Learn about China's Military History (amid Scenic Villages!)
The Whampoa Military Academy, founded by the Kuomintang under Sun Yat-Sen in 1924, was an important piece of Chinese Military history. The site was destroyed in the 1930s by the Japanese, but rebuilt in the 60s. Today, it has been preserved as a museum, with classrooms and dormitories that are set up to give a taste of daily life during the site's use, as well as exhibits on China's military history from the 1920s to the present. (As you might imagine, it's a popular site among student groups.)
For military and history buffs, the site is a real treat—but even for those who just want to enjoy a day out and about, it's a pleasant trip. The Academy site is on Changzhou Island, accessible by a ferry that runs hourly from Xinzhou Port (¥1.5). There are a few quiet villages on the island, and bicycles for rent at the port.