Popular Educational Tours – Five Must-See Cities For Students

There is a picture in a maroon binder somewhere in the world of me standing with a friend in Colombia, South America. I am barely standing in my own strength, being so consumed by my own dramatic feelings of teenage homesickness. I had rarely endured 500-mile youth group trips until then, and here I stood across the ocean and several degrees closer to the equator from everything I had ever known. By the end of that photo album, I’m a new person. I have learned to love a culture so different from my own. I care about another language. I have friends here, I’ve learned to cross the street bravely and audaciously in the city of Ibague, and I never slam the door of a cab – the drivers really hate that. I have learned more than I could have known I wanted to. Travel is loaded with discovery, and students – in school and of life – should do it as often as possible. The experience I describe above was out of the country, but there are so many treasures for learning right here in the United States. These are five of the most popular destinations for educational tours in the United States.


This is an obvious one. Our nation’s first capital and the site for the Second Continental Congress who famously signed the Declaration of Independence during the American Revolution is also the resting place for Benjamin Franklin and the memorial home of Betsy Ross. Benjamin Franklin was crucial in the industrialization and improvement of Philadelphia. His biographer, Carl Van Doren, said of Franklin’s burial, “No other town burying its great man, ever buried more of itself than Philadelphia with Franklin.”

Other historical attractions in Philadelphia include the famous Liberty Bell, Valley Forge National Park, and Old City Hall. But don’t only visit Philadelphia for the history. This city, which is currently the sixth most populated in the United States, is every bit the modern metropolis. It is home to Adventure Aquarium as well as of course the birth place for the Philly Cheese Steak sandwich. Don’t forget to watch National Treasure before you go to both inspire you for some of the historical attractions you will see and to remind you how engaging history can be. And don’t miss the Philadelphia Museum of Art where art, history and pop culture converge as your students will no doubt want to attempt the famous run up the steps first immortalized by the fiction hero, Rocky.


Very similar to Philadelphia in historical significance, Boston, Massachusetts, is also rich with American foundations. Here you can visit Paul Revere’s house, the Museum of Fine Arts, Museum of Science, or the Children’s Museum. You can walk the Freedom Trail, a tour of Colonial and Revolutionary Boston and the famous sites related to America’s fight for freedom. In the Faneuil Hall Marketplace you’ll find eateries, boutiques, and street vendors crowded with Boston culture. And if you need a quieter tour, consider the traditional swan boats in the public garden lagoon. Boston is nestled in the heart of America’s first colonies and serves as an excellent destination for student groups.

Washington D.C.

Don’t forget our country’s current capital, not that anyone would. Washington D.C. is arguably one of the most visited destinations in the country. Capitol Hill, the Lincoln Memorial, and all kinds of museums of art and science make up this classic American focal point. Arlington National Cemetery is one of the greatest places to visit in Washington D.C., and student groups will never forget the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and its traditional changing of the guard, which occurs every half hour in warm months and every hour in winter.

Most visitors will not feel their D.C. tour is complete of course without visiting the White House itself. In an election year, student tours can be planned for the following year’s grand inauguration. What a memory for any student to be there for the swearing in of their new president! But a trip to our capital city in any year will certainly awaken in anyone an appreciation for our government and the branches that work together to uphold it.

New York City

New York City holds ready-made thrills for almost any young person in America. Art, history, culture, science, and commerce all make New York City a prominent hub of activity. The Metropolitan Museum of Art can take two days to fully appreciate. The Statue of Liberty and Empire State Building are famous symbols of American culture, although Top of the Rock – at the top of Rockefeller Center offers a more interactive journey and beautiful view of the city. Time Square has become a more modern symbol of the various aspects of New York City culture, and Broadway is of course famous for live shows and theater certain to dazzle any New York visitor.

Like the other cities, New York City of course offers various tours already designed for you in order to help navigate this overwhelming metropolis. Circle Line Tours does it in a boat ride, Central Park offers one based on popular movies, and the city offers several other walking tours as well.


Walt Disney was passionate about “general mass education” and he loved to accomplish the goal through his fantasy worlds designed as showcases for technical innovation, cultural diversity, and sheer arts and entertainment. The parks in this city are more than tributes to popular cartoon characters. They are rich with sights and sounds and service that will thrill students and adults alike. Don’t expect to only learn in Epcot Center, famous for its tribute to science and innovation. There is something to discover in all of Disney’s theme parks. In this generation, the mere inspiration behind an entertainment giant of such magnitude can shape the hearts and minds of tomorrow’s leaders in arts and science.

I will never think of Disney World again without thinking of Randy Pausch, the professor and scientist whose dreams as a child came true when he was offered the chance to be a Disney imagineer. Today, Pausch’s lessons from that reality have been included in one of the most inspirational lectures and books of our time about the value of our dreams and the effort it takes to achieve them. Orlando is rich with this kind of inspiration – the kind people discover on their own when you just give them the chance to imagine what could be.

The choices for amazing student tours are really endless, but these are five of the most popular cities for any student group. There is a world for them to see and discover and so many things for them to invent and create. These cities can open the door at least for their inspiration.