George Washington's plantation on the banks of the Potomac River offers a fascinating glimpse of how America's first president lived toward the end of the 18th century. The home has been so lovingly restored to its early authenticity that it looks as if George and Martha might step out at any moment to say hello. An effort to locate and return the estate's original contents has been ongoing for more than 100 years; the home features an expansive collection of memorabilia.

Visit the mansion to see Martha's tea service laid out in one of the parlors; the study, containing its original globe and desk; and the bedroom where George spent his final days. Be sure to allow enough time to explore the rest of the plantation grounds, such as the stables, the overseer and slaves' quarters, the Washingtons' graves, and the slave burial ground. There are four different gardens to stroll through. Along the banks of the Potomac you can visit a four-acre working farm with a re-created 16-sided barn that showcases many of Washington's farming innovations. In spring and summer, you can journey from Washington, D.C., to Mount Vernon by boat along the scenic Potomac River.

Mount Vernon Information:

Address: 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Mount Vernon, VA

Phone: 703/780-2000

Hours of Operation: Apr. - Aug., 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., daily; Mar., Sept, and Oct., 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Nov. - Feb., 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Admission: $13 adults; $6 kids

To learn more about family vacation destinations, see:

  • Family Vacations: Learn about hundreds of family vacations in destinations all over North America.
  • Virginia State Guide: Virginia is just a short trip from Washington, D.C. Learn more about visiting Virginia.
  • Washington D.C. City Guide: Learn more about the many things to do and places to visit in Washington, D.C.
  • Scenic Drives:For those who think that getting there is half the fun, we have compiled more than 100 of the most scenic drives throughout the country.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Laura Sutherland is a widely acknowledged authority on family travel and has published several books on the topic, including Best Family Ski Vacations In North America and Tropical Family Vacations.