Thinking about where to go this summer and what to do? Here are seven can't-miss destinations that should be added to your family's vacation route this year!
1. NRA National Firearms Museum (Fairfax, Virginia) If you’re serious about guns you can’t miss the NRA Museum in Fairfax, which houses more than 3,000 firearms in 15 separate galleries covering 15,000 square feet. Dioramas explain the important role that firearms and the Second Amendment played in shaping this country, and the NRA’s collection has more depth and breadth than perhaps any gun museum in the world, displaying everything from muskets used in Jamestown to World War II arms to firearms from popular Hollywood movies. Nramuseum.com
2. Buffalo Bill Center of the West (Cody, Wyoming) Named in honor of William Frederick “Buffalo Bill” Cody, one of the most enigmatic figures in American history, the Buffalo Bill Center is home to the Cody Firearms Museum. Since 1975 the Winchester Arms Collection has been on display here, and the collection has grown to include more than 7,000 of the most important firearms from a variety of manufacturers throughout history. The main theme, as you might imagine, is the guns that shaped the Old West. If you’re in the area, don’t miss this attraction. Centerofthewest.org
3. National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma) Founded in 1955, The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum has on display some of the most important art, artifacts and—yes—firearms from America’s western frontier. More than 10 million visitors a year view the museum’s galleries, but gun enthusiasts will be particularly interested in the Weitzenhoffer Fine Firearms Gallery, which houses more than 100 of the most valuable and iconic firearms in western history, including Colts, Winchesters, Sharps and more. Nationalcowboymuseum.org
4. NRA Whittington Center (Raton, New Mexico) Covering 30,000 acres outside Raton, New Mexico, the Whittington Center offers guests a variety of attractions year-round. There are 17 shooting ranges that cover every discipline and an opportunity to receive world-class training from the team of professionals at Whittington U Shooting School. In addition, the Whittington Center offers guided and unguided hunts, summer youth programs, a museum, library, visitor center and a pro shop. Oh, and they also offer lodging options from RV hookups, to primitive camps, to suites in the lodge. And that’s a good thing, because you won’t want to leave. NRAWC.org
5. Jack O’Connor Hunting Heritage and Education Center (Lewiston, Idaho) Jack O’Connor was one of the best-known outdoor writers of his generation, and his knowledge of firearms and experience in game fields around the world was unsurpassed. Today, you can see O’Connor’s firearms, trophies and hundreds of photographs and articles on display at the Jack O’Connor Center at Hell’s Gate State Park in Lewiston. One of the rifles on display is O’Connor’s famous Winchester Model 70 .270, a rifle that O’Connor carried around the world, and which is featured in many of his writings. Jack-oconnor.org
6. Springfield Armory National Historic Site (Springfield, Massachusetts) Springfield Armory was established under General George Washington early in the Revolutionary War and began building muskets in 1794. Firearms production continued there until 1968, with Springfield Armory producing firearms used in most every major American conflict from the American Revolution until Vietnam. Today, the original 1840s arsenal houses the largest collection of U.S. military firearms found anywhere in the world. The site is open year-round and features educational exhibits and programs. This is a must-see for anyone interested in American military history and the guns that helped preserve our freedoms. Nps.gov/spar(Image: Springfield Armory National Historic Site/James Langone)
7. Autry Museum of the American West (Los Angeles, California) If you find yourself in the City of Angels, take the time to stop at the Autry Museum of the American West and view both the Colt in the American West exhibit as well as the Western Frontiers: Stories of Fact and Fiction display that houses some of the most iconic guns from our nation’s past, including Teddy Roosevelt’s Winchester and Colt guns, as well as Annie Oakley’s gold-plated pistol. Theautry.org