Northern Virginia Driving Tour - WWII

Northern Virginia Driving Tour - WWII

The "Cradle of Victory" World War II Heritage Trail" honors "America's Greatest Generation" with places that tell their stories of World War II.

art center within the old torpedo factory tombstones at Arlington National Cemetery WWII Memorial
Torpedo Factory Art Center
Arlington National Cemetery
World War II Memorial in D.C.


Visit the U.S. Naval Torpedo Station, which is now the Torpedo Factory Art Center in Alexandria. During WWII, it employed 6,000 munitions workers who built the Mark XIV torpedo. See an actual torpedo, momentos and a guidance gyroscope.

See Frank Lloyd Wright's Pope-Leighy House, the only Wright-designed stucture in the Washington area that is open to the public. Learn how this extraordinary house was built at an extraordinary time — 1940 — and take a tour that focuses on the WWII years.

While still in Alexandria, visit Fort Hunt Park, a former WWII Prisoner of War interrogation camp. Situated along the Potomac River, it was once part of George Washington's estate. Next door is Mount Vernon, the beautiful estate and gardens of George and Martha Washington.


Travel north to Arlington and visit Arlington National Cemetery and Fort Meyer. Many Five-Star Generals and Admirals from WWII are buried at Arlington, and it is a special place to honor our nation's soldiers. The U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial — Iwo Jima Memorial is at Arlington, too. It was inspired by the Pulitzer Prize-winning photo of five marines and one navy hosiptal corpsman who raised the U.S. flag over Iwo Jima during the Battle for the Pacific.

Next to the Marine Corps Memorial is the Netherlands Carillon, a gift to the United States from the Dutch people in gratitude for American aid received during and after WWII.

While at Arlington, visit the Women in Military Service for America Memorial, which honors military women of the past, present and future. The heart of the memorial is a computerized register containing 250,000 women's stories.

The Pentagon is currently closed to individual visitors, but group tours can be arranged. With the onset of WWII, construction of the Penatgon began on Sept. 11, 1941. Sadly, it was the target of terrorists 60 years later on Sept. 11, 2001.

If you have time to go a bit further north, visit General George C. Marshall's Residence, Dodona Manor in Leesburg.


At Dulles, visit the new National Air & Space Museum's Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly. See 10 significant WWII aircraft. You'll want to spend plenty of time here. At the Herndon Dulles Visitors Center, see artifacts from the U.S.S. Herndon, a U.S. Navy Destroyer that participated in invasions of Sicily, Normandy and southern France.


Travel south on I-95 to Fort Belvoir, the site for the training of U.S. Army's engineering soldiers. By the end of the war, more than 147,000 engineering troops had passed through the fort trained in reconnaissance, demolition and road and obstacle contruction.

Further south on I-95 is Quantico Marine Corps Base, which is open to the public with identification. Ouantico has been the "frontline of innovation" and was the place where amphibious warfare was conceived and perfected in preparation for World War II. Visit Quantico National Cemetery on the base, too.

In nearby Prince William County, see Prince William Forest National Park, Training Ground of the OSS during WWII. The OSS was the predecessor of the CIA and various military Special Forces units during WWII.

*The National Museum of the Marine Corps is under construction and is scheduled to open in the Fall of 2006.*