If there's one thing that's certain about the US, it's that it's not very old. While Italy and England have monuments left over from 1,000 years ago, you're lucky to find something in America that predates the Civil War. 

And yet, that doesn't mean our history isn't valuable. Indeed, outside of Gettysburg and the Liberty Bell, America is replete with historical artifacts and items that few people know about, underrated gems that, in one way or another, encompass our shared national heritage. In honor of that, we have listed below 5 of the most underrated historical sites in America, places you should consider visiting on your next vacation if only to take a moment and realize how amazing our national story really is.

5. Fort Sumter, South Carolina

While perhaps not as famous and well travelled as Gettysburg, Bull Run, and Antietam, Fort Sumter is, nevertheless, just as historically compelling. After all, this is where it all started:  Where the confederacy fired off the shots that started the Civil War.

And if that's not enough, the facilities at Fort Sumter aren't bad either. The island of the Fort is accessible by either tour boat or private boat, lending two different types of visiting experiences. Plus, inside the Fort is an entire exhibit on its unique history, creating the possibility of really learning what went on in Charleston 150 years ago.

4. Lewis & Clark National Historical Park, Washington and Oregon

Although various Lewis & Clark state parks are scattered across the country, this one gets the nod for the historical thrust of its content. With replicas and original artifacts from famous landmarks like Fort Clatsop, Fort Columbia, and Cape Disappointment, the Lewis & Clark National Historical Park really gives you a feel for what it must have been like to journey across the Louisiana territory two-hundred years ago. 

Visiting in the summer is particularly nice. Outdoor activities like hiking, bird watching, and discovering local wildlife make it possible to turn a visit to Lewis & Clark National Park into an entire weekend of fun and excitement for you and your family.  

3. Taos Pueblo, New Mexico

Few things have the capability to give a true image of the history of the United States like Taos Pueblo, New Mexico, a city that has existed for over one thousand years. Indeed, the adobe structures that make up the majority of the cities buildings are largely unchanged since its origination a millennium ago, giving the area a larger historical scope than most other places in the United States.

However, the most remarkable thing about the village is the living history that still exists within it. Indeed, Taos Pueblo continues to exist as a sovereign entity within the US, the home of nearly 1,300 native residents, some of whom can trace their lineage as far back as the cities founding. Taos Pueblo, therefore, is more than just a historical landmark - it is a testament to the strength and endurance of an entire people, even in spite of the growing world around them.

2. Civil Rights Institute, Alabama

While many people are familiar with the Civil Rights District in Atlanta, Georgia (which includes such prominent landmarks as Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthplace) what many people don't know is that an equally authentic and interesting museum exists in another locus of Civil Rights conflict, Birmingham Alabama.

Located just above the infamous Kelly Ingram Park, where activists would frequently protest segregation laws, the Civil Rights Institute provides a wealth of information about Reverend King, the bus boycotts, and the Civil Rights movement in general. Also next door is the 16th Street Baptist Church, home to the infamous 1963 bombing, a perfect place to stop by and pay your respects for the lives lost in the struggle for American Civil Rights in our country and abroad.

1. Fort Augustine, Florida

Although most people would identify the "birthplace" of the nation as Plymouth Rock or Jamestown, the first European colonists to the New World actually came in 1565, with the Spanish construction of Fort Augustine.

And the fort certainly feels old. Standing at the brim of the Atlantic, you can imagine, from the deck, just what it would've felt like watching diligently for enemy ships, or awaiting some new influx of supplies. The tours and exhibits are also top-notch, adding an air of historical legitimacy to the impressive site. Which is why, in the end, Fort Augustine is the most underrated historical site in America, a perfect place to go and learn more about our heritage, or simply to take your family on a cheaper, less touristy vacation.