When it comes to appreciating the full sweep of military history, sometimes doing research from home isn't enough. Rather, you may feel the need to have real, tangible experiences. Fortunately, there are plenty of officially sanctioned and well-organized historical tours that can guide you through the stories and sacrifices of brave fighting men and women who came before.

Because the history of U.S. military engagement is spread around the world and spans centuries, any list of tours will be incomplete by its very nature. We've assembled four fascinating places to start when you're seeking to book an in-person experience for this year and beyond. We've limited ourselves to sites within the continental U.S. and attempted to capture a wide breadth of time periods and areas of interest.

With that in mind, here are some places where you can immerse yourself in military history:

The appearance of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.The appearance of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

The USS Midway Museum, San Diego, CA

The USS Midway Museum is a floating attraction consisting of a real World War II-era aircraft carrier. Docked on Harbor Drive in San Diego, the ship contains authentic aircraft, along with a variety of exhibits and a multimedia theater. This is one of the most well-known military history sites in the country, winning a 2023 TripAdvisor Best of the Best award.

Tour details: A self-guided audio tour is available for the ship alongside the cost of a ticket — $31 for adults, $21 for veterans or kids ages 6-12. If you're traveling with a group, however, you can arrange for a one-hour docent tour, which is $550 for groups of up to 9 and $55 per person for groups of 10-60. To get a feel for the ship ahead of time, you can take a virtual tour from home.

Gettysburg National Military Park, Gettysburg, PA

Perhaps the most iconic battlefield associated with the Civil War, Gettysburg is a location steeped in history. The actual field is vast, but it centers around a world-class visitor center and museum. From there, you can trek out to see the places where events unfolded over the course of the bloody battle.

Tour details: There are multiple ways to tour the battlefield at Gettysburg. The Battlefield Tour takes 2.5 hours and costs $38 for adults, $23 for kids ages 6-12. There are also package deals with museum admission. Tours typically take place in buses, but there are also options for personal car tours and even bike tours run by a private company.

Oscar-01 Tour, Whiteman Air Force Base, MO

The Oscar-01 Missile Launch Control Facility is a much more esoteric location to tour, but one that paints a truly distinct portrait of a unique time in military history. This was the sole operational missile command site located on an active U.S. military base during the Cold War, and it served in that capacity from 1964-1993.

Tour details: Groups of up to eight people can book a tour of the missile facility on Mondays through Fridays. To explore the site, the group members already need to be approved for access to Whiteman Air Force Base.

Fort Drum History Tours, Fort Drum, NY

The U.S. military has been active in this area near the Canadian border since the War of 1812. While the present-day Fort Drum dates back to 1974, the site has lived many lives. It served as a training barracks from the early 1800s on, and was also a prisoner of war camp during World War II. Today, it hosts the 10th Mountain Division (LI), a prominent and frequently deployed light infantry division.

Tour details: Free history tours set off by bus by prior appointment from Monday through Friday, with guides providing historical information. Because the tours take place on an active military base, tour rosters need approval beforehand. The base is also home to a museum of Fort Drum and 10th Mountain Division history.

We hope you have a wonderful year and set aside some time to see the most fascinating military sights this country has to offer.