, check out reviews at these Charlottesville hotels.
Other Presidential Homes in Virginia
If you’d like to spend more time visiting presidential homes, there are other presidential homes in Virginia. There is also Mount Vernon (home of George Washington) and Sherwood Forest (home of John Tyler).
We’ve visited Mount Vernon in the past, and my kids absolutely loved it. Tickets can be purchased online. When you buy them, you will have the opportunity to choose a date/time for your visit. If you buy tickets at the gate, you may not be able to enter right away. This is especially an issue when Mount Vernon is busy – during school vacations, weekends, and the summer.
If you’d like to visit several of these locations in a road trip, check out this Hamilton road trip. It includes stops at many of the places mentioned in the musical, including Monticello and Mount Vernon. It could be a fun educational road trip during a school break.