Washington, D.C. School Trips

Our nation’s capital has been a popular choice for student groups and educational tours since it became the seat of our government. It is not only popular because of the government sites, however. The variety of attractions in and around the D.C. area can fill any itinerary with two to five days of entertaining museums, memorials, and historical sites.


Washington, D.C. was designed to intimidate those who would oppose the United States. You can see this in the beautiful, imposing structures of our national government. However, it was also designed as a showcase for monuments and memorials, places of reflection on those who’ve gone before, laid the foundations for our beloved Nation in the beginning or fought for them years later. This showcase is called the National Mall, an expansive lawn extending from Capitol Hill to the Lincoln Memorial and encompassing much that DC has to offer.

The Lincoln Memorial is the most famous of the presidential memorials. The Jefferson Memorial is similarly designed like a Grecian temple. The Washington Monument is recognizable from all over the city, the tall obelisk structure that’s a landmark as prominent in D.C. as President Washington is to American history. The Vietnam War Veterans Memorial and Korean War Memorial both feature a famous wall, as does the World War II Memorial whose wall is engraved with stars to represent American lives lost in the conflict. And these are just some of the best-known memorials. There are many throughout D.C.


Government is the most common focus for Washington, D.C. school travel. Several attractions are a must for this focus. The White House makes every student’s list as a must-see D.C. attraction. Groups are always anxious to know if a White House tour is possible. Often they are, though advance reservations are a must, and unfortunately tours can be canceled last minute for security reasons. Capitol Hill, however, is almost always possible, and it’s one of the most exciting guided tours in D.C. The building is magnificent with dramatic decor and rich American history. You can make your visit include each of the three branches of government by visiting the Supreme Court and viewing court proceedings or a lecture.


Though a tour at the home of our current President can be difficult to guarantee, a tour of the home of our first President is always available and always a hit. Mt. Vernon is one of the richest historical treasures around D.C. It’s a beautiful estate and offers many amazing sights and so much to learn about George Washington – the general, the farmer, and the man.

Ford’s Theater and Petersen House tell a more tragic story of another beloved president. Here you can walk in the footsteps of the tragedy of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. View the room where he died and the one where his wife kept her vigil as she waited.

The National Archives lets students go back in time as well as they view the original, most valued documents in American history. This is always a favorite for school trips.


In Washington, D.C., you’ll find a museum for absolutely any interest. With the variety of galleries and exhibits here, students even find new subjects to enjoy. The Smithsonian Institution is largely situated along the National Mall and offers museums in American History, Air and Space, and Natural History. It offers many others as well, including the unique Museum of the American Indian.

Outside of the Smithsonian, you’ll discover a favorite D.C. museum in The Newseum, which honors journalists from around the world as well as the headlines they’ve captured, past and present. The Museum of Crime and Punishment features infamous criminals, crime scene investigation, and a tribute to law enforcement officers. It’s entertaining and perfect for students of every age.

The National Holocaust Museum is one of D.C.’s greatest treasures. It’s a comprehensive and powerful look at a terrible era in world history. Students can view the events at their own level in the gallery titled Daniel’s Story, which tells the story of the Jewish Holocaust through the eyes of a young boy as he recorded the events in his diary. This museum also helps students recognize the dangerous thought processes that lead to genocide, and they are given the chance to respond to all they’ve learned.

These attractions and so many more put D.C. at the top of our list for the best in school trips and every kind of group travel.