CitySights DC

Best Day Trips Near Washington, DC

Just outside of the nation’s capital, the greater Washington, DC area offers a multitude of fun and relaxing getaways. An afternoon is all the time you need to enjoy these five day trips near Washington, DC. From natural wonders to historic towns, there’s something for everyone less than two hours from the city!

Tour Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington National Cemetery is the most famous cemetery in the nation. Marked by seemingly endless rows of small white headstones, the park is the final resting place for some of the nation’s most esteemed veterans. It’s also where you can watch the Changing of the Guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and see the Eternal Flame at John F. Kennedy’s gravesite. You can easily spend a whole afternoon at the Arlington National Cemetery. Take a double-decker bus tour from the capital for easy round-trip transportation and the chance to sight see along the way.

Hike at Shenandoah National Park
Just 90 minutes west of the Capital Beltway lies Shenandoah National Park and the breathtaking Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. The nearly 200,000-acre park has more than 500 miles of trails, including 101 miles of the well-known Appalachian Trail. The 9-mile Old Rag circuit is the most popular hike, but there are dozens of shorter or less traveled trails to conquer as well. If you’d prefer to enjoy the great outdoors from the comfort of your car, a drive along Skyline Drive – featuring 75 scenic overlooks – is a beautiful and thrilling adventure in itself!

River Cruise to Old Town Alexandria
Hop on board the Washington Monuments Cruise in Georgetown and sail down the Potomac to Old Town Alexandria! The city of Alexandria was a thriving port in the 18th and 19th-centuries. Today, the cobblestone streets are lined with boutiques, restaurants and pubs. It’s home to some interesting attractions like the Torpedo Factory Art Center, a former WWII torpedo plant transformed into contemporary artist studios. It’s one of the most convenient day trips near Washington, DC.

Chesapeake Bay Beach Getaway
If lounging in the sand sounds like your kind of vacation day, head to one of the beaches on Chesapeake Bay. Sandy Point State Park is just 40 miles south of DC. Swim or boat on the water, then picnic on one of the long, sandy beaches. Further down the Chesapeake Bay, you’ll get to Point Lookout State Park. This serene beach was once the site of a Civil War prison camp, which held more than 52,000 Confederate soldiers. A museum in the park recounts the history.

George Washington’s Mount Vernon
Beautiful buildings, gardens, and surrounding grounds are only part of the draw at Mount Vernon, George Washington’s plantation home. The first President of the United States and one of the Founding Fathers, George Washington was a patriot if there ever was one. Mount Vernon estate is an enduring reminder of his legacy. Spend an afternoon exploring George and Martha’s mansion, outbuildings, heritage bred animals, six acres of gardens, the Washington family tomb and more. Visit Mount Vernon and other area attractions at the most affordable price by picking up a Washington DC Explorer Pass.

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