day trips from dc

Best Day Trips from DC

Are you looking for the best day trips from DC? Those who live or visit Washington DC for more than a few days understand that the need to escape the capital city’s daily hustle and bustle. Fortunately, there are many great, but nearby, places to visit outside the beltway. Here are a few the best day trips from DC to check out after any Washington DC tour.

Mt. Vernon, VA – historic day trips from DC

Step back in time to the late 18th century and visit the extraordinary estate of George Washington. Located in northern Virginia and a thirty minute drive from the heart of Washington DC, Mt. Vernon is a must see for all those in the Washington DC area. Settled on the banks of Potomac River with amazing countryside views, Washington’s estate has been exceptionally preserved and is still operational, with original buildings, farm animals, fruit orchards, and vegetable gardens. Guides dressed in period costumes help visitors understand how the plantation originally operated. Visit George and Martha’s grave and see the room where Washington passed away. An interactive and brand new visitor center is exciting, informational, and fun for the whole family. The history of George Washington is also the history of the United States, which makes it one of the most historic day trips from DC. You can learn more about George Washington in our Washington Monument tour.

washington dc day trips to mount vernon

Harpers Ferry, WV – picturesque day trips from DC

Harpers Ferry is situated on a West Virginian peninsula that is bordered by the Potomac River to the north, the Shenandoah River to the south and to the east is the confluence of the two. Unique in is geographic layout, the town provides picturesque views down river of both Maryland and Virginia are. The history is fascinating, the downtown quaint and memorable, and there are hiking trails and water sport activities available as well. Only 90 minutes from Washington DC, it is easy to spend a day enjoying this treasured tip of West Virginia. This scenic and outdoorsy town makes it one of the most picturesque day trips from DC.

best washington dc day

Shenandoah National Park – active day trips from DC

Shenandoah National Park is one of the highlights of the state of Virginia. A mere 90 minute drive from Washington DC, it has been a getaway for many a former president, including Herbert Hoover who owned Rapidan Camp that is currently within the borders of the park itself. Drive on Skyline Drive that runs the length of the park and provides gorgeous views of Shenandoah Valley. If you’re lucky you might see a black bear roaming free in the wild. Feeling adventurous? Stretch your legs by hiking a section of the Appalachian Trail that runs through the park. Old Rag is one of the most popular and beautiful hikes in the Shenandoah Valley, but prepared as the trip will take a full day and requires one to be in half-decent shape to climb. However, the rewarding views at the top are worth it. More fun can be found at Luray Caverns in Luray, VA. Take the one hour guided tour of one of Virginia’s most unique limestone caverns open to the public before heading back to DC. The hikes at the Shenandoah National Park are the best you will find in the area, making it our recommended day trips from DC for those who want to be outside and active.

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Charlottesville, VA – charming day trips from DC

Home to the University of Virginia and Monticello, both designed by Thomas Jefferson, Charlottesville is a great town to visit to escape and relax. A two and a half hour drive from DC, this cozy college town has a unique history and access to some great Virginia wineries. Monticello, the former estate of Thomas Jefferson, is located on the outskirts of Charlottesville and is a must see for any history buff. Jeferson meticulously designed this house and it is home to a number of historic treasures. The Monticello Wine Tour offers visits to over twenty wineries in the area. Walk up and down the Charlottesville downtown pedestrian mall and intermingle with the university students, while cashing in on the cheap eats the town has to offer. Between the wine, Thomas Jefferson, and one of the most charming downtowns in Virginia, Charlottesville is one of the Washington DC day that you may never want to leave!

best washington dc day trips to charlottesville

Annapolis, MD – patriotic day trips from DC

As home to the Naval Academy, this port and military college town is a charming place to explore. Browse through quaint shops and galleries, walk along the water, and eat some of the best seafood you can find near Washington DC. The beautiful campus and the local Navy Museum are worth visiting. Thanks to all the American flags you will see around town and the Navy soldiers walking around in uniform, this is one of the most patriotic and symbolic of the Washington DC trips. Whatever you do, don’t leave without trying eating some of the famous Maryland Crab.

best washington dc day trips to annapolis

If you are going on one of these day trips from DC, you probably are living or visiting Washington DC too. Make sure to check out guide to Washington DC museums, Washington DC monuments, and our National Mall tour.

Enjoy your day trips from DC!

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Anthony Bourdain in DC

bourdain washington dc
Looking for more best restaurants in Washington DC? Check out all the sites from the Anthony Bourdain Washington DC Travel Guide on Travel Channel, with our commentary and tips.

Washington DC Monuments

Washington DC Monuments
No Washington DC tour would be complete without teaching the fascinating stories about the many monuments. They share thousands of stories about the people and events that created and shaped the nation. Learn about each of the Washington DC monuments.

National Mall Tour

National Mall Tour
The National Mall is a must-see on any Washington DC tour. Learn fun facts about all the monuments, how to get there or where to park, who provides the best National Mall tour, and more by reading our guide to the National Mall.

Washington DC Museums

Washington DC Museums
Washington DC museums are some of the highest rated in the world. The majority of them are free, which is a great benefit for any local or Washington DC tour. It can be overwhelming, but we will explain all of the best Washington DC museums.
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