Javascript is not enabled.

Javascript must be enabled to use this site. Please enable Javascript in your browser and try again.

Skip to content
Content starts here
CLOSE ×

Search

Leaving AARP.org Website

You are now leaving AARP.org and going to a website that is not operated by AARP. A different privacy policy and terms of service will apply.

9 Top Military Museums and Memorials

Explore fascinating sites across the nation, from Pearl Harbor to Gettysburg

spinner image map of the united states showing locations of military museums
Getty Images

There’s no better place to study American history and honor the service of soldiers to their nation than at one of the many memorials and military museums that can be found in cities and states across the U.S. There are scores to be found — from Pearl Harbor to Boston — but these nine guides to key sites offer visitors thoughtful, moving portrayals of what are arguably some of America’s most wrenching, politically complex moments in our relatively short history.

spinner image The National World War II Museum - Higgins Landing
Rubens Alarcon/Alamy Stock Photo

1. The National World War II Museum in New Orleans

spinner image Image Alt Attribute

AARP Membership

Join AARP for $12 for your first year when you sign up for Automatic Renewal. Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP The Magazine

Join Now

Relive the triumph and tragedies of the war — from the “date which will live in infamy” to victories in Europe and over Japan — at this expansive (and expanding) Big Easy museum.

spinner image U.S.S. Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor
RALF BROSKVAR / ALAMY STOCK PHOTO

2. Hawaii’s Pearl Harbor National Memorial

Make the most of your visit to the site of the history-changing Dec. 7, 1941, attack that killed 1,177 sailors and Marines and spurred the U.S. to enter the Second World War.  

spinner image Members of the US Army's D Battery, First of the 129th Field Artillery unit, the same unit that President Harry S. Truman Commanded, fire a salute from their 75mm Howitzer during the centennial of the US entry into World War I at the National World War I
DAVE KAUP/GETTY IMAGES

3. The National WWI Museum and Memorial in Kansas City

Reflect on the triumphs and many tragedies of the Great War at this moving, must-visit Midwest museum.  

spinner image The U S S Yorktown aircraft carrier
EHRLIF/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO

4. Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum in Charleston

Climb aboard the enormous aircraft carrier USS Yorktown, a participant in more than 40 World War II battles, in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, across the harbor from Charleston.

spinner image Robert Gould Shaw monument
RADHARC IMAGES / ALAMY STOCK PHOTO

5. Civil War Heroes on Boston’s Black Heritage Trail

The bronze Robert Gould Shaw and Massachusetts 54th Regiment Civil War Memorial honoring African American soldiers is a stirring stop in a history-packed city.

spinner image USS Cairo at Vicksburg National Military Park
USS Cairo
JOHN ELK III / ALAMY STOCK PHOTO

6. Vicksburg National Military Park

Take a long, deep dive into the Civil War at this massive Mississippi site where key battles helped change the course of America’s deadliest fight.

spinner image Gettysburg National Military Park
DENNIS COX / ALAMY STOCK PHOTO

7. Gettysburg National Military Park

Follow AARP’s guide to Pennsylvania’s famous battlefields, where a major Union triumph changed the course of the Civil War.

spinner image Outside of the Museum of the American Revolution
ALEXANDRE TZIRIPOULOFF / ALAMY STOCK PHOTO

8. Philadelphia’s Museum of the American Revolution

Learn how the colonists reached a breaking point, fought for independence and won the battle at one of Philly’s top destinations.

spinner image San Diego Air & Space Museum
Richard Cummins / Alamy Stock Photo

9. The San Diego Air & Space Museum Is a Bucket-List Stop for Aviation Buffs

See how American warplanes progressed from motorized kites to supercharged bombers with Rolls Royce engines at this Smithsonian-affiliated gem in beautiful Balboa Park in California.  

10. National Veterans Memorial and Museum 

spinner image National Veterans Memorial and Museum

Discover AARP Members Only Access

Join AARP to Continue

Already a Member?

AARP Travel Center

Or Call: 1-800-675-4318

Enter a valid departing date

Enter a valid returning date

Age of children:

Child under 2 must either sit in laps or in seats:

Enter a valid departing date

Age of children:

Child under 2 must either sit in laps or in seats:

Enter a valid departing date

Age of children:

Child under 2 must either sit in laps or in seats:

Flight 2

Enter a valid departing date

Flight 3

Enter a valid departing date

Flight 4

Enter a valid departing date

Flight 5

Enter a valid departing date

+ Add Another Flight

Enter a valid checking in date

Enter a valid checking out date


Occupants of Room 1:



Occupants of Room 2:



Occupants of Room 3:



Occupants of Room 4:



Occupants of Room 5:



Occupants of Room 6:



Occupants of Room 7:



Occupants of Room 8:


Enter a valid departing date

Enter a valid returning date

Age of children:

Occupants of Room 1:

Age of children:


Occupants of Room 2:

Age of children:


Occupants of Room 3:

Age of children:


Occupants of Room 4:

Age of children:


Occupants of Room 5:

Age of children:

Age of children:

Child under 2 must either sit in laps or in seats:

Enter a valid start date

Enter a valid drop off date

Select a valid to location

Select a month

Enter a valid from date

Enter a valid to date