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The 11 best weekend getaways from washington, d.c..

Escape the hustle and bustle of our nation's capital with one of these refreshing weekend getaways.

Weekend Getaways From Washington, D.C.

Sunset over the water in Annapolis.

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Consider a seaside adventure to Annapolis for your next trip away from Washington, D.C.

There's no denying the countless things to do and see in our nation's capital. However, the nonstop pace of Washington, D.C. , can wear anyone out, and sometimes a weekend getaway is just what the doctor ordered. Luckily, D.C.'s central mid-Atlantic location gives travelers easy access to top destinations in Virginia , Maryland , Pennsylvania and more.

To help you choose the destination that is right for you, U.S. News evaluated expert and traveler opinion to bring you the best weekend getaways from Washington, D.C. Whether your perfect trip involves hiking the Blue Ridge Mountains or being pampered at a world-class spa resort, you'll find all that and more only a stone's throw from D.C.

The Best Weekend Getaways From Washington, D.C.

About an hour or less:, leesburg, virginia, annapolis, maryland, middleburg, virginia, about two hours or less:, shenandoah national park, virginia, st. michaels, maryland, richmond, virginia, about three hours or less:, charlottesville, virginia, rehoboth beach, delaware, philadelphia, ocean city, maryland.

Town homes in downtown Leesburg, Virginia.

Situated about 40 miles northwest of D.C., Leesburg may not be the first destination Washingtonians have in mind when they think of an exciting weekend getaway. But this hidden gem on the banks of the Potomac River has plenty to offer all kinds of travelers. From historic buildings like George C. Marshall's Dodona Manor to lush green spaces like Morven Park, you'll discover a surprising number of things to occupy your time with in Leesburg. Browse boutiques, explore art galleries or sip a latte at one of historic downtown Leesburg's many charming cafes. Or, if you'd like something a little stronger, hit up one of the area's breweries for a drink – Loudoun Brewing Company and Black Hoof Brewing Company receive rave reviews from recent travelers. Meanwhile, wine lovers can sample delicious vino at traveler-approved Zephaniah Farm Vineyard or Casanel Vineyards & Winery. In the evening, listen to live music at the Tally Ho Theater before bedding down at one of the area's charming bed-and-breakfasts . You can also splurge on a stay at the luxurious Lansdowne Resort , which offers amenities like three golf courses and a full-service spa.

Twilight at harbor at Downtown Annapolis, Maryland.

Maryland's capital city is ideal for travelers who need a break from D.C.'s fast-paced atmosphere. Once dubbed the "Athens of America," the historic seaport of Annapolis now draws visitors looking to explore its boutique- and restaurant-lined streets or experience the magic of the Chesapeake Bay by boat. Start your visit with a stroll through Historic Annapolis , which is home to a variety of charming cafes, museums and art galleries. Here, travelers will find top attractions like the William Paca House and the Banneker-Douglass Museum , which presents an overview of Black history in Maryland from the 1600s onward. Then, tour the exhibits on display at the U.S. Naval Academy , the second-oldest federal service academy in the country.

Don't forget to check out the city's many outdoor treasures as well. Weekenders can spend an afternoon lounging on Sandy Point State Park 's golden shoreline or enjoy a picnic at scenic Quiet Waters Park . Later, see for yourself why Annapolis is one of the nation's premier sailing destinations by taking a sunset boat tour of Chesapeake Bay. When it's time to turn in for the night, lay down your head at one of the city's many historic inns or hotels. Graduate Annapolis is a popular pick among recent travelers thanks to its comfortable, nautical-style accommodations and friendly staff.

[See more of Annapolis:  Things to Do  |  Hotels  |  When to Visit  |  Photos  ]

Skyline aerial of Baltimore, Maryland.

Affectionately nicknamed "Charm City," Baltimore fits the bill whether you are planning a whirlwind daytrip or a fun-filled weekend getaway. From renowned art museums like the Baltimore Museum of Art and The Walters Art Museum to historic sites like Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine , this dynamic city has something to offer just about everyone. You won't want to miss top attractions like the USS Constellation and the National Aquarium , and if you can swing it, try to catch a baseball game at the iconic Oriole Park at Camden Yards . Just don't leave without sampling Maryland's famous blue crab – the Chesapeake Bay is responsible for approximately half of the country's entire supply.

Although the drive here from D.C. is relatively short at about 40 miles, you can save yourself the hassle of navigating through downtown Baltimore by taking an Amtrak train from Washington's Union Station to Baltimore's Penn Station, which will get you into the city in less than an hour. From there, Baltimore's convenient public transit system is easy to get the hang of, and the Charm City Circulator (which offers four routes through the city's central business district) is free to ride. First-time visitors hoping to see many of Baltimore's top sights should opt for lodging near the Inner Harbor , or you can put your ghost-hunting skills to the test by staying overnight in one of city's spooky haunted hotels – such as the Admiral Fell Inn .

[See more of Baltimore:  Things to Do  |  Hotels  |  When to Visit  |  Photos  ]

Grapes on vine at vineyard.

About 45 miles from D.C., Middleburg is like a breath of fresh air. Set amid a backdrop of rolling hills and vineyards, this quiet sanctuary at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia is known for being the nation's premier horse and hunt capital. World-class equestrian events are held here throughout the year, and the town is also home to the National Sporting Library & Museum, an art museum and research library dedicated to country pursuits. After brushing up on your horseback riding skills at one of the area's equestrian centers, go for a stroll along charming Washington Street, where you can browse art galleries, dine on delicious farm-to-table cuisine or hunt for hidden treasures in one of the town's antique shops.

Middleburg is also known for its many wineries – visitors can spend an afternoon sampling top-notch vino before bedding down at one of the area's lavish hotels. With a full-service spa, indoor and outdoor pools, an equestrian center, a cooking studio, and even an on-site zip lining course, Salamander Resort & Spa is perfect for travelers who want to pull out all the stops for their short weekend getaway. Or, you can opt for a room at the luxurious Goodstone Inn & Restaurant, an exclusive property offering a mere 18 guest rooms spread across six historic cottages. Time your visit for October to experience the four-day Middleburg Film Festival, or arrive on the first Saturday of December to take part in the town's beloved annual Christmas parade.

A sunset viewed from the summit of Hawksbill Mountain in Shenandoah National Park, featuring a beautiful sky, lush forests, and jagged rocks. Hawksbill summit is the highest point in Shenandoah National Park.

From rushing waterfalls to rocky mountain peaks, Shenandoah National Park is home to a wealth of natural beauty about 70 miles from the city. Experience it on foot while hiking the park's 500-plus miles of trails (the strenuous 9.4-mile Old Rag Mountain hike is a traveler favorite), or enjoy the stunning views while exploring Skyline Drive , a 105-mile scenic route that is a must-do on any Shenandoah itinerary. You can also step foot on the legendary Appalachian Trail , about 100 miles of which is located in Shenandoah National Park. Plan your visit for fall to see the Blue Ridge Mountains painted in magnificent shades of red, orange and yellow, or come during spring to admire the park's wildflowers in bloom.

If you feel like roughing it under the stars, the park offers five campgrounds to choose from, and backcountry camping is allowed with a permit. Or, kill two birds with one stone by booking accommodations in the nearby town of Luray. Here, visitors will find the famous Luray Caverns, a vast underground cave system known for its extensive chambers of stalactites and stalagmites.

[See more of Shenandoah National Park:  Things to Do  |  When to Visit  |  Photos  ]

View of a harbor with yachts moored to wooden piers under a blue sky in St. Michaels, Maryland.

Travelers looking for a relaxing weekend getaway will love the laid-back town of St. Michaels. Located about 80 miles east of Washington, this quaint harbor town on Maryland's eastern shore can suit a variety of needs, whether you are looking for a romantic trip for two or a family-friendly retreat on the water. Learn about the town's rich history of shipbuilding through interactive exhibits at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, then gain your sea legs on a sunset boat tour of Miles River. Or, if you'd rather stick to land, you can explore the streets of St. Michaels on a pedicab ride before perusing the many unique shops and restaurants that line Talbot Street. When it's time to turn in for the evening, visitors can retreat to one of St. Michaels' cozy inns or vacation rentals.

weekend trips around dc

Tips on Trips and Expert Picks

Travel tips, vacation ideas and more to make your next vacation stellar.

Virginia State Capitol in Richmond, Virginia, at dusk.

About 110 miles from Washington, Virginia's capital, while steeped in history, is by no means stuck in the past. Sure, travelers can enjoy iconic landmarks like the Virginia State Capitol and St. John's Church , but you'd be remiss not to save time for exploring Richmond 's other cultural offerings too. From world-class art museums like the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts to top-notch restaurants and breweries , Richmond offers a plethora of ways to spend your time. Take a stroll through eccentric Carytown , where you'll find boutiques, a 1920s movie theater and more street murals than you can count.

You can also spend an afternoon rafting or kayaking down the scenic James River. Meanwhile, travelers with a taste for beautiful outdoor spaces will want to check out the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden and historic Maymont , a sprawling Gilded Age-era estate featuring spectacular Italian and Japanese gardens. In the evening, lay down your head at the sophisticated Jefferson Hotel , an upscale property in the heart of downtown Richmond boasting deluxe amenities and opulent guest rooms – perfect for a romantic getaway in Virginia .

[See more of Richmond:  Things to Do  |  Hotels  |  When to Visit  |  Photos  ]

Aerial shots of Charlottesville, Virginia on a cloudy evening in early fall.

The city of Charlottesville , located about 115 miles southwest of D.C., is an ideal getaway spot for those who want to immerse themselves in our nation's history. Your first stop should be Monticello , the former home of President Thomas Jefferson. Here, visitors can tour Jefferson's living quarters and learn about the experiences of the enslaved people who were forced to live and work here. Recent travelers also recommend saving time for a stroll through the Saunders-Monticello Trail, a 4-mile route through native hardwood forest. After exploring the grounds of his historic estate, pay a visit to the university founded by Jefferson in 1819: the University of Virginia . This historic college is the only university in the United States to be designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

When you're ready to step back into the present, you'll find top-rated restaurants, art galleries, specialty shops and more in Charlottesville's beloved Downtown Mall . For a memorable experience, visit in autumn to go applepicking at Carter Mountain Orchard and witness the area's colorful fall foliage . Don't forget to grab an apple cider doughnut – a treat recent travelers say is not to be missed. Recharge your batteries with a luxurious stay at Boar's Head Resort , a charming property with many on-site amenities, including tennis and pickleball courts, a spa, golf courses, three swimming pools, a squash center and a rock climbing wall.

[See more of Charlottesville:  Things to Do | Wineries |  Hotels  |  When to Visit  |  Photos  ]

Sunrise at Rehoboth Beach. Photo taken with a drone during summer.

Nicknamed the "Nation's Summer Capital," Rehoboth Beach is one of Delaware's best weekend getaway destinations. Located about 120 miles east of D.C., this 1-square-mile town is perfect for travelers in search of a classic beach vacation. Spend an afternoon lounging on the sand, then go for a stroll along Rehoboth's lively boardwalk , which is packed with restaurants, bars, shops and more. Meanwhile, families won't want to miss a visit to Funland , a popular amusement park featuring arcade games and plenty of kid-friendly rides. For a quieter (but no less beautiful) beach experience, head to Cape Henlopen State Park . Located north of Rehoboth Beach, this coastal park offers ample opportunities for swimming, fishing, cycling, camping, hiking and more.

When it's time to bed down, the area is full of cozy cottages and vacation rentals. Or, travelers can find lodging at one of Rehoboth Beach's top hotels. Boardwalk Plaza Hotel boasts comfortable Victorian-style accommodations and perks like an on-site pub and indoor-outdoor pool. Meanwhile, The Avenue Inn & Spa attracts travelers looking for extras like a full-service spa and complimentary breakfast. Plan an autumn visit to Rehoboth Beach to experience the annual Sea Witch Festival, a top fall festival .

[See more of Rehoboth Beach:  Things to Do  |  Hotels  |  When to Visit  |  Photos  ]

Philadelphia's Independence Hall at sunset.

History buffs who have already explored Washington's many monuments and museums will be delighted to know there's yet another historical city within close reach of the nation's capital. Located around 140 miles northeast of D.C., Philadelphia boasts iconic landmarks such as the Liberty Bell Center , the Betsy Ross House and Independence Hall , where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were drafted and signed. But despite its historic heritage, Philadelphia has kept up well with the times – hip nightclubs and trendy restaurants abound in Center City, along with world-class art museums like the Rodin Museum and the Philadelphia Museum of Art .

Keep in mind that traffic in Philly is notoriously bad and parking options are slim, so ditch the car and opt for public transportation instead. An Amtrak train from Union Station to William H. Gray III 30th Street Station typically takes less than two hours, and once you're there, the city's easy-to-use transit system will get you wherever you need to go. But if you don't feel like sharing elbow room with a bus full of strangers, don't worry – Philadelphia is consistently rated as one of the most walkable cities in the U.S. Take advantage of this by booking your stay at Kimpton Hotel Monaco Philadelphia or the swanky Rittenhouse hotel, both of which offer prime locations near many of the city's top sights.

[See more of Philadelphia:  Things to Do  |  Hotels  |  When to Visit  |  Photos  ]

View of Ocean City, an Atlantic resort town in Worcester County, Maryland, from the beach in the evening.

Maryland's Ocean City has long been the beach destination of choice for D.C. residents – and for good reason. Complete with kid-friendly amusement rides and 10 miles of uninterrupted shoreline, this quintessential beach town has all the makings of a fun-filled weekend getaway. For prime beach access, opt for a hotel facing the ocean – Princess Royale Oceanfront Resort and Hilton Ocean City Oceanfront Suites both receive rave reviews from recent travelers. Or, enjoy relaxing water views from a bayside vacation rental. And the best part? Ocean City is located less than 150 miles from D.C., so beach bums won't have to travel far to stick their toes in the sand.

Thanks to its position on Assawoman and Isle of Wright bays, Ocean City is the perfect place to enjoy low-key waters ports like paddleboarding and kayaking. But, of course, the main draw here is the city's wide, sandy beach . Although you'll have to fight off other beachgoers for a spot to lay your towel come June, lounging under the sun while ocean waves crash in the distance is the perfect summer activity. Families can peruse the boardwalk 's many souvenir shops and arcades, or head to nostalgia-inducing Trimper Rides for amusement park classics like mirror mazes and bumper cars. Refuel with tasty local treats like Thrasher's French Fries and Fractured Prune donuts. Meanwhile, travelers 21 and older can take advantage of Ocean City's exciting nightlife scene – Seacrets, the island's most popular party complex, features more than 15 bars and several stages playing nightly live music.

[See more of Ocean City:  Things to Do  |  Hotels  |  When to Visit  |  Photos  ]

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15 Top-Rated Weekend Getaways from Washington D.C.

Written by Freddy Sherman Updated Mar 30, 2022 We may earn a commission from affiliate links ( )

When it's time to get away from Washington D.C., your destination options include almost the entire Eastern United States. Aside from all the possible getaways by car, the city is well connected to the Northeast and New England by train, including Amtrak's Acela high-speed train. Acela service connects Washington and Boston with 14 stops in between. Amtrak's Silver Meteor train will get you to the theme parks of Orlando or the beaches of South Florida in about a day.

You can do an urban getaway to the Broadway shows, museums, and fine dining of Manhattan, or head to Harpers Ferry in West Virginia for some history, along with rural hiking or mountain biking.

The D.C. area is also within easy reach of many beaches, including those along the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean like Myrtle Beach or Ocean City. You may want to take a winter ski getaway , and there are several options within a two-hour drive of the city.

The area around Washington is home to a lot of destination resorts, where you can spend the entire weekend experiencing the available amenities and activities. Families will enjoy a visit to the massive Greenbrier resort in West Virginia, with its 11,000 acres of activities. Couples might like a romantic country house resort like the Goodstone Inn in Middleburg, Virginia.

For ideas on easy city escapes, browse this list of the top weekend getaways from Washington D.C.

1. New York City

2. ocean city, new jersey, 3. old town alexandria, virginia, 4. harpers ferry, west virginia, 5. gettysburg, pennsylvania, 6. philadelphia, pennsylvania, 7. annapolis, maryland, 8. the greenbrier, west virginia, 9. rehoboth beach, delaware, 10. cape hatteras, north carolina, 11. whitetail resort, pennsylvania, 12. goodstone inn & restaurant, 13. orlando, florida, 14. myrtle beach, south carolina, 15. boston, massachusetts, map of weekend getaways from washington d.c..

New York City

Any list of D.C. getaways has to start with New York City (or at least include it in the top three). Amtrak's Acela Express train service gets you from Union Station in Washington to Penn Station in Manhattan in three hours, sometimes even less.

Whether you take in a Broadway show , enjoy a foodie adventure in the city's many great restaurants, or spend your entire visit exploring the many museums , there is something for everyone.

The Dominick Hotel is one of the city's newer luxury hotels, located in a neighborhood called Hudson Square, next to SoHo and TriBeCa. It's within easy walking distance of Lower Manhattan, and there's a subway stop a block away to explore other areas of the city. The hotel is by far the tallest building in the area, giving its rooms and suites sensational views, some looking downtown, others uptown.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in New York City

Bikes on the boardwalk in Ocean City, NJ

For a family-friendly beach getaway three hours from D.C., Ocean City, New Jersey is an excellent option. Although Ocean City, Maryland is an hour closer, the New Jersey resort retains more of its small-town, family feel - the town was founded 100 years ago as a church retreat location.

The family-friendly environment means no alcohol sales anywhere in the city and many businesses close on Sundays to allow for worship or family time.

There are no mega-resorts here, just small hotels and motels and a wide, beautiful beach fronted with an old-school 2.5-mile-long wooden boardwalk. The boardwalk is lined with shops, restaurants, ice-cream stands, and a few amusement parks. Beyond the boardwalk are miles of windswept dune beaches. Ocean City is a summer weekend getaway destination, and many of the businesses close for the winter.

The Port-O-Call Hotel is right on the Boardwalk at 15th Street. The city's original high-rise hotel (10 stories), it retains a retro charm and puts you within walking distance of the whole town. Some rooms have balconies overlooking the beach, and there's also a large pool.

Old Town Alexandria

Alexandria, Virginia is right across the Potomac River from Washington and the home of many D.C. workers. But this city is also an easy getaway destination. It's a short trip by car, or you can even go by train via the Metro.

The Old Town area has a concentration of preserved buildings, now converted into more than 200 locally owned shops and restaurants. Old Town Alexandria is focused around a mile-long stretch of King Street, with cobblestone streets and red-brick sidewalks.

The Lorien Hotel & Spa is a luxury boutique hotel right in Old Town on King Street. The hip, stylish rooms are offered with warm, personal service and an effort to immerse guests in local culture.

Harpers Ferry

This city in West Virginia, about 90 minutes from Washington, is where the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers come together. Famous for its role in Civil War history, the area is just as popular as a getaway destination for its scenic beauty and abundance of outdoor activities.

The Harpers Ferry National Historical Park offers both history and miles of hiking and exploring. There are numerous historic sites and exhibitions to learn about the area and its history, along with miles of hiking trails and beautiful scenery to explore. The Harpers Ferry Historic District has a lot of original homes and the historic downtown area.

For overnight stays in Harpers Ferry, there are plenty of camping areas, or The Ledge House Bed and Breakfast is a popular option. This boutique property has a scenic hillside location with sweeping views of the Potomac River from its large front porch.

Gettysburg

Gettysburg, site of the battle that was a key turning point of the Civil War, is only a 90-minute road trip from Washington D.C. The battlefield site, a national park called Gettysburg Memorial Battlefield, is in Southern Pennsylvania, and it's a moving place to visit.

Gettysburg is an hour from a very cool area called Pennsylvania Dutch Country, and the two make for a great getaway. Pennsylvania Dutch Country is a rural farming area, home to the local Amish population, along with many tourist attractions.

You can't find a more central location than the Gettysburg Hotel , at 1 Lincoln Square. This historic hotel has been around since before the Civil War (it opened in 1797), and a stay here is a great complement to a battlefield visit. It's a wonderful choice for families, as the hotel itself is a piece of living history with strong connections to the Civil War.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Gettysburg

Philadelphia

Philadelphia makes a great weekend getaway destination from Washington, and it's less than two hours away by train. This historic city is filled with museums, great restaurants, and plenty of history, especially that of the Colonial American period.

The historic downtown area called Old City (known as America's most historic square mile), near Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, is a good area for sightseeing . The core is the Independence National Historical Park, which includes the Liberty Bell Center and other historic buildings from the colonial period.

To create a 24-hour-a-day historic experience in Philadelphia, a stay at The Morris House Hotel , built in 1787, is a great option. This luxury boutique hotel is a few blocks from Independence Hall and is also an excellent option for couples seeking a romantic colonial getaway. Not only is the Morris House hotel housed in a period building, the experience, furnishings, and decorations are all done in the Federal style.

Annapolis

The capital city of Maryland is about an hour from Washington D.C., and its waterfront location makes it a great escape from the city, especially for a summer getaway. Annapolis is home to the United States Naval Academy (which is open for guided tours), and the city offers many museums, cool shops, and, of course, fresh seafood.

The Annapolis Waterfront Hotel, Autograph Collection lives up to its waterfront name with a great harborfront location (it's the city's only waterfront hotel). Some of the hotel's rooms and suites have perfect views of the harbor and its many boats. Autograph Collection is a Marriott boutique hotel brand.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions and Things to Do in Annapolis, MD

The Greenbrier

This large resort in West Virginia is a getaway destination in itself. A hotel first opened on the site in 1778, and it has grown into an 11,000-acre luxury mega-resort and wellness spa. There are so many things to see and do at the Greenbrier - it's a great destination for families, solo travelers, and couples seeking a romantic experience.

Over the years, 27 US presidents have stayed at The Greenbrier , along with a who's who of international royalty and celebrities. There is a wide range of activities available (more than 50 different things to do), with golf, fishing, and horseback riding among the most popular. There's even a bowling alley and a movie theater, all part of the vast resort.

The Greenbrier is in Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, about a four-hour drive from Washington D.C. You can also take the Amtrak Cardinal train from Union Station to the resort - the travel time is about six hours.

Rehoboth Beach

Another small-town beach city originally founded as a church group retreat, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware has long been a popular (and cheap) summer getaway for D.C. residents. It's not too far away, If you time it right, you can leave Washington and be on the sand of Rehoboth Beach within about 2.5 hours. Formerly known mainly to Mid-Atlantic residents as a great getaway destination, Rehoboth Beach has gained international fame, as it's home to the summer residence of President Joe Biden.

The beach itself is a broad, sandy, flat beach but the town is best known for its old-fashioned wooden boardwalk. There's even a bandshell in the center of town on the boardwalk, with plenty of great musical programming and performances. The boardwalk is lined with carnival games, food stands, and locally owned shops. The ocean is also especially clean, very highly rated by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Rehoboth Beach is a very family-friendly place to visit. Adults and visitors seeking a more active nightlife head to the neighboring town of Dewey Beach. Rehoboth Beach is also a popular shopping destination, Delaware has no sales tax, and there's a large outlet mall just outside of town.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Beaches in Delaware

Cape Hatteras

The Cape Hatteras National Seashore is a strikingly beautiful area, part of North Carolina's Outer Banks . There are miles and miles of raw, wild undeveloped beaches and grassy sand dunes. It's about a six-hour drive from Washington, but well worth it.

The area all around Cape Hatteras is just about one of the best places on the whole East Coast for sportfishing and surfing, too. The harbors and beaches provide a great vacation environment, and all the fishing results in incredible seafood.

The Cape Hatteras Motel sits right on the sand, facing the sea, not far from the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. The rooms are not luxurious, but you'll be too distracted by the view to notice. The area in front of the motel is popular for surf fishing, where you stand on the beach or in the water and cast your line into the sea. The motel has oceanfront rooms, as well as two-bedroom suites with full kitchens.

Sunset over Whitetail Resort

If you're looking for a good winter weekend getaway, Whitetail Resort is on Two Top Mountain in the Bear Pond Mountains in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania. It's the best, closest ski resort to Washington, D.C. - you can leave D.C. and be on the slopes within two hours.

Whitetail Resort has 23 trails to ski, all of which are lit for night skiing. The total elevation is only about a thousand feet, but there's a range of runs for skiers of all skill levels.

Whitetail has three high-speed lifts along with its own terrain park for snowboarders and snowtubers. The mountain resort offers rentals and lessons as well.

Whitetail is a four-season resort, which means aside from skiing in the winter, they offer visitors a range of activities all year-round. You can go hiking and mountain biking on mountain trails or go fishing in a mountain lake.

Only about 15 minutes from the mountain, the Mercersburg Inn offers a rather fancy bed-and-breakfast experience in an ornate turn-of-the-century (19th- to the 20th-century) Georgian Revival mansion. The 17-room inn has rooms and suites in a main house and a carriage house. Accommodations range from cozy bedrooms to lavish suites.

This country inn is a great Washington, D.C. weekend getaway destination on its own. The Goodstone Inn & Restaurant is at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the town of Middleburg, Virginia. The area is known as Virginia's "horse and hunt" capital - it's filled with horse farms.

About an hour from Washington, the inn features a complex of six historic houses and cottages on a 265-acre estate. The cottages have been converted to create 18 luxurious rooms and suites, all oozing with country English or country French style.

The Goodstone is a popular foodie destination, as it has its own farm, where much of the food is grown. The resort's restaurant features a French-inspired menu, and many make the drive from DC just for a meal.

To work off all the delicious food you'll eat, the luxury boutique resort has miles of hiking and biking trails along with an outdoor heated pool and a spa.

Lake Eola in Downtown Orlando

With some good planning, you can do a weekend getaway from Washington in Orlando. Direct flights take less than three hours, or you can take an overnight train. Amtrak's Silver Meteor leaves DC in the early evening and gets you into Orlando just after noon the next day. Of course, you can drive from DC to Florida, but it's not much faster than the train.

For a luxurious experience, The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes is centrally located to all the local theme parks yet in a private, park-like lakeside setting. The resort has its own championship golf course, a world-class spa, and several fine-dining options on-property.

Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Orlando, FL

Aerial view of Myrtle Beach

This casual, family-friendly golf destination is part of what's called the Grand Strand: 60 miles of beautiful beaches along the South Carolina coast. Myrtle Beach really delivers on all levels as a getaway destination. Aside from lots of great golf, there's a wide, beautiful beach to play on, a beachfront boardwalk, all kinds of water sports to enjoy, and amusement parks and fun things to do for the kids.

Cheap flights to Myrtle Beach are available from Washington; the flight time is about 90 minutes. The very scenic drive will take about seven hours.

The Hilton Grand Vacations Club Ocean 22 Myrtle Beach is right on the sand, about a 15-minute walk from the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk area. There's a nice pool, a gym, and a restaurant on-property. All the rooms and suites have private terraces, some with direct ocean views.

Read More: Best Tourist Attractions in Myrtle Beach, SC

Boston at dusk

The history, food, and fun of Boston is an easy flight, train ride, or drive from Washington. Getting here is easy. A flight from DC to Boston only takes less than 90 minutes, or it's about a seven-hour drive up I-95. You can also take the Amtrak Acela train, which takes about six hours.

The Fairmont Copley Plaza, Boston is the city's Grande Dame hotel, located in the Back Bay neighborhood and close to all the things to do for visitors .

Consider taking a self-guided walking tour of the city's Freedom Trail, which includes sites important to the American Revolution. About 43 acres of downtown Boston and the surrounding area make up the Boston National Historic Park. Park rangers lead an array of guided tours and talks focusing on specific subjects or aspects of American history.

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35 Best Weekend Getaways from DC

Last Updated By VacationIdea Staff on March 23, 2024

Weekend Getaways from DC

Salamander Resort & Spa - 1 hour from DC

Salamander Resort & Spa - 1 hour from DC

500 North Pendleton Street, Middleburg, VA 20117, Phone: 844-303-2723

Primland - 5 hours and 30 minutes from DC

Primland - 5 hours and 30 minutes from DC

2000 Busted Rock Road, Meadows of Dan, VA 24120, Phone: 866-960-7746

Washington, VA - Foster Harris House - 1 hour 20 minutes

Washington, VA - Foster Harris House - 1 hour 20 minutes

189 Main Street, Washington, VA 22747, Phone: 540-675-3757

Glen Gordon Manor - 1 hour 20 minutes

Glen Gordon Manor - 1 hour 20 minutes

1482 Zachary Taylor Hwy, Huntly, VA 22640, Phone: 540-636-6010

Goodstone Inn & Restaurant, a Romantic Getaway from Washington, DC - 1 hour driving time

Goodstone Inn & Restaurant, a Romantic Getaway from Washington, DC - 1 hour driving time

36205 Snake Hill Road, Middleburg, VA 20117, Phone: 877-219-4663

Turf Valley - 50 minutes from Washington, DC

Turf Valley - 50 minutes from Washington, DC

2700 Turf Valley Road, Ellicott City, MD 21042, Phone: 410-465-1500

Chesapeake Bay - The Inn at Perry Cabin - 1 hour 30 minutes from DC

Chesapeake Bay - The Inn at Perry Cabin - 1 hour 30 minutes from DC

308 Watkins Lane, St. Michaels, MD 21663, Phone: 410-745-2200

The Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Resort

The Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Resort

100 Heron Blvd. at Route 50, Cambridge, MD 21613, Phone: 410-901-1234

The Cavalier Virginia - 3 hours 20 min

The Cavalier Virginia - 3 hours 20 min

4200 Atlantic Ave, Virginia Beach, VA 23451, Phone: 757-425-8555

The Annapolis Inn, a Weekend Getaway from DC - 40 minutes

The Annapolis Inn, a Weekend Getaway from DC - 40 minutes

144 Prince George St., Annapolis, MD 21401, Phone: 410-295-5200

Harpers Ferry - The Angler’s Inn - 1 hour 15 minutes

Harpers Ferry - The Angler’s Inn - 1 hour 15 minutes

867 W Washington Street, Harpers Ferry, WV 25425, Phone: 304-535-1239

Shepherdstown, WV - The Bavarian Inn - 1 hour 30 minutes

Shepherdstown, WV - The Bavarian Inn - 1 hour 30 minutes

164 Shepherd Grade Road, Shepherdstown, WV 25443, Phone: 304-876-2551

The Tides Inn

The Tides Inn

Where to stay: The Hotel Hershey

Gibson’s Lodgings of Annapolis – 40 minutes

Gibson’s Lodgings of Annapolis – 40 minutes

Weekend Getaways in Virginia West Virginia Weekend Getaways in Maryland Tennessee

Virginia Crossings Hotel and Conference Center

Virginia Crossings Hotel and Conference Center

1000 Virginia Center Parkway, Glen Allen, VA 23059, 804 727 1400

The Wisp Resort - 2 hours 50 minutes

The Wisp Resort - 2 hours 50 minutes

Weekend Getaways in Vermont Famous Weekend Getaways in the USA All-Inclusive Weekend Getaways

The Jefferson Hotel in Richmond - 1 hour and 50 minutes

The Jefferson Hotel in Richmond - 1 hour and 50 minutes

101 West Franklin St, Richmond, VA 23220, Phone: 804-649-4750

The Craddock Terry Hotel - 3 hours 20 minutes

The Craddock Terry Hotel - 3 hours 20 minutes

North Carolina Vacations SC Weekend Getaways Weekend Getaways From Atlanta Connecticut Rhode Island Weekend Getaways

Morrison House in Old Town Alexandria - 20 minutes

Morrison House in Old Town Alexandria - 20 minutes

116 South Alfred Stree, Alexandria, VA 22314, Phone: 866-834-6628

Hillbrook Inn, Charles Town, WV

Hillbrook Inn, Charles Town, WV

4490 Summit Point Rd, Charles Town, WV 25414, 304 725 4223

Harmony Hill Bed and Breakfast, Arrington, VA

Harmony Hill Bed and Breakfast, Arrington, VA

929 Wilson Hill Rd, Arrington, VA 22922, 434 263 7750

Rod'n Reel Resort, Chesapeake Beach, MD

Rod'n Reel Resort, Chesapeake Beach, MD

4160 Mears Ave, Chesapeake Beach, MD 20732, 866 312 5596

Keswick Hall, Keswick, VA

Keswick Hall, Keswick, VA

701 Club Drive, Keswick, VA 22947, 434 979 3440

Boar's Head Resort, Charlottesville

Boar's Head Resort, Charlottesville

Cabin Getaways in Pennsylvania Romantic Weekend Getaways from Pittsburgh, PA Romantic Weekend Getaways from Philadelphia Weekend Getaways in Pennsylvania Poconos Weekend Getaways

Annapolis, MD

Annapolis, MD

Stroll through the Annapolis streets and learn about the city’s 300 years of history while visiting the Maryland State House, the Banneker-Douglass Museum, the Museum of African American Heritage and the Annapolis Maritime Museum, overlooking the Chesapeake Bay. From the Museum, take a boat trip to see the 1875 lighthouse. Stroll through the garden of the 18th century William Paca House, a beautiful, green oasis in the heart of the city.

Weekend Getaways from DC: Arlington, VA

Charlottesville, virginia beach, hershey, pennsylvania, bethesda, maryland, weekend getaways from dc: wilmington, delaware, driving distances from dc.

  • 1. Salamander Resort & Spa - 1 hour from DC
  • 2. Primland - 5 hours and 30 minutes from DC
  • 3. Washington, VA - Foster Harris House - 1 hour 20 minutes
  • 4. Glen Gordon Manor - 1 hour 20 minutes
  • 5. Goodstone Inn & Restaurant, a Romantic Getaway from Washington, DC - 1 hour driving time
  • 6. Turf Valley - 50 minutes from Washington, DC
  • 7. Chesapeake Bay - The Inn at Perry Cabin - 1 hour 30 minutes from DC
  • 8. The Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Resort
  • 9. The Cavalier Virginia - 3 hours 20 min
  • 10. The Annapolis Inn, a Weekend Getaway from DC - 40 minutes
  • 11. Harpers Ferry - The Angler’s Inn - 1 hour 15 minutes
  • 12. Shepherdstown, WV - The Bavarian Inn - 1 hour 30 minutes
  • 13. The Tides Inn
  • 14. Gibson’s Lodgings of Annapolis – 40 minutes
  • 15. Virginia Crossings Hotel and Conference Center
  • 16. The Wisp Resort - 2 hours 50 minutes
  • 17. The Jefferson Hotel in Richmond - 1 hour and 50 minutes
  • 18. The Craddock Terry Hotel - 3 hours 20 minutes
  • 19. Morrison House in Old Town Alexandria - 20 minutes
  • 20. Hillbrook Inn, Charles Town, WV
  • 21. Harmony Hill Bed and Breakfast, Arrington, VA
  • 22. Rod'n Reel Resort, Chesapeake Beach, MD
  • 23. Keswick Hall, Keswick, VA
  • 24. Boar's Head Resort, Charlottesville
  • 25. Annapolis, MD

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  • Last Updated On
  • September 5, 2023

45 Best Weekend Getaways From Washington DC — Quick Trips!

Ashley Parker

Washington DC is a city home to more than 175 embassies and diplomatic missions from around the world. 

Aside from that, there’s a plethora of awe-inspiring destinations within arm’s reach, from globally acclaimed urban hubs to pristine outdoor locales.

Imagine the joy of sharing quality moments with your loved ones as you embark on a weekend filled with captivating sightseeing, unwinding in prestigious accommodations, and more.

Having personally experienced these magical spots, I’ve carefully curated a list of the best weekend getaways from Washington DC. 

Dive in and discover the perfect getaway for you.

Best Weekend Getaways From Washington DC Compared

Immerse yourself in history at Gettysburg, explore the charming streets of Annapolis, or unwind in the scenic beauty of Shenandoah National Park. 

Find your ideal getaway below:

Editor’s Choice

weekend trips around dc

Salamander Resort & Spa — Virginia

The Salamander Resort & Spa is a luxurious 5-star accommodation that opened in August 2013 in Middleburg, about a one-hour and ten-minute drive from Washington, DC.

  • Room Variety: 4/5
  • Comfort and Cleanliness: 5/5
  • Location: 4/5
  • Affordability: 3/5
  • Family-Friendliness: 4/5

#2nd Best Choice

weekend trips around dc

Goodstone Inn & Restaurant — Virginia

The Goodstone Inn & Restaurant, resting on 265 acres of rolling hills, is a 5-star hotel featuring 18 beautifully decorated rooms in Middleburg, Virginia.

  • Comfort and Cleanliness: 4/5
  • Location: 5/5
  • Affordability: 2/5
  • Family-Friendliness: 3/5

#3rd Best Choice

weekend trips around dc

The Craddock Terry Hotel — Virginia

The Craddock Terry Hotel, located in a building constructed in 1905, is a 4-star, 44-room hotel along Commerce Street in downtown Lynchburg.

  • Room Variety: 3/5

Here are top 45 weekend getaways from Washington DC.

1. Salamander Resort & Spa — Virginia (Editor’s Choice)

Salamander Resort & Spa — Virginia

500 N Pendleton St Middleburg, VA 20117 (540) 751-3160 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Ratings Criteria

  • Luxurious amenities: Salamander Resort & Spa offers a wide range of luxurious amenities, such as a world-class spa, outdoor pools, a fitness center, and beautifully appointed rooms. 
  • Scenic Location: Nestled in the picturesque countryside of Middleburg, Virginia, Salamander Resort & Spa provides a serene and scenic setting for a weekend getaway.
  • Pricey: The luxurious nature of Salamander Resort & Spa comes with a higher price tag. Accommodations, dining, and spa treatments can be quite expensive, making it less accessible for budget-conscious travelers.
  • Limited dining options: It’s worth considering if you have specific dietary preferences or if you prefer a wider range of dining choices.

Here, you can take your loved ones on a family weekend vacation that you will remember for years.

Enjoy various activities such as horseback riding, zip-lining, biking, golfing, catch-and-release fishing, playing various sports, archery, ax throwing, and countless others.

It also has plenty to offer your younger children, like mini art kits, indoor and outdoor pools, scavenger hunts, family crafts programs, board games, and much more.

It features a high-end spa for a much-needed day of pampering, exquisite dining choices for every craving, pet-friendly facilities, and designer suites ideal for large families.

2. Goodstone Inn & Restaurant — Virginia

Goodstone Inn & Restaurant — Virginia

36205 Snake Hill Rd Middleburg, VA 20117 (540) 687-3333 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

  • Tranquil setting: The tranquil and secluded setting offers a peaceful atmosphere, allowing guests to relax and unwind amidst beautiful gardens and rolling hills.
  • Culinary excellence: The Goodstone Inn & Restaurant boasts a renowned culinary program featuring farm-to-table cuisine prepared with locally sourced ingredients. 
  • Limited recreational facilities: If you’re seeking extensive amenities or a wide range of recreational options, you may find them more limited here.
  • Remote location: The property is situated in a rural area, which means that access to nearby attractions or services may require driving and planning in advance.

It is the perfect accommodation to check in when searching for places near Washington DC for vacation, less than one hour and twenty minutes from Washington, DC.

It boasts boutique cottages, a peaceful setting, luxury amenities, premier hospitality, catering services for special occasions, and more.

This accommodation features fine-dining eateries, serving artfully plated dishes prepared from high-quality ingredients and an extensive collection of fine wines.

It also has an onsite, fully-operating farm with chickens, cows, a llama, gardening areas, and so on.

3. The Craddock Terry Hotel — Virginia

The Craddock Terry Hotel — Virginia

1312 Commerce St Lynchburg, VA 24504 (434) 455-1500 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

  • Unique accommodation: The historic building has been creatively repurposed, incorporating original features and offering a blend of modern comfort and vintage charm.
  • Location and accessibility: Situated in Lynchburg, Virginia, The Craddock Terry Hotel is conveniently located near downtown attractions, restaurants, and shops. Guests can easily explore the city’s vibrant culture, historical sites, and entertainment options without extensive travel.
  • Limited on-site amenities: While it provides comfortable accommodations, guests may find a more limited selection of facilities such as a spa, fitness center, or extensive recreational options.
  • Noise potential: Light sleepers or those seeking a more tranquil environment may want to consider this factor before booking.

It is the perfect place to relax as you rest in a room with colossal windows offering picturesque views, residential-style furniture, high-quality linens, rustic accents, and more.

It also offers catering services for special occasions, sophisticated event spaces, pet-friendly rooms, award-winning restaurants, and various packages.

Explore the area as you tour diverse museums, stroll through the historic district, hike along creek-front trails, watch a live show at a theater, shop at boutique stores, and countless others.

4. Harpers Ferry — West Virginia

Harpers Ferry — West Virginia

Harpers Ferry, WV Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Harpers Ferry is a historic town in West Virginia resting on the banks of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers.

It is roughly one hour and twenty minutes from Washington, DC, and offers the perfect place for history buffs to explore.

Head to the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park to explore one of its most popular attractions.

It features several museums, a gorgeous natural area, and recreational opportunities like boating, hiking, whitewater rafting, and fishing.

Another must-visit is St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church, the only church in the area that survived the Civil War and has a Neo-Gothic architectural style.

Before ending your weekend trip, have a delicious vegan-friendly meal at Kelley Farm Kitchen, boasting a humble ambiance, accommodating staff, and mouth-watering plant-based dishes.

Recommended Hotel: Clarion Inn Conference Center Harpers Ferry

5. Gettysburg — Pennsylvania

Gettysburg — Pennsylvania

Gettysburg, PA (717) 334-1160 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Gettysburg, incorporated in 1806, is a Pennsylvanian borough and seat of Adams County.

It offers many historically significant attractions and is less than two hours from Washington, DC.

Kick-start your weekend by visiting the Gettysburg National Military Park.

It serves to protect the site of the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863 during the American Civil War and features a museum housing more than 43,000 artifacts related to the war.

Travel back to the past and learn what domestic life was like during Civil War times by touring the Jennie Wade House, featuring authentic furnishings throughout the home.

Visit the former home and farm of 34th US President Dwight Eisenhower by exploring the over 690-acre Eisenhower National Historic Site.

View fascinating exhibits and more than 4000 artifacts related to different American wars by heading to the Gettysburg Museum of History along Baltimore Street.

Recommended Hotel: Hilton Garden Inn Gettysburg

Related: Hotels in Washington D.C.

6. Philadelphia — Pennsylvania

Philadelphia — Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA (800) 537-7676 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Philadelphia , also known as Philly, is the largest city in Pennsylvania and rests on the banks of the Delaware River.

Drive less than three hours to this bustling metropolis when searching for inexpensive weekend getaways near Washington DC.

Get a better idea of what awaits you by visiting the Independence Visitor Center, offering free amenities such as brochures, regional maps, short historical film screenings, and lots more.

A must-see on your tour is the admission-free Liberty Bell Center, home to a famous bell of the same name symbolizing American independence and equality.

Tour other budget-friendly tourist hotspots like the President’s House, which served as the third presidential mansion, and Elfreth’s Alley, a historic district with beautifully well-preserved homes.

Recommended Hotel: The Rittenhouse Hotel

Related: Fun Day Trips From Philadelphia

7. Annapolis — Maryland

Annapolis — Maryland

Annapolis, MD Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Annapolis, incorporated in 1708, is a waterfront metropolis and capital city of Maryland in Anne Arundel County.

It is the perfect destination for last minute weekend getaways from Washington DC because it is a mere fifty minutes away.

Here, you can enjoy activities like signing up for wine tastings, booking guided tours at a local agency, and dining at a top-rated restaurant.

Visit attractions like the U.S. Naval Academy Museum displaying artifacts, galleries, and memorabilia related to American naval training, figures, and significant achievements.

Spend time in nature at the 340-acre Quiet Waters Park, where you can enjoy paddleboarding, rowing boats, kayaking, canoeing, swimming with your dog at a pet-friendly beach, and more.

Explore other places like the Maryland State House, the oldest continuously operating state capitol in the US, and the St. Anne’s Church, a historical church erected in the 18th century.

Recommended Hotel: Graduate Annapolis

8. The Greenbrier — West Virginia

The Greenbrier — West Virginia

101 W Main St White Sulphur Springs, WV 24986 (855) 453-4858 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

The Greenbrier is a luxurious, 5-star resort founded in 1778 in White Sulphur Springs, a beautiful city in West Virginia.

Prepare to enjoy one of the best romantic getaways from Washington DC as you and your partner drive roughly four hours to check into the high-end accommodation.

This outstanding resort boasts high-end amenities, gorgeously decorated bedrooms, various packages for every occasion, and many others to make your stay more intimate.

Spend quality time with your beloved as you sign up for a relaxing couple’s treatment at the spa and go on a fantastic dinner date at one of its many onsite eateries.

It also offers various activities for all seasons, like horseback riding, golfing, biking through the captivating landscape, carriage rides, ice skating, booking guided tours, and so on.

Recommended Hotel: The Schoolhouse Hotel

9. Rehoboth Beach — Delaware

Rehoboth Beach — Delaware

Rehoboth Beach, DE (866) 284-7483 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Rehoboth Beach is an oceanfront town resting on the shores of the Atlantic Coast in Delaware, between two hours and thirty minutes to three hours and twenty minutes from Washington, DC.

Are you traveling with your loved ones?

Then, I recommend stopping by Funland, a family-owned amusement park with at least 19 rides for all ages, a high-energy arcade, and engaging games.

Spend time basking under the sun or swimming in the cool water by heading to the Rehoboth Beach Public Beach, boasting a sandy shoreline and a mile-long boardwalk.

Have a more adventurous experience by visiting the Delaware Seashore State Park, where you can enjoy kayaking, fishing, surfing, camping, chartering a boat, or signing up for guided tours.

You can also go on a shopping spree at Tanger Outlets Rehoboth Beach, featuring stores like Adidas, Coach, Ulta Beauty, Kate Spade, Nike, Hot Topic, Calvin Klein, and so much more.

Recommended Hotel: Canalside Inn

10. Whitetail Resort — Pennsylvania

Whitetail Resort — Pennsylvania

13805 Blairs Valley Rd Mercersburg, PA 17236 (717) 328-9400 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Whitetail Resort, founded in 1991, is a four-season resort on Two Top Mountain in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, roughly two hours from Washington, DC.

It is a fantastic winter destination boasting 109 acres of skiable areas, nine lift systems, ski slopes of varying difficulties for all skill levels, and more.

You can also enjoy other activities like snow tubing, snowboarding, ice skating, and signing up for lessons.

During the warmer months, it offers activities like golfing at a 72-par course, fly fishing, and many others.

It also offers other onsite amenities like five dining choices, lodging facilities, seasonal programs for all ages, a sports shop, and so on.

Recommended Hotel: Holiday Inn Express & Suites Clear Spring, an IHG Hotel

11. Ocean City — New Jersey

Ocean City — New Jersey

Ocean City, NJ (609) 399-6111 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Ocean City, roughly a 3-hour and 30-minute drive from Washington DC is a coastal metropolis in Cape May County in the neighboring state of New Jersey.

It is the perfect place to unwind with your travel buddies as you relax by the oceanfront while enjoying a beach trip.

Have a thrilling time at the Ocean City Boardwalk, where you can play miniature golf, shop for souvenirs, rent water sports gear, snack on treats sold by vendors, hit the arcade, and more.

Spend some time under the sun at Corson’s Inlet State Park, ideal for fishing, enjoying a leisurely beach day, boating, and birdwatching.

Want an exciting night out with your group this weekend?

Then, head to Playland’s Castaway Cove because it offers go-karts, colossal sides, roller coasters, thrilling rides, a drop tower, a carousel, and kid-friendly attractions.

Related: Weekend Getaways Near Jersey City

12. New York City — New York

New York City — New York

New York City, NY (212) 484-1222 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

New York City , nicknamed the Big Apple, is a world-famous metropolis and the most populous city in the country.

It is the ideal destination for your long weekend trips from Washington DC because it is less than four hours away and boasts endless fun-filled opportunities.

Tour famed landmarks like the Statue of Liberty, a world symbol of freedom gifted by France, and the Empire State Building, an art deco-style skyscraper that towers 102 stories high.

Have a blast outdoors at the over 840-acre Central Park, boasting two ice skating rinks, a gorgeous landscape, eye-catching sculptures, and various recreation opportunities.

Are you an art enthusiast?

Then, visit one of the largest art museums in the continent, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, with a massive collection of over two million pieces from all over the world.

Enjoy other activities like taking in jaw-dropping views of the city at the observation deck at the Rockefeller Center and watching a Broadway show at Times Square.

Related: Fun Day Trips From NYC

13. The Inn at Perry Cabin — Maryland

The Inn at Perry Cabin — Maryland

308 Watkins Ln St Michaels, MD 21663 (410) 745-2200 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

The Inn at Perry Cabin, which initially opened in 1816, is a 4-star hotel in St. Michaels on the eastern shore of Maryland, roughly two hours from Washington, DC.

Do you want to get a break from large crowds and the noise of city life?

Then, I highly recommend checking into this elevated hotel alone or with your partner, friends, or family.

It offers a serene landscape, calming waterfront views, breathtaking nature views, outdoor sitting areas with fire pits, and more.

It features a high-end spa with a seasonal outdoor pool, seven treatment rooms, and services like massages, facial therapies, body treatments, mani-pedis, waxing, and so on.

Have the ultimate luxurious experience by booking the One Bedroom Luxury Suite.

It boasts a king-sized bed, a soaking tub, fine linens, elegant accents, a flat-screen TV, a grand fireplace, a private balcony or terrace, and numerous others.

14. Foster Harris House — Virginia

Foster Harris House — Virginia

189 Main St Washington, VA 22747 (202) 413-7690 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

The Foster Harris House, established in 1984, is a charming bed and breakfast in a house constructed in 1905 in Washington, Virginia.

It is a 1-hour and 30-minute drive from Washington, DC.

It has a spectacular dining area with gorgeous decorations, comfy furnishing, an intimate ambiance, eye-catching art installations, and a sizable menu of delicious dishes.

It has various guestrooms, like the Mountain View Room, boasting a private bath with a spa shower, a sitting room, a queen-size bed, a loveseat, a crystal chandelier, and more.

You can enjoy a peaceful weekend trip in the area as you go wine tasting, shopping at boutique stores, sightseeing, or spending the day at a park.

15. Glen Gordon Manor — Virginia

Glen Gordon Manor — Virginia

1482 Zachary Taylor Hwy Huntly, VA 22640 (540) 636-6010 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Glen Gordon Manor is a 5-star hotel that opened its doors to the public in 2006 in Huntly, Virginia, with an award-winning restaurant.

It sits on 45 acres of well-landscaped area and is less than a two-hour drive from Washington, DC.

It offers luxurious rooms, gourmet breakfasts in a beautiful dining area, champagne on arrival, high-speed wifi, an extravagant spa, and more.

It is the perfect place to celebrate a momentous occasion with your significant other because it offers several packages.

The award-winning Wine Country Date Night is a superb choice for a terrific wine-tasting experience with your partner.

It includes a romantic room or suite, wine tasting at a nearby vineyard, a 5-course dinner for two, a 3-course gourmet breakfast, and a complimentary room upgrade if available.

16. Turf Valley Resort — Maryland

Turf Valley Resort — Maryland

2700 Turf Valley Rd Ellicott City, MD 21042 (410) 465-1500 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Turf Valley Resort is a 172-room accommodation in Ellicott City, Maryland, less than one hour and twenty minutes from Washington, DC.

It is the ideal resort for a cool overnight trip, offering amenities like two championship 18-hole golf courses, all-inclusive packages, scenic nature trails, and an indoor pool.

At its elegant spa, you can snack on choco-dipped strawberries in a serenity room, soak in a hot tub, and sign up for massage therapies, body treatments, or facials.

Other facilities include an outdoor pool with a slide, a fully equipped fitness center, three tennis courts, catering services for special occasions, and so much more.

17. The Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Resort — Maryland

The Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Resort — Maryland

100 Heron Blvd, US-50 Cambridge, MD 21613 (410) 901-1234 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

The Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Resort is a 4-star accommodation sitting on 342 acres of land in Cambridge, Maryland, less than three hours from Washington, DC.

This waterfront resort offers a boatload of amenities, like a charging station for electric vehicles, laundry areas, a fitness center, high-speed wifi, event spaces, a nearby marina, and more.

Enjoy activities like swimming in an indoor or outdoor pool, golfing, playing basketball, enjoying a fun round of tennis, hiking through picturesque nature trails, and many others.

It boasts a luxurious spa offering various massages, firming facials, body scrubs, signature mani-pedis, and hair therapies.

18. The Annapolis Inn — Maryland

The Annapolis Inn — Maryland

144 Prince George St Annapolis, MD 21401 (410) 295-5200 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

The Annapolis Inn, established in the late 18th century, is a delightful bed and breakfast along Prince George Street in Maryland.

If you want to sleep overnight at a charming hotel for your getaway, Washington DC has many fantastic options nearby, like this charming accommodation roughly an hour’s drive away.

It offers a three-course breakfast in a gorgeous dining room with an elegant table, a stunning chandelier, eye-catching artwork, and a grand fireplace.

It also boasts several packages for every occasion, like the Girlfriends Getaway, perfect for a weekend trip with your friends.

This package includes afternoon tea, dinner reservations for the entirety of your stay, transportation arrangements to and from the hotel, and more.

19. The Angler’s Inn — West Virginia

The Angler’s Inn — West Virginia

867 Washington St Harpers Ferry, WV 25425 (304) 535-1239 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

The Angler’s Inn is a four-room bed and breakfast in a Victorian home from the 1870s along Washington Street in Harpers Ferry, about a 1-hour and 15-minute drive from Washington, DC.

Its delightful bedrooms feature a private bath, a sitting room, top-quality linens, charming art installations, and so on.

This B&B boasts complimentary fast wifi, central air-conditioning, onsite parking, a beautiful landscape, a gourmet breakfast, a kitchen, guided fishing trips upon reservation, and more.

It also has many attractions where you can enjoy activities like horseback riding, touring historical sites, hiking by the riverfront, trying various water sports, and many others.

20. The Bavarian Inn — West Virginia

The Bavarian Inn — West Virginia

164 Shepherd Grade Rd Shepherdstown, WV 25443 (304) 876-2551 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

The Bavarian Inn is a hotel in a historic home constructed in the 1930s, nestled on a beautifully landscaped area near the banks of the Potomac River.

You can find it in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, roughly one hour and thirty minutes from Washington, DC.

Some of its facilities include an infinity pool, sports courts, a hot tub, a health club, an ATM, ADA-accessible common areas, a gift shop, an outdoor fire pit, a fitness room, and more.

Depending on which room you book, you can take advantage of amenities like air conditioning, a balcony, a cozy fireplace, a fridge, cable TV, a whirlpool tub, and many others.

It is the ideal place to check in close to various tourist hotspots to enjoy activities like trying your luck at a casino, exploring a historic site, tasting wines, and playing golf.

21. Gibson’s Inn of Annapolis

Gibson’s Inn of Annapolis

110 Prince George St Annapolis, MD 21401 (410) 268-5555 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

The Gibson’s Inn of Annapolis, established in 1980, is a hotel consisting of three houses, the Patterson, Berman, and Lauer House.

Are you planning your weekend getaways in Washington DC, and want to stay at a hotel around the area for a quieter ambiance?

Then, this accommodation is the perfect choice for you because it is roughly a 45-minute drive away.

It has twenty beautifully furnished rooms, a spacious shaded brick courtyard, a 19th-century styled parlor, and a stunning dining room.

It offers an expansive breakfast selection featuring fresh seasonal fruits, yogurt, assorted cereals, oatmeal, granola bars, freshly baked pastries, bread, and so much more.

It is also within walking distance of a visitor center where you can learn more about the area, waterfront parks, local agencies offering guided tours, and several dining choices.

22. Wisp Resort — Maryland

Wisp Resort — Maryland

296 Marsh Hill Rd McHenry, MD 21541 (301) 859-3159 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

The Wisp Resort, founded in 1955, is a highly acclaimed ski resort in McHenry, Maryland, about a three-hour and thirty-minute drive from Washington, DC.

Here, you can take your friends on a much-needed, fun-filled weekend vacation as you spend time bonding and doing all sorts of exciting activities.

Have a fantastic winter escape as you make snowmen, go snowboarding, ski, do snow tubing, and much more.

In the warmer months, enjoy riding a mountain coaster, practicing archery, going on chair lift rides, golfing, gem mining, whitewater rafting, kayaking, and numerous others.

It also boasts an onsite Escape Room where you and your friends can solve puzzles, hints, and clues to make your way out of a challenging themed room.

Recommended Hotel: The Lodge at Wisp

23. The Jefferson Hotel — Virginia

The Jefferson Hotel — Virginia

101 W Franklin St Richmond, VA 23220 (804) 788-8000 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

The Jefferson Hotel is a longtime-running, 5-star accommodation that debuted in 1895 in downtown Richmond in the Old Dominion state of Virginia.

Splurge on a much-deserved, luxurious weekend getaway by driving roughly two hours to this elevated hotel.

It boasts 181 beautifully decorated rooms featuring spacious floor plans, high-end furnishing, marble baths, hand-crafted bedding, feather beds, dual vanities, and lots more.

This hotel has opulent decor, high ceilings, mesmerizing art installations, exceptional service, a champagne Sunday brunch, and many others.

You can also dine at its outstanding onsite restaurant, the Lemaire, offering professional servers, delectable New American cuisine, a curated list of more than 200 wines, and so on.

You can get tickets for live shows, tour info, transportation, complimentary bike loans, pet sitting services, gift deliveries, brochures on local attractions, and the like at the concierge.

24. Old Town Alexandria — Virginia

Old Town Alexandria — Virginia

Old Town Alexandria, VA 22314 (703) 838-5005 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

​​Old Town is a historic neighborhood and one of the oldest sections in Alexandria, Virginia, dating back to 1749.

It is the ideal destination for short trips from Washington DC because it is a mere 20-minute drive away.

Here, you can find several antique shops, century-old townhomes, eclectic dining choices, over 100 independent boutique stores, red brick sidewalks, and cobblestone streets.

Explore the area free of charge by riding a bike or boarding the admission-free King Street Trolley.

Travel back in time to the late 18th century by going on a guided tour of the Carlyle House Historic Park, a Georgian-style mansion erected in 1752 by a wealthy merchant.

You can also view artwork in various forms at the Torpedo Factory Art Center and tour the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum, a former apothecary shop from 1805 to 1933.

Recommended Hotel: Lorien Hotel & Spa

25. Morrison House Old Town Alexandria — Virginia

Morrison House Old Town Alexandria — Virginia

116 S Alfred St Alexandria, VA 22314 (703) 838-8000 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

The Morrison House Old Town Alexandria is a luxurious 4-star boutique hotel located in a building constructed in the 1790s in Virginia.

Are you preparing for your Washington DC weekend getaways and want to stay at a fabulous place in the area?

Then this hotel is a fabulous choice because it is a mere 30-minute drive away.

It has several amenities to make your stay more comfortable, like valet services, nightly wine hour, full continental breakfasts, a well-decorated parlor, and a library filled with various books.

Head to its onsite eatery, The Study, after spending the day touring the area.

It offers a sizable selection of expertly crafted cocktails, a modern American menu that changes with seasonally changing specialties, a luxurious atmosphere, live piano music, and more.

26. Loudoun County — Virginia

Loudoun County — Virginia

Loudoun County, VA Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Loudoun County, founded in 1757, is one of the most populous counties in northern Virginia.

It is the ideal destination when looking for places to go for a weekend trip near you because it is roughly a 30-minute drive from Washington, DC.

Have a fantastic wine-tasting experience at the Stone Tower Winery, where you can also go on self-guided tours of its vineyard and enjoy expert-led cellar visits.

Spend time outdoors at the 1000-acre Morven Park, boasting an athletic field complex, formal gardens, multi-purpose trails, three museums, guided tours upon request, and more.

Go on an elevated shopping spree at the Leesburg Premium Outlets, featuring luxury stores like Armani, Swarovski, Coach, Burberry, Michael Kors, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, and so on.

Recommended Hotel: Comfort Suites Leesburg

27. Baltimore — Maryland

Baltimore — Maryland

Baltimore, MD Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Baltimore , nicknamed the Charm City, is a vibrant, independent metropolis resting on the banks of the Patapsco River in Maryland.

It is the perfect destination for your Washington DC area weekend getaways because it is roughly an hour’s drive away.

You can visit prominent tourist hotspots like the Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine here.

It is a historically significant fort that defended Baltimore Harbor against the British navy in the 1800s and is the birthplace of The Star-Spangled Banner, the US national anthem.

You can also head to the Walters Art Museum to view more than 36,000 art pieces from all around the globe.

Enjoy other activities like watching a sports game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, discovering marine life at the National Aquarium, and walking through the historic streets of Fell’s Point.

Recommended Hotel: Sagamore Pendry Baltimore

Related: Fun Day Trips From Baltimore

28. Eastern Shore — Maryland

Eastern Shore — Maryland

Eastern Shore, MD Visit Website Open in Google Maps

The Eastern Shore of Maryland, featuring at least nine counties, is a waterfront area on the banks of the east side of Chesapeake Bay.

It is ideal when planning cheap vacations from Washington DC, less than three hours away, because it offers various budget-friendly attractions.

Enjoy free things like walking or biking along the streets of the South Chesapeake City Historic District and taking pictures of its century-old buildings.

View an impressive collection of wildfowl carvings worldwide, including working decoys used by hunters and art sculptures, by visiting the affordable Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art.

Other fun options include watching wild horses roam the shores of the Assateague Island National Seashore and dining at a well-loved dining establishment.

Recommended Hotel: Sleep Inn Salisbury

29. Rappahannock County — Virginia

Rappahannock County — Virginia

Rappahannock County, VA (540) 675-5330 Visit Website Open in Google Maps

Rappahannock County, founded in 1833, is a landlocked county resting in the northern region of Piedmont.

Create long-lasting memories with your travel buddies as you enjoy a plethora of fun-filled activities.

Have a leisurely afternoon at the Little Washington Winery, offering hand-crafted artisan wines and craft beer.

Are you an avid hiker looking for a challenging route backed by breathtaking nature views?

If so, I highly recommend hiking the 5.6-mile loop of Little Devils Stairs Trail.

Have a blast trying other activities like viewing artwork at the independently-owned Cottage Curator and shopping for unique finds at ​​the Copper Fox Antiques.

Recommended Hotel: LeFay Cottage at Little Washington

30. Wilmington — Delaware

Wilmington — Delaware

Wilmington, DE (800) 489-6664 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Wilmington, nicknamed the Corporate Capital of the World, is a riverfront city incorporated in 1731 in Delaware, about a 1-hour and 10-minute drive from Washington, DC.

It is home to several outstanding tourist hotspots perfect for a sightseeing tour with friends, a romantic weekend getaway with your significant other, or going on a family vacation.

Enjoy a date with your partner by exploring the Nemours Estate, boasting one of the largest informal French gardens in the continent and a stunning French château-inspired mansion.

The Delaware Children’s Museum is a must-visit for families, offering immersive activities, play areas, and interactive exhibits ideal for toddlers to teens.

Have a terrific tour experience with your friends by visiting the Hagley Museum, featuring a historical machine shop, a Renaissance Revival garden, and a house museum.

You can also watch a mesmerizing live show at the Grand Opera House, stroll along the Wilmington Riverwalk, and much more.

Recommended Hotel: Hotel Du Pont

31. Central Virginia — Virginia

Central Virginia — Virginia

Central Virginia, VA Visit Website Open in Google Maps

Central Virginia, explored by settlers in the early 1600s, is an area in Virginia consisting of at least seven counties.

It is less than a three-hour drive from Washington, DC.

It is a must-visit for history buffs because it boasts a rich past and various historical sites to discover.

Kick-start your tour by exploring the Henricus Historical Park, a living history museum with costumed actors and Colonial buildings showing what life was like in an English settlement.

Get the chance to visit a Gregorian-style manor constructed in the 1750s by heading to the Wilton House Museum displaying over 1400 artifacts from the 17th to 19th centuries.

Head to Kings Dominion in Doswell, Virginia, after touring various century-old attractions for a fun day out on your weekend trip.

It is a colossal 280-acre amusement park with a 20-acre water park, at least 60 rides, including 13 roller coasters, live shows, and tons more.

Recommended Hotel: Hyatt Place Richmond Chester

32. Thomas — West Virginia

Thomas — West Virginia

Thomas, WV Visit Website Open in Google Maps

Thomas is a waterfront city in Tucker County and was once a coal town named after Thomas Beall Davis, a prominent American democratic politician.

It is roughly two hours and fifty minutes to three hours and thirty minutes from Washington, DC.

Visit attractions like the Buxton & Landstreet Gallery and Studios, displaying regional fine art exhibits of diverse forms, like paintings, pottery, glassworks, prints, and so on.

You can grab a couple of drinks at the Purple Fiddle at night, offering tasty food and entertaining live performances.

Shop for souvenirs at the Thomasyard, selling items like local jams, flowers, fine wines, gourmet condiments, bath essentials, ceramics, and so much more.

Recommended Hotel: The Inn at Canaan

Related: Best Weekend Getaways From Columbus

33. Arlington County — Virginia

Arlington County — Virginia

Arlington County, VA (800) 296-7996 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Arlington County, nestled on the southwestern banks of the Potomac River, is a county founded in 1801 in northern Virginia.

Are you planning your Washington DC vacations and looking for other must-visit places to try various enjoyable activities?

If so, I suggest driving roughly fifteen minutes to this neighboring county.

Here, you can go on guided sightseeing tours, dine at a renowned eatery, enjoy a couple of drinks at a bar, stroll through a picture-perfect park, and more.

Tour one of its most popular attractions, the Arlington National Cemetery, an over 630-acre US Army-run national cemetery where you can honor the lives of those who served in the army.

You can also pay your respects to US service members who were never identified by visiting the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Recommended Hotel: Melrose Georgetown Hotel

34. Alexandria — Virginia

Alexandria — Virginia

Alexandria, VA (703) 838-5005 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Alexandria, less than a 30-minute drive from Washington, DC, is a riverfront city founded in 1749 in northern Virginia.

It has plenty to offer you, such as specialty museums, national memorials, historical sites, spectacular dining choices, and countless others.

Immerse yourself in stunning artwork at the Torpedo Factory Art Center, boasting striking pieces in various forms, such as photography, sculptures, paintings, ceramics, jewelry, and the like.

Spend time outdoors at Huntley Meadows Park as you enjoy hiking, catching up on some reading on a bench, honing your photography skills, observing passing wildlife, and so on.

Try other activities like exploring its historic Old Town district, enjoying scenic waterfront views aboard the Potomac Water Taxi, and much more.

Recommended Hotel: The Westin Alexandria Old Town

35. Charlottesville — Virginia

Charlottesville — Virginia

Charlottesville, VA (434) 293-6789 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Charlottesville, nicknamed C’ville, is a city in Central Virginia, less than three hours from Washington, DC.

This metropolis is the perfect destination for a memorable sightseeing adventure because it is home to many highly acclaimed tourist hotspots.

Visit places like Monticello, the primary plantation of Founding Father and third US president, Thomas Jefferson, constructed in 1772.

Another must-see is the University of Virginia, a breathtaking public research university established by former president Jefferson in 1819.

Take in the fresh air by visiting the Carter Mountain Orchard, where you can enjoy seasonal fruit picking, appreciate enthralling valley views, shop at its onsite country store, and more.

Other fun activities in the area are shopping at the Historic Downtown Mall, sipping fine wines at the Trump Winery, and hiking through Saunders-Monticello Trail.

Recommended Hotel: Omni Charlottesville Hotel

36. Richmond — Virginia

Richmond — Virginia

Richmond, VA (804) 782-2777 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Richmond , nicknamed the River City, is the capital metropolis of Virginia and one of its most populous cities.

Visit places like Maymont, boasting a house museum, several formal gardens, a nature center, an impressive carriage collection, native wildlife exhibits, and more.

Get the chance to view more than 22,000 artworks of varying forms by going on a self-guided tour of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

You can also stroll through differently-themed gardens at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden and learn about local history at the Virginia Capitol Building.

Recommended Hotel: Courtyard by Marriott Richmond Downtown

37. Virginia Beach — Virginia

Virginia Beach — Virginia

Virginia Beach, VA (757) 385-4700 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Virginia Beach , first incorporated in 1906, is an oceanfront Virginia city less than four hours from Washington, DC.

Get a break from your daily life as you go on a beachfront weekend vacation with your travel buddies in this magnificent metropolis.

Start your trip by exploring the three-mile-long Virginia Beach Boardwalk, featuring various eateries, a playground for your kids, a statue, museums, and more.

Enjoy a relaxing time at the secluded Sandbridge Beach, boasting endless Atlantic Ocean views, a powdery sand shoreline, and a quieter ambiance than other coastlines.

Discover the richness of ocean life at the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, featuring more than 12,000 animals, differently-themed aquariums, and educational displays.

You can also view various propeller-driven military aircraft at the Military Aviation Museum and sip exquisite alcoholic concoctions at the Tarnished Truth Distilling Co.

Recommended Hotel: Hilton Garden Inn Virginia Beach Oceanfront

38. Hershey — Pennsylvania

Hershey — Pennsylvania

Hershey, PA (717) 231-7788 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Hershey is a census-designated place in the Dauphin County of Pennsylvania, about a 2-hour and 30-minute drive from Washington, DC.

Create memories to last a lifetime with your loved ones as you explore its many wonders.

Have a blast at Hersheypark, a theme park boasting several shops, eateries, an onsite waterpark, and at least 76 attractions, including 13 roller coasters, for all ages.

The Hershey Story Museum is a must-visit for chocolate lovers, featuring a chocolate lab for your little ones, interactive displays, and immersive activities.

You can also view blooming flowers of every color at the Hershey Gardens, observe live animals at the ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park, and watch live shows at the Hershey Theatre.

Recommended Hotel: Best Western Plus Hershey

39. Norfolk — Virginia

Norfolk — Virginia

Norfolk, VA (800) 368-3097 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Norfolk, incorporated in 1705, is an independent city in Virginia resting on the shores of the Elizabeth River and Chesapeake Bay.

It offers several attractions where you can enjoy going on guided tours, dining establishments catering to your every craving, and other fantastic tourist hotspots for all budgets,

Head to the Battleship Wisconsin, one of the largest battleships constructed by the US Navy, at Nauticus to visit its most popular attraction.

Appreciate the beauty of nature at the 158-acre Norfolk Botanical Garden, featuring gorgeous themed sections and a Naturalistic Landscape design.

View exotic animals with your companions at the Virginia Zoo, like Bornean orangutans, African lions, red pandas, cheetahs, Malayan tigers, meerkats, white rhinos, zebras, and tons more.

Recommended Hotel: Hilton Norfolk The Main

40. Bethesda — Maryland

Bethesda — Maryland

Bethesda, MD (877) 209-5883 Visit Website Open in Google Maps

Bethesda is a census-designated place and unincorporated community in southern Maryland’s Montgomery County.

Make long-lasting memories with your friends, significant other, or loved ones as you enjoy various activities.

You can watch a captivating live show at the Strathmore, an artistic and cultural venue erected in 1981, and go on a shopping spree at Bethesda Row, an upscale shopping mall.

Have fun with your kids as you play with them at a playground at the Cabin John Regional Park and view interactive exhibits or participate in immersive programs at the KID Museum.

Recommended Hotel: The Bethesdan Hotel, Tapestry Collection by Hilton

41. Assateague Island — Maryland

Assateague Island — Maryland

Assateague Island, MD (410) 641-1441 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Assateague Island, nestled on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, is a barrier island spanning at least 37 miles long in Berlin, Maryland.

Catch up with your friends as you enjoy a much-needed break from city life by driving roughly three hours to Assateague Island.

Relax on the sandy shoreline as you sunbathe, have a delightful picnic, observe passing wild horses from a safe distance, or go for a quick dip in the ocean.

You can also enjoy a more adventurous experience on the island by kayaking, canoeing, camping, signing up for ranger-led programs, driving off-road vehicles, and so much more.

Recommended Hotel: Francis Scott Key Family Resort

42. St. Michaels — Maryland

St. Michaels — Maryland

St. Michaels, MD Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

St. Michaels, or Saint Michaels, is a town incorporated in Talbot County in Maryland.

You can find it nestled on the banks of the Miles River, about a two-hour drive from Washington, DC.

Have an unforgettable tour experience exploring attractions like the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, displaying artifacts, vessels, and exhibits related to the Chesapeake Bay.

You can also have a leisurely afternoon with your group at the Lyon Rum Distillery, established in 2012, as you sip exquisite various alcoholic concoctions.

See a stunning historical landmark by visiting the 1879 Hooper Strait Lighthouse, a well-preserved lighthouse from the 19th century.

Recommended Hotel: St. Michaels Inn

43. Chincoteague — Virginia

Chincoteague — Virginia

Chincoteague, VA Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Chincoteague is a charming town nestled on an island of the same name in Accomack County, Virginia.

It is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of city life as you spend time in nature.

Go on a nature adventure at the 14,000-acre Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge as you enjoy boating, fishing, swimming, horseback riding, biking, observing wildlife, and lots more.

You can also rent a bicycle at the Bike Depot and enjoy biking along scenic trails.

Other activities to try in the area include learning about local history at the Museum of Chincoteague and splashing in the pristine water at Maui Jack’s Waterpark.

Recommended Hotel: Comfort Suites Chincoteague Island Bayfront Resort

44. Shenandoah National Park — Virginia

Shenandoah National Park — Virginia

3655 U.S. Highway 211 East Luray, VA 22835 (540) 999-3500 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Shenandoah National Park, encompassing almost 200,000 acres, is an American national park welcoming more than 1.6 million visitors annually.

It offers the perfect break from city life as you drive roughly two hours from Washington, DC.

Enjoy a spectacular adventure as you enjoy hiking, camping, birdwatching, rock climbing, stargazing, biking, fishing, and numerous others.

It boasts a jaw-dropping natural landscape with majestic waterfalls, lush greenery, dense forests, towering trees, and more.

Recommended Hotel: Hotel Laurance

45. Ellicott City — Maryland

Ellicott City — Maryland

Ellicott City, MD Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Ellicott City, founded in 1772, is a census-designated place and seat of Howard County in Maryland.

Enjoy one of the best weekend getaways from Washington DC by driving roughly one hour to this unincorporated community.

The B&O Ellicott City Station Museum is a must-visit on your sightseeing tour, displaying model trains, authentic railroad artifacts, reenactments, educational programs, and more.

Are you an outdoor enthusiast?

Then, visit Patapsco Valley State Park, an over 14,000-acre state park ideal for picnicking, fishing, hiking, canoeing, mountain biking, horseback riding, and camping.

Drop by a stunning historical and religious landmark before leaving, the Shrine of St. Anthony, a Roman Catholic church erected in 1931 with a Neo-Renaissance architectural design.

Recommended Hotel: Sonesta ES Suites Columbia Baltimore

Getaway Guide 

Comparing destinations: which one is right for you.

When planning a weekend getaway, it’s essential to compare the different attractions to ensure you choose the one that perfectly suits your interests. 

Each destination offers its own unique charm, and by comparing them, you can make an informed decision that maximizes your enjoyment.

At Salamander Resort, I was whisked away by the equine charm, and after a relaxed trail ride, I basked in their world-class spa. 

During our stay there, my daughter was smitten with their culinary classes.

Goodstone Inn, with its captivating history, was our gastronomical heaven. 

A romantic sunset wine tasting overlooking the sprawling vineyards was etched in my memory, and the kids adored the friendly farm animals.

A quirky twist to our adventures was the Craddock Terry Hotel. 

Luxuriating in their rich industrial heritage, my children found delight in the shoe-themed whimsy. 

The in-room breakfast, served in an antique wooden shoeshine box, was an amusing surprise. 

How I Picked The Destinations 

When it came to selecting my weekend getaways in Washington DC, I took a personalized and immersive approach. 

I engaged in lively conversations with locals, tapping into their insider knowledge and recommendations for hidden gems. 

Additionally, I delved into extensive online research, exploring travel blogs and forums to uncover lesser-known attractions and experiences. 

With this amalgamation of local insights and online wisdom, I crafted a unique itinerary that promised delightful surprises and authentic encounters in the captivating capital.

Our Property Rating Method 

I rate these properties based on the following criteria:

  • Room Variety: I use this to rate the room options offered by every property. What room types are available? Can it accommodate different budgets, group sizes, and preferences? I ask myself these questions when evaluating the property’s room variety. 
  • Comfort and Cleanliness: This measures the overall cleanliness and comfort of the accommodations. Does it have comfortable beds? Are the rooms spotless and dust-free? These are important factors I consider when rating comfort and cleanliness. 
  • Location: This is used to evaluate how convenient and accessible the property is. How close is it to the attractions? Are there good public transportation options near the location? Is it easily accessible for families? These questions are important when I rate the location of every accommodation. 
  • Affordability: I use this to evaluate the property’s affordability. Are the room rates reasonable? Does the property have any additional fees? Does the property offer discounts or packages? I ask myself this in order to rate affordability. 
  • Family-Friendliness: This evaluates the family-friendliness of each property. Does it offer babysitting services and children’s activities? Does it have connecting rooms for families? I use these questions to rate the family-friendliness of the property. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Are there any scenic coastal destinations near washington dc for a weekend trip.

Yes, there are several coastal destinations near Washington DC that make for great weekend getaways, such as Ocean City in Maryland and Rehoboth Beach in Delaware.

How Far Are The Weekend Getaway Destinations From Washington DC?

Shenandoah National Park is approximately 70 miles west of Washington DC, making it easily accessible for a weekend trip. Annapolis, Maryland, is about 30 miles east of the capital city, allowing for a short drive or train ride. Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia, is around 65 miles northwest of Washington DC, providing a scenic drive or train journey.

What Outdoor Activities Can I Enjoy During A Weekend Getaway From Washington DC?

Shenandoah National Park offers numerous outdoor activities, including hiking, camping, birdwatching, and scenic drives along Skyline Drive. Annapolis provides opportunities for sailing, boating, and waterfront dining. Harper’s Ferry allows for hiking, whitewater rafting, and exploring the historic town.

Conclusion 

When seeking the best weekend getaways from Washington DC, my family and I wholeheartedly recommend Salamander Resort & Spa. 

Its unique blend of luxurious accommodations, gourmet dining, and a wealth of family-friendly activities sets it apart. 

Nestled in the heart of Virginia’s wine country, it offers a retreat from city life without losing any creature comforts. 

Compared to other options, it has been the most memorable based on our personal experiences, offering unparalleled service and fun. 

So, if you’re hunting for that perfect family-friendly escape, this luxurious country resort should be at the top of your list.

45 Best Weekend Getaways From Washington DC — Quick Trips!

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Best Weekend Getaways from Washington, D.C.

By Julekha Dash

Winter Morning in Pennsylvania

All products featured on Condé Nast Traveler are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

One of the charms of living in D.C. is that there’s always a park or botanical gardens close enough to enjoy a moment of serenity. But sometimes residents need a longer getaway from the politically charged atmosphere, especially as the winter doldrums set in. Luckily, the nation’s capital enjoys a  seat in a prime mid-Atlantic location within hours of rural mountains, waterfront towns, and history-rich sites—all reachable by car or train. Whether you want to glide down a snowy hill, explore colonial history, or celebrate Black history, these weekend trips will give you the chance to explore new surroundings.

(Editors note: Given the changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic , the hours and accessibility of many venues are fluid and subject to change. Make sure to contact them before visiting. Note that some states, like Pennsylvania, require a negative Covid test within 72 hours of entering.)

All listings featured on Condé Nast Traveler are independently selected by our editors. If you book something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Williamsburg, VA

The Governor's Palace in Colonial Williamsburg Virginia

Picturesque and historical Williamsburg

How to get there

Using interpretive actors and exhibits that simulate life in 18th century colonial America, Williamsburg makes it easy to get lost in the past. Take Amtrak’s Northeast Regional and you'll arrive nearly four hours later in downtown Williamsburg; the train station is conveniently located just a mile from the Colonial Williamsburg Visitors Center. You’ll shave off an hour by driving if you hit I-95 during off-peak times and use the E-ZPass.

Williamsburg stands in the middle of what’s dubbed the historic triangle, with Jamestown and Yorktown, in a Virginia peninsula bookended by the James and York rivers. To explore one or more of these towns over a weekend, it’s best to choose a few sites depending on your interests, as the options are overwhelming. Williamsburg alone contains two museums, interpretative tours, an arboretum, and colonial buildings spread over 300 acres. Get into the colonial spirit and take a carriage ride to cover the extensive grounds.

Many of the area’s attractions are outdoors, making it easy to enjoy a socially distant educational vacation. But make time to view the indoor exhibit Focused: A Century of Virginia Indian Resilience , which begins Jan. 29 at Jamestown Settlement. Taken from the Smithsonian and prominent photographers, the images and objects honor Virginia’s Native American cultural heritage. The highlight of the exhibit is a majestic and intricately woven turkey feather cape worn by the Native American activist Mollie Adams.

Where to stay

Staying at one of the Colonial Williamsburg Resorts allows travelers to soak up the history even after the attractions close. Admire the colonial homes during an evening stroll along Duke of Gloucester Street, a 10-minute walk from Williamsburg Inn ( from $359 per night ). While all of the rooms contain period details, the Churchill, Rockefeller, and Queen’s suites pay homage to historical figures who have visited. Book an appointment for a massage or a session at the hotel spa’s indoor pool. The Social Terrace offers a picturesque spot to grab drinks or a casual dinner overlooking the hotel’s golf course. Williamsburg Lodge ( from $129 per night ) presents a more affordable option with several rooms that are dog friendly.

Laurel Highlands

Fallingwater Frank Lloyd Water

Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater in Mill Run

A mountainous region spanning three counties in southwestern Pennsylvania, the Laurel Highlands are a winter wonderland for skiing and snowshoeing enthusiasts. The three-and-half-hour drive follows I-70 in Western Maryland, followed by I-68 or the Pennsylvania Turnpike, where the road curves nonstop through the scenic Allegheny Mountains, so stay alert and don’t drive hungry. Stop midway in Hagerstown at the local outpost of Pittsburgh’s Primanti Bros., whose iconic mile-high sandwiches stuffed with meat, fries, and coleslaw will provide sustenance for the road.

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The region’s three major resorts—Nemacolin, Seven Springs Mountain Resort, Hidden Valley Resort —offer a Highlands Season Pass that allow unlimited skiing and snowboarding at all three. Each resort also offers snow tubing and other thrilling snow adventures, such as dog sledding through the wooded acres at Nemacolin. When you need a break from the slopes, head to the region’s most famous architectural wonder, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater in Mill Run. Fashioned in his signature prairie style with stacks of elongated balconies, the house gets its name from its lofty perch atop a waterfall. Tours of the house resume in February.

Staying at one of the ski resorts, even if you don’t ski, gives you access to a spa and other amenities that will keep your crew entertained. With a game room, roller skating, and bowling alley, Seven Springs caters to families, with a variety of accommodations in the hotel, condos, and cottages ( from $221 per night ). Swanky Nemacolin’s diverse array of offerings on its sprawling 2,200 acres includes everything from a wildlife habitat to a fine art gallery. Rent a luxury home or townhome on the property, or stay in the Chateau ( from $315 ), where the latest season of The Bachelor was filmed . Unwind in front of the spa lounge fireplace while you wait for your massage.

Baltimore, MD

Illuminated skyscrapers of Inner Harbor Baltimore Maryland

The Baltimore skylilne

From the tony Harbor East neighborhood to former working-class-turned-hipster enclave of John Waters’ favorite Hampden, Baltimore is a town of neighborhoods, each with its own distinct personality. Depending on where you live, you can take the Baltimore-Washington Parkway or I-95 for the 40-mile ride. On your way in (or out), stop at Guinness Open Gate Brewery, the iconic Irish brand’s only U.S. spot, to pick up one of its made-in-Maryland experimental brews. Some prefer to take the Marc train from D.C.'s Union Station and hop off at Baltimore’s Penn Station, a 109-year-old Beaux Arts building a few miles north of downtown. It’s worth looking up to admire the station’s stained glass ceiling and the controversial 51-foot stainless steel Male/Female sculpture outside.

Ahead of Black History Month, Baltimore’s tourism bureau has unveiled a new pass that gives visitors discounts to the city’s African American cultural attractions and Black-owned businesses. The list includes the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture, which highlights the struggles and achievements of Black Marylanders, with a current exhibit depicting Black Lives Matters activists. That’s just one of the city’s treasure trove of woefully underrated museums. Just south of the Inner Harbor in the Federal Hill neighborhood, the American Visionary Art Museum’s collection from self-taught artists includes a 10-foot statue of Divine and an outdoor oversized egg covered in mirrored mosaics.

From there, it’s a 15-minute drive north to the city’s newest food hall. Whitehall Mill, a rehabbed 18th century flour mill, showcases some of Baltimore’s best food businesses against a background of exposed brick and weathered beams. Reward yourself with Crust by Mack’s famous crab pies, the glittery lemonade at Wight Tea Co., and arroz caldo at Heritage Kitchen, or bivalves at True Chesapeake Oyster Co.

Located in the city’s culturally rich Mount Vernon neighborhood, the Black-owned Ivy Hotel ( from $395 per night ) contains eye-catching design elements at every turn, from the armoires hand painted by local art students to the mural-covered lounge. A stay in one of the 19 rooms and suites in the former 19th century Gilded Age mansion comes loaded with perks, including a memorable breakfast, afternoon tea, and cocktails at the self-service bar. While the city has shut in-restaurant dining due to COVID-19, you can order the Maryland crab cakes to go and eat in your room. Just a few blocks away, visitors will find another beautifully restored former mansion at the Hotel Revival ( from $108 per night ). Get takeout at the popup restaurant from the city’s first female- and Black-owned oyster bar, the Urban Oyster.

St. Michael’s, MD

Sunset at Chesapeake Martime Museum in St Michaels Maryland

St. Michael's, Maryland is more peaceful in the winter than the crazy summers.

Unlike the frenetic summer months, visiting St. Michael’s in winter allows you to experience the area’s quiet natural beauty at your own pace. The 90-minute drive takes you past the Bay Bridge, mostly on route 50, crossing Eastern Shore farms on the way. Make a pit stop 15 minutes before your destination to pick up some homemade peanut butter and strawberry rhubarb jam at the Amish Country Farmers Market in Easton.

With an assemblage of brightly colored shops, Federal and Victorian homes, and a sailboat-studded marina, St. Michael’s downtown could double as a movie set. The town’s main drag, Talbot Street, houses several eclectic boutiques, from jewelry store Silver Linings to the Shops at Sea Captain’s Cottage, a treasure chest of antiques, home decor, and art. St. Michael’s nautical heritage is on display at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, whose 18-acre campus includes a working shipyard and the town’s signature lighthouse. Charming eating spots abound, including St. Michael’s Bistro, which produces an award-winning oyster stew, and local hotspot Ava’s Pizzeria & Wine Bar, whose dining room boasts a beer tap waterfall with a selection of local brews.

Sometimes a hotel is the destination, and we wouldn’t blame you if you spent your entire stay at the Inn at Perry Cabin ( from $595 per night ), made famous by the movie the Wedding Crashers . Nurse a hot toddy by the courtyard firepit at Purser’s Pub, or watch the kaleidoscope sunsets against the Miles River from an adirondack chair on the expansive property.

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  • 1 Middleburg, VA
  • 2 Baltimore, MD
  • 3 Hot Springs, VA
  • 4 Rehoboth Beach, DE
  • 5 St. Michaels, MD

5 Great Weekend Getaways from Washington, D.C.

There’s never a dull moment in the nation’s capital—all the more reason to get out on the weekends and find a little peace, IOHO. From wine tasting in Virginia to an urban art safari in Baltimore, here are our favorite weekend getaways, all within just a few hours’ drive from Washington, D.C.

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Images courtesy of Greenhill Vineyards

Middleburg, VA

It’s only an hour-long drive from D.C. to Middleburg, in Virginia's bucolic wine country. Get a taste of the land and check in to Salamander Resort & Spa , a stately inn set on 340 pastoral acres in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, famous for its Grand Lawn and state-of-the-art equestrian center. While you could spend the whole weekend strolling the resort’s manicured grounds (or testing your culinary chops at the on-site cooking studio), we suggest venturing further afield—there are more than 250 local wineries to explore. You know you're in the country at Greenhill Winery & Vineyards , where tastings of Burgundian-style chardonnays and crisp rieslings are bookended by horse-drawn carriage rides and picnic lunches. Aspen Dale Winery offers a more rustic experience, with paddocks home to goats and miniature horses and live folk music events. For dinner, head to the historic Red Fox Inn & Tavern , where oak tables, stone fireplaces, and beamed ceilings set the backdrop for hearty American classics like crispy half-duck with sautéed asparagus or bourbon-glazed salmon.

Explore More: See hotel details | See all Middleburg, VA hotels

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Images courtesy of Visit Baltimore

Baltimore, MD

D.C.’s industrious neighbor to the north is increasingly becoming known for its urban art scene. Beyond icons like The Baltimore Museum of Art and The Walters Art Museum , smaller-scale artist-run galleries and studios have been cropping up throughout the city. Anchors of its creative scene include Current Space , in the Inner Harbor business district, and Area 405 , built inside a 168-year-old artist-owned warehouse—both of which showcase works by up-and-coming local talents as well as indie rock performances. More interested in the stage and screen? See a first-run film or theater performance at The Charles , then hop over to Graffiti Warehouse to explore works by photographers, street artists, and local filmmakers. Afterwards, bed down at the  Sagamore Pendry Baltimore , a contemporary design hotel with a see-and-be-seen pool overlooking the harbor.

RELATED:  5 Reasons Why Baltimore Should Be Your Next Getaway

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Hot Springs, VA

Hot Springs, Virginia, has been a POTUS holiday destination of choice as far back as the 1800s, when Thomas Jefferson sought the healing effects of its bubbling pools. Follow their lead with a stay at the Omni Homestead Resort . First built in 1766, the hotel has so far hosted 23 U.S. presidents—so you know it must be doing something right. Wedged in the Allegheny Mountains, it’s a destination in its own right, with 483 antebellum-style rooms (floral drapes; featherbeds), sun-lit porches with rocking chairs, and 45 acres including a two-acre water park that features natural hot springs, a lazy river, water slides, and private cabanas prime for relaxing. After working up an appetite during a cascade waterfall hike or zipline tour, venture into town and dine at Snead’s 1912 Steakhouse , which serves contemporary fare in a rustic setting—we love the sumac roasted chicken with goat cheese grits or the classic bone-in ribeye.

Explore More: See hotel details | See all Hot Springs, VA hotels

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Images courtesy of Visit Delaware

Rehoboth Beach, DE

Okay, so Rehoboth Beach may not be at the top of a Jetsetter's bucket list, but there's just something about experiencing one of America's classic boardwalks that we love. Nostalgic amusement rides, open air seafood joints, shingled cottage rentals along the shore...it's all here. The beach gets packed, so rise early and set up camp on the sand, where you can spend mornings swimming in the surf and—if you're lucky—spotting passing dolphins. Feeling peckish? Hit up happy hour at Henlopen City Oyster House (3 p.m. to 5 p.m. daily) for its raw bar, which serves a smorgasbord of seafood from creamy middleneck clams to briny kumamoto oysters. Don't forget to check the listings at Rehoboth Beach Bandstand , an open-air music venue that hosts dozens of free shows throughout the summer. On your way home, take the small detour north to Cape Henlopen State Park , whose sand dunes and observation tower offer a different perspective of the Atlantic Coast.

RELATED:  What to Pack for a Beach Vacation: Our 14-Piece Checklist

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Top images courtesy of Lyon Distilling, Sail Selena II

St. Michaels, MD

When you're ready to ditch the city, hop over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge to St. Michaels, Maryland, for a weekend of maritime bliss. This small seaside town’s nautical heritage stretches back to the 1600s, when it served as a trading post for local tobacco farmers and trappers. Today, St. Michaels' charm is all about its 18th-century colonial churches and homes as well as the picturesque harbor backdrop—a perfect place to get your sea legs and learn how to sail (check out Sail Selena II for one-on-one lessons and small group tours). The sailing academy at The Inn at Perry Cabin , an elegant boutique with water views, also offers both excursions and courses. Don't miss a post-sail tasting at Lyon Distilling Co. to sample the area's best handcrafted rums and Maryland rye whiskies.

Explore More: See hotel details | See all St. Michaels, MD hotels

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weekend trips around dc

The region and states around the nation's capital offer a wonderful variety of weekend getaway destinations. Within a few hours' drive, you can visit big cities, beaches, and mountains as well as enjoy a wide range of activities , including shopping, golfing, hiking, and exploring historical sites.

Annapolis, Maryland

Just 45 minutes east of Washington, D.C. , Annapolis is an easy weekend getaway. Visitors can stroll along the city dock, which has many boutique shops and upscale restaurants. Besides being the state capital of Maryland, Annapolis is also the sailing capital of America. Take a sightseeing cruise or walking tour and learn about the history of this beautiful seaport. Annapolis is the home of t the United States Naval Academy and St. John's College, the third oldest institution of higher education in the United States.

Baltimore, Maryland

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Baltimore is one of the major seaports in the United States. The up-and-coming city, an hour north of the capital, features many family-friendly attractions like Inner Harbor, Fells Point, Maryland Science Center and Davis Planetarium, Camden Yards baseball stadium, the historic 19th-century Fort McHenry, and the National Aquarium , which has more than 700 species of fish, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals.

Eastern Shore, Maryland and Virginia

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The Chesapeake Bay's eastern shore is characterized by historic towns, beaches, and beautiful nature areas popular during the summer months.  Assateague Island National Seashore  in Maryland is famous for its 300 wild ponies who wander the beaches. It's also a great place for bird watching, seashell collecting, and clamming. Meanwhile, Virginia's  Chincoteague Island  has lighthouse tours and a national wildlife refuge. Ocean City, Maryland, is one of the most popular spots on the Eastern Shore . The bustling beach town has 10 miles of white sand along the Atlantic Ocean as well as an iconic boardwalk and amusement park.

Colonial Williamsburg

Step back in time and visit Colonial Williamsburg , the world’s largest living history museum, encompassing 301 acres of restored, reconstructed, and furnished buildings. As the 18th-century Virginia capital, Williamsburg has been preserved to look as it did during the American Revolution. Beating drums, trilling fifes, firework displays, theatrical programs, and interpretive characters are just a few of the entertainment elements.

Old Town Alexandria

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Alexandria is a quaint historic town and a fun place to explore. Just six miles south of downtown Washington, D.C., you can easily combine a visit with some time in the nation's capital. Old Town Alexandria is the third oldest historic district in the United States and contains more than 4,200 historic buildings dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries. Some of the top attractions include the George Washington Masonic Memorial,   Fort Ward Museum and Park , and the  Torpedo Factory Art Center,  one of the largest visual arts centers in the U.S. Set along the Potomac River, the three-floor waterfront art center features 84 working studios, five galleries, two workshops, the Art League School, and the Alexandria Archaeology Museum.

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

This important Civil War site , known for its three-day battle in 1863, attracts visitors from all over the country. Here, you'll find living history demonstrations,  Junior Ranger  programs, and the Gettysburg Cyclorama, a massive 360-degree oil painting of the Battle of Gettysburg. The historic town is full of antique shops and galleries to browse, or just outside the city is Adams County apple country, home to the National Apple Museum and the Gettysburg Wine and Fruit Trail. This area is a prime destination for food tours and agri-tourism experiences .

Deep Creek Lake, Maryland

Deep Creek Lake , the largest freshwater lake in Maryland, has 65 miles of shoreline to explore. Three hours west of D.C., you can enjoy hiking, bicycling, picnicking, boating, fishing, camping, swimming, and horseback riding in warmer weather and skiing, snowboarding, snowtubing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling during the winter months. The 6,000-square-foot Discovery Center at Deep Creek Lake State Park features nature exhibits on turtles, foxes, and black bears, as well as an on-site aviary full of rescued and rehabilitated birds. In the summer, there are popular campfire programs for kids, too.

New York City

There's always something to do in New York City , whether it's seeing a Broadway show, visiting the top of the Empire State Building , biking through Central Park, or taking a ferry to the Statue of Liberty. Culture lovers will also appreciate the many museums on hand, including the famous Metropolitan Museum of Art or the September 11 Memorial and Museum. Just make sure to save some time for the unique Manhattan neighborhoods south of Midtown—like SoHo for high-end shopping, East Village for affordable but savory restaurants, Chelsea for its independent art galleries.

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

The 200,000-acre  Shenandoah National Park is located in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, just 75 minutes west of the capital. Cruise along the Skyline Drive , a 105-mile road that winds through the park and overlooks forests, streams, and thundering waterfalls. If you'd rather travel by foot, there are more than 500 miles of hiking trails, including a 101-mile section of the Appalachian Trail. There's also fishing, mountain biking, and wildlife viewing areas as well.

Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

West Virginia Division of Tourism

Within an hours' drive, you can get away from city life and enjoy a variety of cultural, historical, and recreational activities in the mountains of West Virginia. Learn about American history at Harpers Ferry National Park , which was the site of John Brown's attack on slavery and the largest surrender of Federal troops during the Civil War. The sprawling park, which covers over 2,300 acres and crosses into three states (West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia), features ranger-guided tours, artisanal craft shops, and whitewater rafting along the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers.

Brandywine Valley, Delaware

Chester County Conference and Visitors Bureau

Two hours north of Washington, D.C.,  Brandywine Valley offers historic attractions, art museums, and scenic countryside. Key attractions revolve around the DuPont family estates, including the Hagley Museum and Library, the Winterthur Museum, and the Nemours Mansion and Gardens. The main site is  Longwood Gardens , a year-round treasure with 1,077 acres of gardens, woodlands, and meadows. Visitors can stop by to see flower shows, gardening demonstrations, and craft workshops.

Fredericksburg, Virginia

This charming Virginia town , set along the Rappahannock River, was the childhood home to George Washington, a major port during the colonial era, and the site of major Civil War battles. It contains 350 original 18th and 19th-century buildings and is home to many living history museums, restaurants, shops, and art galleries. Hop on a 75-minute trolley tour to get the lay of the land, then head to A. Smith Bowman Distillery to taste hand-crafted bourbon and other small-batch spirits.

Winchester, Virginia

In the Shenandoah Valley region of Virginia, the small town of Winchester is just 72 miles northwest of D.C. and 22 miles north of Shenandoah National Park. Old Town Winchester hosts great festivals throughout the year; the Bluemont Concert Series and the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival are favorites. History buffs should stop by the Old Court House Civil War Museum, the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, and Stonewall Jackson's Headquarters Museum.

Hershey, Pennsylvania

Hersheypark

Hershey is one of the most popular family-friendly destinations in the area. About two hours north of Washington, D.C., its main draw is Hersheypark , a 110-acre amusement park with more than 70 rides, including roller coasters, water slides, and prize games. But that's not all. Hershey’s Chocolate World and ZooAmerica Wildlife Park are also included in the admission ticket.

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15 weekend road trips from washington, d.c..

Whether you’re a local in search of an escape or you’re visiting Washington, D.C. and want to discover more of the area than the crowded historical sites and Washington D.C. landmarks you’ll get inside the city, there are tons of options for weekend road trips from Washington DC.

The great part about visiting DC is that it’s wedged in between the Northeast and the South, so you can travel in either direction and find all kinds of picturesque coastal towns , scenic mountain retreats, and historic cities within a few hours’ drive.

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Where to Stay in Washington DC See all hotel options

  • Willard Intercontinental  – this is an exceptional hotel close to everything
  • Conrad Washington DC  – right next to the Capital One Arena and great restaurants
  • Westin Washington DC City Center  – right in the center of everything

Best Tours and Experiences in Washington DC

  • Tickets for Monuments by Moonlight
  • Private Washington DC Guided Tour
  • Capitol Hill Guided Walking Tour with Entry to US Capitol & Library of Congress
  • Arlington National Cemetery Guided Walking Tour with Changing of the Guards

When I lived in DC, I often took weekend trips to explore the area. There’s a quick jaunt up to Maryland, with beautiful Annapolis or Baltimore to discover, and there’s Richmond, Virginia, or Raleigh, North Carolina, to the south. So many places to see, and it’s not that far of a drive to get to any of these road trips from DC.

» Want more? We’ve got a great 3-day itinerary to make your planning easier. Add to your plan with these 50 top activities to do in Washington DC, or see it like a local with these non-touristy things to do . We also recommend seeing these special landmarks .

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Best Way to Get Around

The best way to get around to any of these road trips is by car or by train. If you have your own car, you’re good to go. If you need to rent a car , I suggest renting through Discover Cars . They collect the best deals from all the car companies, so you’re sure to get the best price.

Driving from Washington D.C. to nearby towns and cities may involve tolls depending on the route you take, the time of day you’re driving, and the kind of vehicle you’re driving. The tolls may also vary if you’re using an E-ZPass or another form of electronic tolling, or if you’re paying by cash.

15 Best Road Trips From Washington, D.C.

Get ready to embark on an epic journey as we present our top 15-weekend road trips from the capital city. These D.C. road trips take you through breathtaking destinations near the capital; they are close enough to visit, explore, and return in one day.

1. Annapolis, Maryland

Annapolis, Maryland

Estimated Drive Time: 45-60 minutes Distance: 32 miles

Nestled along the Chesapeake Bay, Annapolis is the preeminent capital city of Maryland State. The coastal town has lots to offer, from charming streets to quaint shops and tons of museums; Annapolis is one of the best places to visit for a weekend getaway if you don’t want a long drive. It’s only about 45-60 minutes (mostly on Rt 50).

Start by exploring the city’s rich maritime history at the United States Naval Academy . Founded in 1845, this academy is one of the most esteemed military schools in the country. Continue to the Annapolis Historic District, where you can admire 18th-century architecture.

If you’re more of an outdoor lover, you can enjoy a range of water activities like kayaking or canoeing on the Chesapeake Bay. Annapolis also has many parks and outdoor spaces for leisurely strolls, hikes, and relaxing on the beach. Don’t forget to taste some of Annapolis’ most delicious seafood at Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls or O’Learys Seafood Restaurant. 

2. Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

Harpers Ferry

Estimated Drive Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Distance: 64 miles

Located at the meeting point of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers, Harpers Ferry is a charming town that offers breathtaking vistas of Maryland and Virginia. The small town promises an enchanting blend of natural beauty, rich historical significance, and outdoor adventures.

You can explore this well-preserved 19th-century town by stepping back in time and learning about its role in American history at the Civil War Museum. At John Brown’s Fort, you can learn more about John Brown’s Raid , when the abolitionist and a small group of enslaved people revolted against the state of Virginia. 

Immerse yourself in nature by hiking the picturesque trails of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park or indulge in thrilling water activities such as rafting or kayaking. Whether you’re a history enthusiast or an outdoor adventurer, Harpers Ferry provides an unforgettable experience.

3. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia Independence Hall

Estimated Drive Time: 2 hours 30 minutes Distance: 139 miles

Tolls: If you take I-95 N, there are no tolls until you reach Delaware. From there, you’ll encounter several tolls on I-95 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

A road trip to Philadelphia from Washington, D.C., offers a fascinating journey into American history and vibrant city life. Known as the “City of Brotherly Love”, Philly is a treasure trove of iconic landmarks and cultural attractions. 

The Liberty Bell and Independence Hall are where both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were signed, effectively making Philly the birthplace of the United States. But there’s more. The city also boasts bustling neighborhoods, a thriving arts scene, delicious food , and world-class museums, such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Franklin Institute.

With its rich history, thriving arts scene, and delicious food, Philadelphia is a must-visit destination that promises an exciting and memorable weekend trip from Washington, D.C.

Tip: Take the Constitutional Walking Tour of Philadelphia for behind-the-scenes access to the Independence National Historical Park and 20+ other historical landmarks. 

4. Baltimore, Maryland

baltimore maryland

Estimated Drive Time: 1 hour Distance: 39 miles

Tolls: If you take the Baltimore-Washington Parkway (MD-295), there are no tolls. If you take Interstate 95 (I-95), there may be tolls, especially if you’re driving through tunnels in Baltimore, like the Fort McHenry Tunnel.

Known for its lively atmosphere and rich history, Baltimore is a captivating destination and one of the most historic cities in the U.S . Baltimore is another city that sits along the Chesapeake Bay, so you can explore the iconic Inner Harbor and visit the National Aquarium, where you can immerse yourself in the city’s maritime heritage.

You can also enjoy some waterfront dining at Rusty Scupper Restaurant and take scenic boat tours along the bay. Additionally, Baltimore is home to charming neighborhoods like Fells Point and Canton, with their cobblestone streets, unique shops, and delicious seafood eateries, which are ideal for exploring. Whether it’s the history, delicious cuisine, or the city’s vibrant energy that brings you here, Baltimore promises an exciting weekend trip from D.C. for all visitors.

Tip: Immerse yourself in Baltimore’s culinary scene with this Fells Point food tour .

5. Richmond, Virginia

richmond park

Estimated Drive Time: 1 hour 45 minutes Distance: 109 miles

Tolls: If you take I-95 S, there’s a toll for the Richmond Metropolitan Authority Downtown Expressway. There might also be tolls on the Dulles Toll Road (Route 267), if you choose to take this route.

Richmond promises an enriching experience filled with history, culture, and culinary delights. As the capital city of Virginia, Richmond offers a perfect blend of Southern charm and modern attractions, including a variety of museums, botanical gardens, and lush public spaces.

You can immerse yourself in the city’s rich history by visiting landmarks like the Virginia State Capitol and the American Civil War Museum. Explore the vibrant arts scene at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Richmond Symphony, and indulge in delicious cuisine. 

From traditional Southern dishes to trendy culinary offerings in the city’s Arts District, you’ll love Richmond’s gastronomy. Make sure you don’t miss the opportunity to stroll along the scenic James River or experience the city’s thriving craft beer and cider scene.

6. Assateague Island, Maryland/Virginia

Assateague Island

Estimated Drive Time: 2 hours 45 minutes

Distance: 149 miles

Taking a road trip from D.C. to Assateague Island , which straddles the borders of Maryland and Virginia, promises an enchanting escape into untouched natural beauty. Known for its wild horses and pristine beaches, Assateague Island offers unspoiled landscapes, perfect for camping under the starry sky and hiking along scenic trails. 

You’ll also enjoy spotting wildlife in their natural habitat. Spend your days lounging on the sandy shores, swimming in the Atlantic Ocean, or enjoying water activities like kayaking and paddleboarding for a unique and unforgettable experience.

Assateague Island provides a serene retreat from the hustle and bustle, allowing you to reconnect with nature and create lasting memories on your road trip adventure.

7. Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

Shenandoah National Park

Estimated Drive Time: 1 hour 15 minutes Distance: 71 miles

Nestled along Virginia’s beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah National Park guarantees an awe-inspiring journey through breathtaking natural beauty. Shenandoah National Park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers as it offers plenty of things to do, from hiking to wildlife excursions and backcountry camping.

You can take the scenic Skyline Drive, a winding road that offers panoramic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the park’s lush forests. Explore the park’s extensive network of hiking trails, ranging from leisurely strolls to challenging treks that lead to cascading waterfalls. The park also offers plenty of stunning overlooks and abundant wildlife viewing opportunities.

8. Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Gettysburg

Estimated Drive Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Distance: 85 miles

If you’re a history aficionado, a road trip to Gettysburg is one of the best driving trips from D.C. you can take. The town offers a profound and moving experience delving into one of the most significant chapters in American history. 

Gettysburg National Military Park is where you can walk the hallowed grounds, visit the battlefield monuments, and gain insights into the historic events that unfolded. You can also engage in informative guided tours , including visits to the Gettysburg National Cemetery and the Gettysburg Museum. 

The museum gives you an opportunity to fully immerse yourself in the rich history, artifacts, and interactive exhibits that tell the story of this decisive battle. Additionally, the charming town offers delightful shops, restaurants, and accommodations that perfectly complement the historical significance of the area. 

9. Charlottesville, Virginia

Charlottesville

Estimated Drive Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Distance: 118 miles

Nestled in the heart of the state, Charlottesville offers a captivating blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. The city has a diverse range of attractions and experiences, from scenic roads to fascinating historical landmarks. 

Immerse yourself in the historical legacy of Thomas Jefferson by visiting Monticello, his architectural masterpiece and former residence. You can also explore the picturesque grounds of the University of Virginia. It’s one of the world’s most prestigious universities and a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Head down to the vibrant Downtown Mall, where you can stroll among charming shops, galleries, and restaurants. Indulge in the region’s renowned wineries and vineyards, immersing yourself in Virginia’s growing wine scene. For outdoor enthusiasts, the Blue Ridge Mountains nearby provide opportunities for hiking and scenic drives.

10. Blackwater Falls State Park, West Virginia

Blackwater Falls State Park

Estimated Drive Time: 3 hours 3 minutes

Distance: 168 miles

Blackwater Falls State Park is a natural gem that offers breathtaking landscapes and outdoor recreational opportunities. The park is located in the rugged yet tranquil Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia, offering miles of hiking trails, scenic overlooks, and mesmerizing waterfalls.

Blackwater Falls is, without a doubt, the most famous attraction in the park. You’ll love marveling at this serene natural wonder as the amber-colored water cascades down the rocks. 

Take some time to explore the park’s extensive trail system, hike through lush forests, witness vibrant wildflowers, and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. In the winter, the park transforms into a snowy wonderland, inviting visitors to engage in cross-country skiing and sledding, making it one of the best winter destinations in the U.S.

11. Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Rehoboth Beach

Estimated Drive Time: 2 hr 40 minutes

Distance: 121 miles

If you’re looking for a delightful seaside escape and a perfect destination for relaxation and fun? Well, look no further than Rehoboth Beach. This coastal haven is often called the nation’s summer capital, thanks to its pristine sandy shores, refreshing ocean waves, and vibrant beachside atmosphere. 

You can spend your day basking in the sun, swimming in the Atlantic Ocean, kayaking, paddleboarding, or building sandcastles on the beach. Explore the lively boardwalk, lined with shops, arcades, and delectable eateries serving up fresh seafood and other culinary delights. 

For outdoor enthusiasts, nearby Cape Henlopen State Park provides opportunities for hiking, biking, fishing, birdwatching, camping, and so much more. 

12. Raleigh, North Carolina

Raleigh North Carolina

Estimated Drive Time: 4 hours 30 minutes

Distance: 278 miles

As the capital of North Carolina State, Raleigh offers a dynamic blend of culture, history, and Southern charm. The city boasts an exciting arts and culinary scene, historical landmarks, and beautiful outdoor spaces. You can explore the North Carolina Museum of Art, which features an impressive collection of artwork spanning various periods and styles. 

Stroll through the historic neighborhoods of Oakwood and Mordecai to admire the Victorian architecture. Then you can visit the State Capitol building and the North Carolina Executive Mansion, showcasing the city’s rich political heritage.

For nature enthusiasts, nearby parks like Umstead State Park provide opportunities for hiking, biking, and picnicking. With its blend of history, culture, and outdoor activities, Raleigh offers an enriching and memorable road trip destination .

13. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh

Estimated Drive Time: 4 hours 15 minutes

Distance: 241 miles

A road trip promises an exciting and diverse experience in the heart of the Keystone State. Better known as the “Steel City” and nestled among three rivers, Pittsburgh offers a unique blend of industrial heritage, vibrant cultural attractions, and stunning natural landscapes.

You can explore the city’s iconic sights by taking a hop-on hop-off bus tour to see the towering skyscrapers of Downtown, the historic Andy Warhol Museum, and more. Then immerse yourself in the city’s thriving arts scene, with world-class theaters, galleries, and live music venues. 

If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, the city’s surrounding hills and rivers provide opportunities for hiking, biking, and kayaking. Pittsburgh also has numerous museums, like the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.

14. Cape May, New Jersey

Cape May New Jersey

Estimated Drive Time: 3 hours 40 minutes

Distance: 187 miles

A road trip from Washington, D.C., to Cape May offers a charming coastal getaway filled with Victorian architecture, beautiful beaches, and a relaxed atmosphere. Located at the southernmost tip of the state, Cape May is known as an idyllic vacation spot for families across New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

You can take a leisurely stroll through the streets lined with colorful cottages or embark on a whale and dolphin-watching cruise to learn about the area’s marine life. Then you can enjoy the sun and sand at Cape May’s pristine beaches, where you can swim, sunbathe, or engage in water sports.

If you’re a foodie, don’t miss out on indulging in fresh seafood at one of the many acclaimed restaurants, and explore the boutique shops and art galleries. With its quaint charm and architectural splendor, Cape May provides the perfect destination for a relaxing and memorable road trip experience. 

15. New York City, New York

New York City 

Estimated Drive Time: 4 hours Distance: 225 miles

Tolls: You might encounter tolls in Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, and New York depending on your route. A common route is via I-95 N which includes Delaware Turnpike, New Jersey Turnpike and bridges/tunnels entering New York.

New York City needs no introduction. Known as the “Big Apple”, New York City offers a vibrant mix of culture, history, and endless entertainment. There are tons of things you can see and do across the best areas in New York , including visiting famous landmarks, such as Times Square, Central Park, and the Statue of Liberty. 

Immerse yourself in the city’s diverse neighborhoods, each with its unique character and attractions. You can also indulge in world-class dining, from street food to Michelin-starred restaurants, experience Broadway shows, and try other touristy things to do in Manhattan .

New York is also a great place to discover renowned art museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art, showcasing impressive collections from around the globe. Additionally, if you like to shop, Fifth Avenue is your best friend. 

Visit trendy neighborhoods like SoHo and Greenwich Village, and take in the breathtaking skyline from atop the Empire State Building or One World Observatory. New York City’s energy and cultural richness guarantee an unforgettable road trip experience for anyone seeking the excitement and diversity of a bustling metropolis.

Tip: There is so much to explore in the Big Apple that a weekend might not be enough to discover all this metropolis has to offer. So consider staying a bit longer and use this 4-day itinerary to help you make the most of your trip.

Washington D.C. Road Trips | Wrapped Up

Embarking on a road trip from Washington, D.C., opens up a world of incredible destinations within driving distance. Whether you seek history, nature, or vibrant city life, these 15 road trip ideas from D.C. offer a diverse range of experiences. 

From the captivating sites of Gettysburg to the natural beauty of Shenandoah National Park, these best weekend trips from D.C. offer a perfect balance of culture and outdoor escapades. While energetic cities like Baltimore, Richmond, and Pittsburgh provide an array of culinary delights, arts, cultural offerings, and welcoming communities.

Whether you’re seeking historical knowledge, scenic vistas, beachfront relaxation, or urban excitement, these road trips have it all. So, buckle up, hit the road, and explore the wonders that await you on these unforgettable journeys.

Be Prepared For Travel Planning is the most important part of any successful trip. Do it the easy way:

🧳 Travel Packing List | ✔️ Why You Need Travel Insurance | ✈️ What to Do Before You Leave Home

  • Find and book the best hotel (our favorite booking site is Expedia)
  • Research flight options (our favorite tool is Skyscanner )
  • Book a tour (we always use Viator to find the best tours)
  • Rent a car through Discover Cars (they search the best deals for you!)

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Laura

Laura Lynch, creator and writer of Savored Journeys, is an avid world traveler, certified wine expert, and international food specialist. She has written about travel and food for over 20 years and has visited over 75 countries. Her work has been published in numerous guidebooks, websites, and magazines.

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20 Weekend Getaways from DC (Within Driving Distance)

Posted by Riley Loftus | Aug 25, 2023 | Inspiration , Trip Ideas | 0 |

20 Weekend Getaways from DC (Within Driving Distance)

We know, we know. You live in the DC metro area and have been itching to go on an adventure. You have been eager to travel beyond city limits. But, unfortunately, your vacation days are slipping away and time off of work can be hard to come by. Therefore, a weekend getaway is all you can manage. So, you have been racking your brain for new things to do this weekend – thinking, maybe a road trip? The same old same old of DC city life doesn't sound appealing and you're wondering what adventure you can embark on this weekend with your friends.

Maybe you have a knack for history and want to immerse yourself in a historically rich environment . Maybe you are one of those outdoorsy types that crave dirt under your nails and clean oxygen in your lungs. Or, maybe you are one of those I-just-need-some-peace-and-quiet-this-weekend types. Whatever the case, our list of the 20 best weekend getaways from DC will include the exact place that you are looking for. The destinations are all within driving distance, ranging from 20 minutes to 4 hours from Capitol Hill. So, get ready to pile in the car with great friends and set off on your next weekend adventure.

Here is a list of the best weekend getaways from DC. And the best part, they are affordable and within driving distance from the heart of capital.

1. annapolis, md.

weekend getaways from dc - Annapolis

Annapolis is not only the capital of Maryland. The city is also known as the sailing capital of the nation. Therefore, don't be surprised when you see numerous sailboats floating and gliding through the water. Annapolis, Maryland is home to the Naval Academy and during your weekend visit, you can wander around the Naval Academy Grounds. Stroll along the water and admire the boats. Take a boat or kayak ride and afterward, dine in one of the many restaurants offering freshly caught seafood. The drive from D.C. to Annapolis is short at less than one hour. For those who cannot get away for the entire weekend, Annapolis is a great city to wander to even for a day trip.

2. Atlantic City, NJ

weekend getaways from dc - Atlantic City

Atlantic City is the place for those who want to get a little rowdy. Gambling and drinking happen frequently in Atlantic City. Typically, both happen at the same time in one of the city's several casinos. Regardless of if the drinking and gambling scene is your style or not, there are also other things to do in the city. Walk along the famous boardwalk, journey down to the beach, or go to the pier where there are rides and carnival games to play. Atlantic City also offers parasailing and other water sports. Nearby golf courses attract many to the area, so be sure to bring your golf clubs too. Whatever you decide to do during your weekend stay in Atlantic City, you will enjoy your time along the coast of New Jersey.

3. Baltimore, MD

weekend getaways from dc - Baltimore

Baltimore, Maryland is a definitely an arts and music scene. If you love either, or both, this is one of the best weekend getaways from DC for you. Surrounding the Inner Harbor is a walkable friendly area with restaurants upon restaurants . There are also shops around the Harbor to explore. And to chocolate lovers, we highly recommend swinging by the Fudgery for a taste of some creamy and smooth fudge. Large crowds typically gather around as the fudge-makers sing songs and hand out free tastings of their homemade fudge! While in Baltimore you can visit the National Aquarium that's conveniently placed along the Harbor as well. There are a lot of exciting things to do in Baltimore that we know you will love, making it a close and lovely weekend getaway spot for those who like in the D.C. area.

4. Bethany Beach, DE

weekend getaways from dc - Bethany Beach

Seated along the Delaware-Maryland border, Bethany Beach is a family-friendly place down by the shore. This hidden escape gives travelers more peace and solitude than the bustling area of Ocean City, Maryland that is just down the road. There is a charming downtown area with cute beachy stores, a bookstore, and surf shops. At any time of day, you will find people holding cones of scooped ice cream from one of the many ice cream stores in the downtown area. When traveling to Bethany Beach for the weekend, you can dig your heels into the sand, relax by reading one of your favorite books, go out for a round of mini golf, or kayak in the bay. Various water activities are offered in Bethany. Also, you will have to mosey on down to the shore during the evening to catch the sky as it fades into shades of pink and orange. This is one of the most beautiful (and close) weekend getaways from DC you can take.

5. Charlottesville, VA

weekend getaways from dc - Charlottesville

History, history, history. Charlottesville is full of it. And full of cozy coffee shops for those who desire to nestle in with a cup of hot (or iced) coffee or tea. The University of Virginia may be located in Charlottesville, but there is more to the city than just the university. Thomas Jefferson's Monticello is also located in the city and a visit to the property will be informative to those who love learning about history.

Charlottesville's Historic Downtown is a pedestrian-only area, where you will find 10 blocks on restaurants, coffee shops, and clothing boutiques. There are also a few used bookstores in the Historic Downtown area where you can spend hours getting lost in the pages of hand-me-down books. There are hiking trails close to Charlottesville if you want to get outside and breathe in some mountain air too. Whether you decide to go wine tasting, hiking, or visiting historic monuments, Charlottesville has the best of all worlds.

6. Chincoteague Island, VA

weekend getaways from dc - Chincoteague Island

The island is small at only 7 miles long and 3 miles wide. However, there is no shortage of things to do in Chincoteague. Since everything you could want is nearby, you hardly need a car to drive from one place to the next on the island. Chincoteague is a great place to unwind by taking a bike ride, a light walk, or a hike. If you have an interest in fishing or water-skiing, there are boats you can rent at Chincoteague too. Hop abroad and show off your skills. There are also spots to rent kayaks. You can spend the afternoon paddling through creeks and channels in the area. Talk about blissful weekend getaways from DC!

To the east of Chincoteague is Assateague Island. At a larger 38 miles long, Assateague is a must-see during your stay in Chincoteague. There are beaches, wildlife, and the reason why you really need to visit – there are wild ponies. You will spot them on the side of the road and even galloping along the beach. And your heart will swell with delight and awe.

7. Deep Creek Lake, MD

weekend getaways from dc - Deep Creek Lake

You will love Deep Creek Lake if you love the outdoors. Come in the winter or in the summer and you will be satisfied with the copious amount of sporting activities that are offered. In the winter, lace up your snowboarding boots or tighten your ski boots. Hit the freshly powdered slopes for a great time. Not only is Deep Creek a skiing and snowboarding destination in the winter, but the area also offers snow tubing, ice skating, and snowmobiling. After a couple hours of being in the cold, head into the lodge for a cup of hot chocolate to warm you up.

In the summer, exchange your snow tube for a water tube and hit the lake. Go fishing, kayaking, boating, or swimming. Or, just lounge on the dock by the water. You can also go hiking on one of the many trails around the lake. Biking and camping are popular things to do at Deep Creek as well. Can't you see? Deep Creek Lake really does have it all for the lover of the outdoors. This spot will be a refreshing and adventurous time away from the hustle and bustle of D.C. city life. This is clearly one of those weekend getaways from DC for those who want to take in the beauty of the natural world.

8. Harpers Ferry, WV

weekend getaways from dc - Harpers Ferry

Mountains and rivers and (maybe) bears. Oh my! You're out in the great outdoors so you never really know what you may find. Maybe bears. Certainly fun and a great time. This small, unassuming town is the place where you can visit 3 states from one point. Harpers Ferry is the place where Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland meet, and there is much to do. Go hiking, rock climbing, or zip lining in the mountains. Go swimming, fishing, tubing, whitewater rafting, or kayaking along the rivers. There is also rich history to discover at Harpers Ferry. Over all, the quiet of Harpers Ferry will serve as a refuge for you during your weekend stay. This is one of the most ideal weekend getaways from DC for those who want the blend of a quaint, charming town and outdoor activities. And for those wanting to say they have been standing in 3 different states at the same time.

9. New York City

weekend getaways from dc - New York City

NYC, the Big Apple, the city that never sleeps. If you don't necessarily want to leave the city, but instead want to explore a new one, then visiting NYC is your place to be. There is so much to do in the area. So much . Go and see a Broadway show, visit the Statue of Liberty , take a walk in Central Park, climb up the Empire State Building , or visit the September 11th Memorial and Museum . There are tons of bars in NYC that you will have to try out too (even rooftop bars that give you a stunning view of the NYC skyline!).

In the city, you can also find any food you have a craving for. Indian, Mexican , Thai, Chinese, Mediterranean, and oh does the list go on. Times Square will display its brightest lights for you and you will quickly find that a one weekend visit isn't a long enough stay. Once you visit, you are sure to come again. And since you likely will not want to drive through that wild NYC traffic, you can take a bus from D.C. to the heart of NYC for as low as $25!

10. Old Town Alexandria

Old Town Alexandria

If you live in D.C., then Old Town Alexandria is just a hop, skip, and jump away. This is the closest place to retreat when you are wanting to shake things up and adventure around a new area. As you meander through the old-fashioned town, window-shop or stop inside one of the many local boutiques. On Saturday morning, visit the Old Town Farmers Market. The market is open year round and is one of the oldest farmers markets in the United States. Farmers and artisans have been selling product there since 1753. Even George Washington sold his produce at this market. We also recommend visiting the Torpedo Factory Art Center to watch art-making in progress. You can observe artists are they work in their studios. We think you will love the creativity that Torpedo Factory Art Center exhibits.

11. Philadelphia, PA

weekend getaways from dc - Philadelphia

Philadelphia is a great spot for a weekend getaway because of its historical landmarks, culinary flavor, and artistic detail. Philly is a city with a unique blend of things to do and experience. As for sightseeing, be sure to check out the Independence Hall, Liberty Bell Center, Philadelphia Museum of Art , and the Franklin Institute of Science Museum . Reading Terminal Market is another spot you will have to go to during your weekend visit. Nearly 100 vendors set up shop in the market. You can grab lunch from anywhere in the world, just inside this one market. And in the evenings, walk along the Delaware river and appreciate the beauty of the city.

12. Pittsburgh, PA

weekend getaways from dc - Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh is the second largest city in Pennsylvania and one of the most wonderful weekend getaways from DC for Washingtonians wanting to change up their scene. The performing arts scene is big in Pittsburgh, as is the list of museums and attractions to be found in the city. You can walk, bike, or drive around the city, depending on your preference. We recommend stopping by Carnegie Museum of Natural History and Mount Washington during your stay. In particular, Mount Washington provides a unique overlook of the Pittsburgh city skyline. Come during the day, or come in the evening to see the city lit up and sparkling. Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is another mesmerizing spot to check out. The conservatory and gardens showcase exquisite flowers, fluttering butterflies, and greenery galore.

13. Richmond, VA

weekend getaways from dc - Richmond

Richmond, Virginia is a lovely 2-hours from Washington D.C. and is a hipster spot that art and literature lovers will enjoy. While visiting for the weekend, mosey into the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts or the Virginia State Capitol. If museums and tours aren't your thing, poke your head into one of the eclectic coffee shops, cafes, and restaurants within the Richmond area. Those wanting an adrenaline rush are going to love Richmond's proximity to Kings Dominion . The amusement park is about 25 miles north of the city and has all of your favorite upside-down and backwards rollercoasters. The Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is another lovely spot that displays a symphony of colors and scents. Make sure you book a night in the city's newest hotel , too. Trust us, a stay in the Jefferson will be an experience all on its own.

14. Shenandoah National Park, VA

Shenandoah National Park

Ah, the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. As you say goodbye to Washington, D.C. for the weekend, say a joyful hello to the mountains. The drive along Skyline Drive alone will be enough to take your breath away. There are numerous scenic overlooks where you can pull the car over, park, and behold the beauty. Pack your tent and sleeping bag and plan your camping trip . Or go day hiking on one of the countless trails.

There are hiking trails within Shenandoah National Park for both the beginner and experienced hiker. For those who want a more physically strenuous hike, try out Old Rag. This popular 9-mile hike features rock scrambles for all those adventurous folks . If you are looking for a shorter, less physically intense hike, try Dark Hollow Falls Trail. This light, 1.4-mile hike has waterfalls that will rejuvenate you. From hiking and rock climbing to fishing and camping, we love the outdoor activities that Shenandoah National Park provides. We know you will too because this is certainly one of the most serene weekend getaways from DC one could take.

15. Snowshoe, WV

weekend getaways from dc - Snowshoe

In the winter, you will enjoy a weekend to Snowshoe Mountain Resort. Pack up your winter jackets , your hand warmers, your ski poles, and your thickest socks because you'll be heading up the chairlift in no time. Whether you are a pro skier or snowboarder or have never glided down the mountain before, you will be welcomed at Snowshoe. If you are a beginner you can rent skis or a snowboard and take a lesson. Or, go to Snowshoe Mountain Resort with a group of friends who can teach you along the way. Don't feel stable going down a snow-covered mountain on two metal slabs, or sideways as a snowboarder does? How about try going down the mountain on a tube? Snowshoe has a tubing park that is loads of fun. You'll fly down the mountain and love every minute of it. Snowshoe is certain to be your ideal winter weekend wonderland spot  if you're looking for some snowy weekend getaways from DC.

16. St. Michaels, MD

weekend getaways from dc - St. Michaels

The town of Saint Michaels is located along the Chesapeake Bay. The Victorian homes and beach-town feel of the place will be a refreshing treat on your weekend getaway. To learn the history of this small coastal town, visit the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum during your stay. St. Michaels provides outdoor activities, including golfing, bicycling, sailing, and kayaking or canoeing on the bay. At the pier, purchase fresh crabs (or crab cakes), mussels, and shrimp at one of the local restaurants.

This spot on the Eastern Shore of Maryland is a secluded area, making it one of the best weekend getaways from DC for some rest and relaxation. The sunsets are something you will not want to miss either. The shining orange and red colors look magnificent with sailboats in the horizon. When you visit St. Michaels, you may even recognize St. Michaels from the movie Wedding Crashers. Visit the Inn at Perry Cabin to see the exact venue where the scene was filmed.

17. Stone Harbor, NJ

weekend getaways from dc - Stone Harbor

Stone Harbor is a laid-back, small town on the shore of New Jersey, perfect for those looking for weekend getaways from DC that provide the slow pace they're missing. It is contrary to the place you think of when you think Jersey Shore. Stone Harbor is very family friendly and quiet, as opposed to other beaches that line New Jersey. The area has beautiful beaches to lounge at, and water sports to try. Jet skiing and fishing are two of the big ones at Stone Harbor. There is also great live music at many restaurants in Stone Harbor. If you prefer to dine on the water, then go on a romantic evening cruise on the bay.

Stone Harbor is also located just a few miles north of Wildwood. Wildwood has a major boardwalk with all the classic games, prizes, roller coasters, French fries, and ice cream spots. A night at Wildwood can be a fun change of pace for those wanting a more lively scene for the evening. Overall, this easy-going town of Stone Harbor will allow you some space to breathe away from D.C. city life. Breathe in the salt air and dip your toes into the water as you settle in at Stone Harbor for a few days. With white sand, blue skies, and much to do (or not do), what more could you ask?

18. Virginia Beach, VA

weekend getaways from dc - Virginia Beach

The Virginia Beach Boardwalk is the main place to be. The boardwalk stretches long and far, perfect for early morning runners or bicyclists who want a view of the ocean as they exercise. You can rent individual bikes or group bikes and take a ride down the 3-mile-long boardwalk at any time of the day. You can also rent rollerblades if you want to pick up some skates and cruise down the boardwalk's panels. Live musical performances are frequent on the boardwalk, especially in the summer. Virginia Beach offers all of the typical ocean activities of boating, kayaking, fishing, jet skiing, and stand up paddle boarding as well. You can go dolphin watching or on a leisurely cruise along the serene waters too. So if a beachcation is what you're after, this is one of the weekend getaways from DC you need take.

19. Washington, D.C. (Staycation)

weekend getaways from dc - Washington

While we can vouch for the fact that these weekend getaways from DC are wonderful, there is an abundance of things to do, see, eat, and experience from right in the Capital itself. Stop by each of the monuments, visit the Spy Museum , get a bite to eat in Georgetown, observe the diverse plants and flowers within the U.S. Botanic Garden . There is the White House , the National Gallery of Art , the Air and Space Museum , the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History , and so much more.

If you have already visited many of these sites and are in the mood to do something more unconventional, how about exploring the local and ethnic food scene? There is cuisine from all over the world, right in your backyard. During your weekend staycation, you can “travel the world” via cultural cuisine. Visiting the monuments is the classic tourist thing to do, but have you ever visited them at night? With fewer people, a cooler temperature, and the monuments all lit up, you will have an amazing experience taking in the views. Another idea is to go to Union Market and survey the artisan products and tasty foods. Or visit Eastern Market and pick up local, fresh produce and handcrafted art too. Both markets are fun places to meet fellow locals during your staycation in Washington, D.C.

20. Williamsburg, VA

weekend getaways from dc - Williamsburg

Williamsburg has a vast amount of history to tell you and show you. What better place to learn about the history of America, then from where it all began? There are history museums galore between Jamestown and Colonial Williamsburg. Come to Williamsburg for the weekend to learn about the history of colonial American in a hands-on setting. Or, if you are a fan of amusement parks , spend your whole day at Busch Gardens or Water Country USA .

As for shopping, the Williamsburg Premium Outlets have nearly every store you could want to shop in. Should you be into wine, the Williamsburg Winery is just 4 miles south of central Williamsburg and is a lovely place to spend your Saturday. History, entertainment, amusement parks, and shopping, Williamsburg has it all. It is especially perfect for those who love to go on family-oriented weekend getaways from DC, or who want to weave in history lessons between trips to Busch Gardens and other entertaining activities. The interactive nature of the area will be engaging and fascinating for kids to experience.

Roadtrip

We all need a change of scenery sometimes. Even if you live in an already eventful place like Washington D.C. Whether you are searching for beach time or a city different than D.C. to explore, this list of the 20 best weekend getaways from DC is sure to have something for you. Washington, D.C. is a wonderful location to live because of its proximity to a number of beaches, mountains, and cities. Be it down the road 8 miles to Old Town Alexandria, or up the road 4 hours to Stone Harbor, choose from one of these weekend getaways from DC for the perfect escape. These destinations are all within driving distance which makes for a happy wallet and a fun road trip with friends. Create a driving playlist will all your favorite jams and sing along as you make your way onto your next adventure this weekend.

Related:  6 Cheap Weekend Getaways You Need This Winter

About The Author

Riley Loftus

Riley Loftus

Riley is a creative who is fascinated by the details of life. She feels most at home in an airport and cares most deeply about culture, exploring the world, and global justice. Riley also believes in the power of storytelling and in a love that has no limits. Keep up with Riley on her Instagram page where she contemplates grace and writes her raw thoughts on life, faith, and the world around her.

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15 Wonderful Weekend Road Trips from DC

January 21, 2021

Do you live in DC and need a weekend getaway? Or, are you thinking about taking an East Coast road trip in the DC area? Well, these incredible destinations would be perfect for your itinerary! They are all within a 3-hour drive (without traffic) from downtown Washington, DC which makes them convenient weekend trips. With a variety of opportunities to get out in nature, taste culinary delights, delve into history, or just lounge on the beach - there's a little something for everyone! 

Quick Note:  Because I grew up in this region, many of these road trips were ones that I took as a child or are places I've previously lived. Some of these destinations, I haven't visited in years. As a result, some of the images are not my own but I've credited the photographers and linked to their Flickr accounts. 

This post contains affiliate links which means I receive a small commission if you purchase something using the links. This won’t cost you anything extra but helps keep this blog going. Thank you for your support!

Weekend Road Trips from DC in Maryland

To begin the list of weekend road trips from DC, we'll head to Maryland - the state just north of Washington, DC. These Maryland getaways include both urban fun and remote natural beauty with some adorable wildlife thrown in.

1) Annapolis

Distance from DC:  32 miles

Approx. Driving Time (no traffic):  45 min

Annapolis - Maryland's charming capital city along the Chesapeake Bay - provides an excellent weekend getaway, or even a day trip, from Washington, DC. With loads of historical charm, cute shops, great seafood, and a variety of watersports, you'll find plenty of activities to keep you occupied. 

History enthusiasts will enjoy strolling through the quaint streets and admiring the historic houses. To learn more about Annapolis' history and its landmarks, sign up for a guided walking tour or try this self-guided walking tour . During your visit, you may also appreciate a tour of the U.S. Naval Academy , established in Annapolis in 1845.

Weekend getaway from DC to Annapolis - Maryland state house building

Maryland State House in Annapolis

If you prefer to spend your day on the water, consider  renting a canoe or a kayak and paddling down the Severn River. Or perhaps charter a yacht to explore the Chesapeake Bay! 

2) Baltimore

Distance from DC:  39 miles

Approx. Driving Time (no traffic):  53 minutes

Another great waterfront city, Baltimore, Maryland is rich in history and perfect for a weekend trip. Many visitors explore its downtown Inner Harbor area, including the National Aquarium . Or tour  Fort McHenry , whose defense of Baltimore in 1812 inspired Francis Scott Key to write a poem which later became the U.S. national anthem. 

Though these sites deserve recognition, other neighborhoods deserve attention as well and, in my opinion, provide a more authentic Baltimore experience. Take the water taxi to Fell's Point, one of Baltimore's oldest neighborhoods, and wander the streets and admire the historic houses and boutique shops. 

Weekend Getaway to Baltimore - Fell's Point

Fell's Point neighborhood in Baltimore

Or, feast on delicious food in Little Italy then jump in a taxi to Hampden. There you'll find some great local breweries such as Union Craft Brewery  or  Nepenthe Brewing Company , where you can enjoy a pint of craft beer.

3) Assateague Island

Distance from DC:  147 miles

Approx. Driving Time (no traffic): 2 hr 45 min

Assateague Island is a 37-mile barrier island in the Atlantic Ocean split between Maryland and Virginia which is known for its herds of wild horses. The Maryland portion contains Assateague National Seashore and Assateague State Park . The Virginia portion contains Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge . 

Wild Horses on Assateague Island Flickr

Photo courtesy of UrbanPromise on Flickr

Although the island is best known (at least by me) for wild horses, it's also an excellent place for camping, beach hiking, fishing, and swimming. Since campsites are only ~US $30 per night, a weekend trip to Assateague Island can be a cheap getaway from DC.  

Weekend Road Trips from DC in Virginia

Since Assateague Island is split between Maryland and Virginia, it's a nice transition into DC weekend getaways in Virginia - the U.S. state directly to the south of Washington, DC.

4) Northern Virginia Wine Country

Distance from DC (to closest winery): ~30 miles

Approx. Driving Time (no traffic):  40 minutes

One of the great things about living in DC is the close proximity to many  amazing vineyards in Northern Virginia . On the weekends, it's easy to drive out to the wineries for wine tastings or a picnic lunch with a group of friends.

Weekend getaway in Northern Virginia Wine Country

But what's even better than a day trip?  Booking an Airbnb or vacation rental right in the heart of wine country and staying for the weekend!

Since many of the vineyards close at 5pm or 6pm, staying for the weekend allows you to enjoy the evening in the countryside. And, perhaps admire a gorgeous sunset with your wine as well? 

5) Lake Anna

Distance from DC: 85 miles

Approx. Driving Time (no traffic): 1 hr 35 min

Lake Anna is a large freshwater lake in central Virginia with over 200 miles of shoreline. It's the perfect spot to rent a cabin or go camping for the weekend. 

Staying on the lake, you can pass the day fishing, kayaking, and swimming. And at  Lake Anna State Park on the northwest shore, you can explore the ~15 miles of trails or go horseback riding.

Lake Anna in Virginia

Image courtesy of Virginia State Parks on Flickr  

Where to Stay at Lake Anna

Although you could camp or stay in a cabin at Lake Anna State Park , you can find some incredible properties around the lake on Airbnb. Spacious homes with lake access, like the one below, seem like an excellent spot for an extended family vacation or a trip with a group of friends. 

Kassa Blanca - Perfect Lake Anna Waterfront Home with Hot Tub

Spacious, modern home with large decks, boat dock, hot tub on Lake Anna.

Location:  Mineral, VA Avg. Price per Night :  $499 Guests: 11 guests Beds/Baths: 5 bedrooms · 10 beds · 3 baths

Pet-friendly:  No Special Features:  Lakefront property with boat dock and lounge area, multiple decks, open-concept kitchen, washer/dryer, kayaks/canoes, fire pit, hot tub, grill, outdoor shower. 

This incredible home on Lake Anna is a wonderful place to get away from DC for the weekend. With plenty of bedrooms, it's a great place to have a family reunion or to hang out with a group of friends. But the outside is where this house shines. The spacious dock and boathouse provide a great place to hang out on a warm day. During the winter, stay cozy and enjoy lake views from the hot tub! 

Kassa Blanca Lake Anna waterfront home

Photo courtesy of VRBO

Kassa Blanca Lake Anna House hot tub

*Note: During peak season, this home rents from Saturday to Saturday.

Perfect stay for: Multiple Families or Friend trip

6) Shenandoah National Park

Distance from DC:  88 miles

Approx. Driving Time (no traffic): 1 hr 45 min

The Shenandoah National Park in Virginia's beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains is a nature-lover's paradise. Rolling green hills with tons of hikes to lovely viewpoints and stunning waterfalls on densely-forested trails - it's a great way to rejuvenate a nature-lover's soul.

From Washington, DC, the quickest way to get to the park is to drive west to Front Royal, Virginia. There, you'll start your journey on Skyline Drive - the main road through the Shenandoah National Park. It's a scenic, yet very curvy road, that winds up into the park. (Makes me so carsick!) Along the drive, you'll see various trailheads at which you can park to take a hike.  

Weekend Road Trip from DC - Shenandoah National Park

Trying to decide which hike to do in the Shenandoah National Park? Check out these helpful articles for ideas:

  • Stony Man Trail Hikes to Beautiful Shenandoah Views by Fun in Fairfax VA
  • The 10 Best Shenandoah National Park Hikes by The Globetrotting Teacher

7) Richmond

Distance from DC:  111 miles

The capital of Virginia and one of the oldest cities in the United States, Richmond has a bountiful history. But it also has a cool vibe plus lots of fun outdoor activities which make it an awesome weekend getaway. 

Explore historic Richmond on foot by following the Liberty Trail which takes you past many of the historic sites. Be sure to check the websites of these landmarks for opening times if you wish to visit the interiors.

Sunset over Richmond, Virginia

Image courtesy of Mobilus In Mobili on Flickr

If you're a street art fan like me, you'll love wandering various neighborhoods in search of the 100+ murals scatted around Richmond. This  Richmond Region Mural Map is a handy tool to help you start your search. 

Perhaps you'd like to boost your Richmond adventure? Try renting a kayak or joining a rafting trip on the James River. Afterwards, celebrate that exhilarating experience with a craft beer from one of the 40 breweries on the Richmond Beer Trail .

8) Charlottesville

Distance from DC:  118 miles

Approx. Driving Time (no traffic):  2 hr 21 min

Home to the University of Virginia, Charlottesville is a charming, walkable town with cute shops and delicious restaurants. Plus, it serves as a perfect jumping off point to local Virginia wineries as well as the southern entrance of the Shenandoah National Park. 

During your CVille getaway, book a tour of Monticello - the stately, historic mansion of former president Thomas Jefferson. Buy your tickets in advance online to make sure you get the tour you want. 

Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia

Explore the nearby vineyards and enjoy the rolling green hills of central Virginia while enjoying a glass of wine. End your day in Charlottesville with a hearty meal and/or a beer from a local brewery. 

Wondering where to eat in Charlottesville? Check out these recommendations from a local on Kath Eats  - Best Restaurants for Dinner in Charlottesville .

9) Williamsburg

Distance from DC:  166 miles

Approx. Driving Time (no traffic): 3 hours

Get ready to step back in time on a visit to Williamsburg, Virginia. The world's largest living history museum - Colonial Williamsburg - is full of historic sites, two museums, plus participatory experiences for the whole family. 

Colonial Williamsburg scene Flickr

Colonial Williamsburg - Image courtesy of CW on Flickr

After soaking in some history, head over to Busch Gardens amusement park for some exciting rides. Here, you can also "travel" through Europe without ever leaving Virginia! As a kid, visiting Busch Gardens' sparked my wanderlust to see more of the world for myself. During the summer, you may also wish to to cool off at Water Country USA - Virginia's largest water park.

Weekend Road Trips from DC in West Virginia

Next, we'll head to West Virginia. Because most of the state is in the heavily-forested Appalachian Mountains, West Virginia has incredible natural beauty to explore on a weekend road trip from DC.

10) Harpers Ferry

Distance from DC:  63 miles

Approx. Driving Time (no traffic): 1 hr   15 min

Harpers Ferry, West Virginia is a quaint, historic community located at the juncture of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers where the states West Virginia, Virginia, and Maryland meet.

Historically, Harpers Ferry is known for abolitionist John Brown's raid in 1859. Although the raid failed, it's seen as one of the impetuses for the U.S. Civil War. 

Today, this town is part of the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park . Nestled in the green hills, it's a picturesque spot with historic charm. Plus, it's surrounded by hiking trails and river adventures. 

St. Peter's Catholic Church Harpers Ferry Flickr

St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church in Harpers Ferry, Image courtesy of Steve Byrne on Flickr

During the summer, I highly recommend organizing a river tubing trip for a group of friends. Several years ago, we booked the Potomac Whitewater Tubing experience with Harpers Ferry Adventure Center. Floating down the river with great friends plus a separate tube for the cooler - it's a lot of fun! The small rapids add a bit of excitement along the way as you try not to get separated.

Do you enjoy visiting small towns in the U.S.? Then you'd love  Traverse City, Michigan !

11) Blackwater Falls State Park

Distance from DC: 170 miles

Approx. Driving Time (no traffic):  3 hours

Blackwater Falls State Park , located in the Alleghany Mountains of West Virginia, is a rugged, yet tranquil place to spend a couple days in nature. Without a doubt, the highlight of the park is the magnificent Blackwater Falls, a 57-ft powerful, tannic-tinted cascade. However, the park offers other amazing activities as well.

Blackwater Falls Flickr

Image courtesy of Nicolas Raymond on Flickr

Twenty miles of gorgeous hiking trails lead visitors to beautiful waterfalls and scenic overlooks - some of which are accessible for bikes as well. Adventure seekers should head to nearby Cheat River to experience a thrilling  whitewater rafting experience!

In winter, Blackwater Falls State Park offers winter activities such as an epic sledding experience complete with a people-mover to take you to the top of the hill. Plus, plenty of cross-country skiing trails in snow-covered forests. 

Weekend Road Trips from DC in Pennsylvania

Finally, we'll wrap up this list of getaways in southern Pennsylvania - the U.S. state north of Maryland. Here, both history fans and thrill seekers will appreciate the places you can visit on a weekend road trip to PA. 

12) Gettysburg

Distance from DC:  82 miles

Approx. Driving Time (no traffic): 1 hr 30 min

This Pennsylvania weekend getaway is for history enthusiasts! Gettysburg is a small town in southern PA whose name you probably recognize from the Battle of Gettysburg. This famous, bloody battle was a turning point of the U.S. Civil War which took place over three days in July 1863. 

Today, it's home to the Gettysburg National Military Park where visitors can learn more about the battle and tour the battlefield. When you arrive, visit the park's museum and visitor center to pick up a map and watch the Diorama show which explains the battle. The sites are spread out so you may wish to drive to some of them. However, outdoor lovers will enjoy hiking the picturesque battlefield trails . 

Gettysburg sunset on Flickr

Image courtesy of kjarrett on Flickr

Not sure if Gettysburg is for you? Check out this virtual tour of the Gettysburg battlefield .

13) Lancaster County

Distance from DC:  110 miles

Approx. Driving Time (no traffic): 2 hr 15 min

Known for its sprawling farmland and Amish community, Lancaster County, PA (also known as Pennsylvania Dutch Country) is a unique weekend getaway from DC. And, it's where I lived for 13 years growing up!

Weekend Getaway to Lancaster County

Old one-room schoolhouse in Lancaster County. Fun fact - Jeremy's grandfather attended school here at one point!

Don't know much, or anything, about the Amish community? Then start your Lancaster County trip with an Amish Farm and House experience to learn a bit about their traditions and customs. As you drive around the country roads, you'll undoubtedly encounter horse-drawn Amish buggies, picturesque covered bridges , and LOTS of farmland.   

Lancaster City

Personally, I can only spend so much time in the farmland. However, in the past decade or so, Lancaster City has undergone a major revitalization. From cute cafés to quirky art galleries, urban parks to colorful murals , Lancaster has a lot to offer urban enthusiasts as well.  

Mural in Lancaster City, Pennsylvania

One of the highlights of a visit to Lancaster is the Lancaster Central Market . Opened in 1730, it's the oldest, continuously running public farmers' market in the United States. Open only on certain days, it's a fun place to pick up some treats, fresh flowers, deli meats, etc. 

Plan your Trip to Lancaster County

  • 14 Unique Places to Stay in Lancaster, PA
  • 15 Amazing Things to Do in Lancaster County, PA
  • Beautiful Drive to Historic Covered Bridges in Lancaster County, PA

14) Hershey

Distance from DC:  131 miles

Approx. Driving Time (no traffic):  2 hr 19 min

Home of delicious Hershey's chocolate and Hersheypark - an awesome amusement park - Hershey, PA is a great weekend getaway for families.

As a kid, I grew up visiting Hersheypark every summer. Since then, the park has expanded a lot! It has a variety of rides for all ages, but a huge draw is their thrilling roller coasters designed to give you an adrenaline rush. And on hot summer days, save time for The Boardwalk - a water park included in the price of admission.

Hersheypark roller coaster Flickr

Image courtesy of PaulBonifield on Flickr

If you don't want to spend the entire weekend at Hersheypark, check out Hershey Gardens , a 23-acre garden overlooking the town with an indoor butterfly atrium. Or, spend time at the Hershey spa, play a round of golf, or grab a pint of delicious craft beer at Tröegs Brewery . There's enough fun for the whole family in Hershey!

15) Philadelphia

Distance from DC:  139 miles

Approx. Driving Time (no traffic): 2 hr 25 min

On an East Coast road trip, you can't miss Philadelphia - the birthplace of the United States. The "City of Brotherly Love" is also a great spot for street art, museums, waterfront parks, and delicious food.

Start your visit at Independence Hall - the place where the founders signed the Declaration of Independence and laid the framework for the U.S. Constitution. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is part of the Independence National Historical Park and is a good way to kick off your first Philly trip. 

Weekend getaway to Philadelphia - Independence Hall

Independence Hall

Other fun activities include strolling along Penn's Landing and the Delaware River waterfront, consuming an artery-clogging, but oh-so-delicious Philly cheesesteak, searching for street art , and posing with the Rocky statue on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art . 

Final Thoughts

Hopefully this list of wonderful weekend road trips from DC gives you an idea of what you can explore in the region. Whether you're looking for a nearby weekend getaway or are planning your itinerary for an East Coast road trip, these spots are ones for the travel bucket list! 

Are you local to DC? Let me know what weekend road trips from DC you've enjoyed in the comments below.

Other Articles You Might Enjoy

When you're planning your weekend getaway or East Coast road trip, you might also find these articles helpful:

  • 15 Spectacular Wineries to Visit in Northern Virginia
  • 21 Amazing Airbnb & Vacation Rentals in Northern Virginia’s Wine Country
  • 12 Fun Things to Do in Harrisburg, PA
  • Touring the Beautiful Pennsylvania State Capitol Building

Happy travels!

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15 Wonderful Weekend Road Trips from Washington, DC

Nice weekend road trip from DC.

Wow, these weekend road trip ideas are exactly what I needed! Living near DC, it’s easy to forget about all the amazing places just a short drive away. Thanks for the inspiration, can’t wait to hit the road and explore!

I’m so glad you found these DC road trip suggestions helpful! I loved living in DC and having these places close by and hope you enjoy your travels. 🙂

[…] Source: https://www.beckyexploring.com/weekend-road-trips-from-dc/ […]

Great post. I didn’t remember you hail form there. Apart from NYC I only visited the Northeast of the U.S. once. Broadly speaking I think I’ve done four of the trips you recommend and I like all of them. Philly gets a lot of bad rep but I think it was probably my favourite.

Thanks, Stefan! I agree about Philadelphia and it seems like it isn’t as widely visited as NY or DC. Yet it’s an important city in US history and these days it has a really cool vibe and delicious places to eat. So glad you enjoyed it!

I had no idea there were so many things to do from gorgeous sunsets, rollercoaster thrills to chilled out tours round wineries. Thanks for sharing.

Washington, DC is near so many great places, though having (or renting) a car for a road trip definitely helps you see more!

My sister went to school at Shenandoah so I know the area very well! I’d love to visit Assateague Island. I’ve never heard of it and it looks like such a delight. And those wild horses 😍

You must have had fun exploring this region with your sister, Lannie! Glad to put a new place on your list. The wild horses on Assateague Island are definitely a draw.

We had the privilege of visiting DC and this area for the first time a couple of years ago. Absolutely loved it, but reading this, I realise there is so much more to explore. We visited Assateague and saw the wild ponies; toured the Virginia wine country and visited Monticello; and spent some time in Shenandoah, among other things. Feel quite nostalgic reading this and cannot wait until we can return to explore more of these great places. Would love to see Philadelphia and visit Gettysburg especially.

Sounds like you’ve done quite a few road trips in the DC area, Jane. Now you need a Pennsylvania getaway for your next trip! 😉

Wow there are so many fantastic places near DC. We never knew. This may well have swayed us to visit Washington. We’ve always fancied Baltimore but Lake Anna look fantastic too. As well as the vineyards obviously! 😆

I’m biased but I definitely recommend a visit to Washington, DC! 😉 It’s a great jumping off point to that region of the U.S., as well as a beautiful city. And it’s even easy to travel between DC and Baltimore via public transportation.

As a DC native, your list is spot on! Have been to all places you recommend here & would happily go back to each. 💕 Annapolis, Williamsburg & Assateague! Also would consider Bethany Or OC Beaches (more like 3 hr drive) as well as Massanutten in Southern VA, especially in winter. Great ideas here & you have given a lot of wonderful experiences for each season- Bravo!

Thanks for checking out the list, Cindi! Bethany, Ocean City, and Massanutten are wonderful ideas for DC road trips as well. It’s great how many beautiful places are only a short(ish) drive away from the city.

When I first started reading this I didn’t think I would be able to tick any off the list. Ha! We have been to 8.

8 out of 15 is pretty good! Now I’m curious to know which ones you have left to visit on your next trip to DC.

Oh, I remember the Stony Man Trail well from my days in DC! Thank you for the walk down memory lane!

Glad you enjoyed the post, Jen. The Shenandoah National Park is such a gem to have nearby when living in DC. I only wish I’d taken more photos in those days!

You’ve listed some great road trips here Becky! I don’t know DC well at all, so I found this post so helpful. I’d like to see the national park, and the northern Virginia wine country!

Thanks, Lisa! I’m glad you found this to be a good intro to the DC area. Hopefully one day you’ll make it over to explore the parks and Virginia wine country!

It’s been many many years since I’ve been in the DC area, but I had forgotten how so much history is within an easy drive. This is a great and well-organized summary!

Thanks, Steven! I appreciate that. It’s certainly a perk to be surrounded by so much early-American history in the DC area.

Oh wow there really is quite a lot to see nearby. I would be wowed by the wild and intrigued by the history at Williamsburg and Gettysburg. Not to mention love the hiking at Shenandoah and the Blackwater Falls. Great post Becky.

Thanks, John! It’s true that there’s a lot you can see on a visit to the DC area or on an East Coast road trip. Lots of history and nature in this region of the US.

I love the East Coast as you can take so many beautiful and historic day trips – and love all these just a quick road trip away from DC!

I agree! Growing up on the East Coast, I may not have always appreciated that as much as I do looking back on all the road trips we took.

Nice! We’re still yet to get further than DC, so this is a little inspiration for when it gets warmer!

Glad to help out with some ideas for an East Coast road trip this summer! 🙂

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9 Exciting Weekend Getaways Near DC for Families

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A mom and her young son enjoy a ride on a carousel in Philadelphia, one of the best weekend getaways near DC for families.

Ready to embark on one of these weekend getaways near DC for families ? While Washington, DC, provides a wide variety of family-friendly activities , sometimes a weekend getaway is just what a family needs to mix up their travels. Whether you’re in the mood to immerse yourself in nature, learn about American history, or simply relax on the beach, DC puts you close to it all. Visit major cities like Philadelphia for a jam-packed, super-fun vacation. Or, take it down a notch at more low-key destinations such as Harper’s Ferry . Which of these amazing weekend getaways near DC for families you select will ultimately depend on your family and what type of vacation you’re expecting. Just in case you need some advice, I’ve put together a list. Here, we explore nine perfect weekend getaway ideas near DC (in the greater mid-Atlantic region), which promise to deliver an unforgettable family trip!

Richmond, VA

Another capital city with history and culture.

A dad and his two kids stand outside a Barbeque joint in Richmond, Virgina, one of the best weekend getaways near DC for families.

Richmond, Virginia , has so much to offer as one of the best weekend getaways near DC for families . As a state capital, the State Capitol Building is an obvious attraction. For museum-goers, try local family favorites like the Children’s Museum of Richmond , Edgar Allen Poe Museum , Science Museum of Virginia , the Black History Museum , and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts . To explore outside, consider the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens , a riverfront canal cruise , or Belle Isle within the James River Park . In between activities, there are countless family-friendly ways to fuel up. Richmond has some of the best barbecue around at places like ZZQ , Buz and Ned’s , and Q Barbeque . And the local brewery scene can satisfy both kids and adults. There are so many centralized in the Scott’s Addition neighborhood. Ardent Craft Ales , for example, has both beer and juice boxes, gourmet hoagies, and ice cream sandwiches.

Note : Tours for the State Capitol Building are expected to resume in 2023 after numerous construction projects are completed.

Where to Stay in Richmond with Kids

Look for family-friendly amenities at Richmond-area hotels during your family weekend getaways in VA . The Omni Richmond Hotel , for example, has an Omni Kids Crew amenity package and a pool. The Residence Inn Downtown (or the West End location) offers more space to stretch out and make yourself at home with kitchens and bedrooms. The Jefferson Hotel offers a potential home base for history buffs and those looking for a five-star experience. Hotels are not located directly within some of the more popular neighborhoods for shopping and dining. This includes the Fan District, Carytown, Scott’s Addition, and The Museum District – so look into rental sites for lodging options there. Regardless of where you choose to stay this weekend getaway from DC is sure to please!

READ RELATED: The Best Hikes Near DC For Families

Surrounded by Nature and Small-Town Appeal

Two kids stand on either side of a state park sign reading "Lion's Tale Trail".

Luray, Virginia , may only be about two hours from Washington, D.C., but your family getaway will feel worlds away. Nature is the main appeal, with activities on land and in the water. One of the most popular is cruising Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park ; Luray is located adjacent to the Thornton Gap Entrance. There are also plenty of trails for all levels. Similarly, George Washington National Forest offers hiking, without the park entrance fee. The shorter, paved Storybook and Lion’s Tale Trails are especially good for families with young children. The area also boasts Luray Caverns , where it’s rain-free and feels 65 degrees year-round. For some canoeing, kayaking, tubing, or rafting, check out Shenandoah River Outfitters . The main downtown of Luray has a few cute shops, restaurants, and even a brewery . Stop by Gathering Grounds for amazing food for breakfast and lunch or just a baked treat!

Where To Stay In Luray With Kids

Luray sits within Page County, the Cabin Capital of Virginia . Look for rentals with games, a hot tub, a swing set, and other family-friendly amenities. For those seeking a resort on this weekend getaway from DC , check out Massanutten Resort by Tripforth which offers homes, villas, and hotel rooms with additional amenities like skiing, swimming, or golf, depending on the season. And be sure to learn more about Yogi Bear’s Jell y stone Park , which gives families access to cabins and campsites, amenities like a water park. Enjoy activities from basketball to bingo during one of the best weekend getaways near DC for families !

Williamsburg, VA

Steeped in our nation’s history with modern gems, too.

A dad holds his infant son, who leans over to pet a horse while they explore Williamsburg, Virgina, one of the best weekend getaways near DC for families.

Come learn about the United States’ earliest history with a visit to Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown . Escape to colonial times in the historic area of Williamsburg , with numerous activities daily . Enjoy visiting the Governor’s Palace or meeting the town carpenter! While anyone can visit the area, tickets are required to participate in activities and enter buildings. Don’t forget to stop by one of several taverns for a meal inspired by 18 th -century recipes. Kids 15 and under get free admission to nearby Historic Jamestown , which has daily tours and family-friendly programming to teach the trades and skills needed in colonial times. Weather not cooperating? In neighboring Newport News , check out the Virginia Living Museum , which showcases the state’s natural heritage. For those seeking a faster pace, Busch Gardens and Water Country USA offer theme park thrills for all ages – including seasonal activities for the fall and holidays.

Reserve From DC: Overnight Tour to Historic Williamsburg, Virginia at GetYourGuide.com!

Where to Stay in Williamsburg with Kids

In looking where to stay in Williamsburg with kids , Great Wolf Lodge is a destination within itself – with an indoor (and weather-permitting outdoor) waterpark, arcade, spa, and much more on the premises. For a stay on the James River, look at the Kingsmill Resort , which offers cottages and traditional rooms, alongside kid- and parent-approved activities like indoor and outdoor pools, boating, golf, a game room, and a spa. In addition to numerous chain hotels within central Williamsburg, there are a number of Colonial Williamsburg Resorts properties, including the family-friendly Woodland Suites and Hotel . No matter what accommodations you choose, Williamsburg will prove to be one of the best weekend getaways from DC for your family!

Harper’s Ferry, WV

Get outdoors and on the river.

Left Image: A boy walks down a boardwalk with fences on both sides. Right Imgage: A view of a rocky mountain side with train tracks leading the way.

One of the best weekend trips from DC with kids is to Harper’s Ferry , West Virginia . The outdoors should feature prominently in any family trip here, as it sits within a National Historical Park . Companies like River Riders , Harpers Ferry Adventure Center , and River & Trail Outfitters offer so much for weekenders of all ages. While river rafting and whitewater rafting are a highlight, there’s also zip-lining, canoeing, kayaking, biking, and hiking. For those who prefer to explore without a guide, check out the views along Jefferson Rock . Or, the more ambitious Maryland Heights Trail . Catch up on Civil War history at more than a half dozen historical sites . And train buffs should not miss the Harpers Ferry Toy Train Museum of Joy Line Railroad . The downtown is a cute area to walk around. Finally, be sure to grab a treat at True Treats Historic Candy !

Book From DC: Private Civil War Battlefield Day Trip to 3 States through GetYourGuide.com here!

Where to Stay in Harper’s Ferry with Kids

If you need a place for a night or more during your kid-friendly weekend trip from DC , the Harpers Ferry/Civil War Battlefields KOA is a notable destination with a pool, mini-golf, craft room, jumping pillow, arcade, movie theater, and more among cabins, tent sites, and RV sites. For families who love camping, Treehouse Camp offers year-round cottages, three-season tree houses, and tent sites that can accommodate one to four tents. Families with older children (ages 12 and up) can stay at the Light Horse Inn , a historic home. Located at the center of town, the Light House Inn includes breakfast and board games during downtime. And there are several traditional hotels for your weekend getaway near DC near the center of Harper’s Ferry , as well, including the Clarion Inn and Quality Inn .

Baltimore, MD

A neighboring city with tons of charm.

A young boy poses with a statue of a mascot duck in Baltimore, one of the best weekend getaways near DC for families.

Less than an hour away, Baltimore, Maryland , is a great option for a family weekend getaway from DC . A central gathering spot is the Inner Harbor , which has restaurants, like Miss Shirley’s Café , and shopping. For museum buffs, check out Port Discovery Children’s Museum or the Maryland Science Center . The National Aquarium is also a must-see attraction. For water-related activities, boat lovers can get a glimpse into life at sea at Historic Ships , tap into their inner pirate with Urban Pirates , or take the water taxi . Sports lovers will enjoy Camden Yards , home of the Baltimore Orioles, and the Baltimore Ravens’ M&T Bank Stadium . Tours are offered in addition to the games. The B&O Railroad Museum showcases train history and indoor and outdoor fun for train lovers. For some of the best food around, Little Italy is a central spot for restaurants and dessert, including Vaccaro’s Italian Pastry Shop .

Where to Stay in Baltimore with Kids

When considering lodging, Baltimore offers something for everyone on a weekend getaway from DC , especially as one of the best destinations for weekend getaways near DC for families . For example, the Four Seasons Baltimore is one of the best-value choices among the luxury chain’s properties, with an outdoor pool and spa overlooking the harbor. Comfort Inn and Suites Baltimore Inner Harbor is an all-suite hotel for families wanting more space. Then, SpringHill Suites Baltimore Downtown/Inner Harbor has a few suites as well, and a look inside an old bank vault that showcases some of the building’s history. Finally, the Hampton Inn & Suites Baltimore Inner Harbor also offers families an indoor pool.

Ocean City, MD

Beach, boardwalk, and so much more.

A view of the boardwalk arch for Ocean City on a bright, sunny day.

Families are spoiled for choice on weekend trips from DC in Ocean City, Maryland . Water activities play prominently at this popular summer destination, with miles and miles of beach and bayfront to enjoy. Play in the sand, body surf the waves, or cruise in a rental from Bayside Boat Rentals . The boardwalk offers plenty of action on dry land, including rides, arcades, mini-golf, and shopping; entertainment centers with similar activities, like Jolly Roger Amusement Park , spread north from there. Then, don’t miss out on plenty of iconic treats! Visit Thrasher’s French Fries , Fisher’s Popcorn , Dumser’s Dairyland , Dough Roller for pancakes and pizza, and Fractured Prune for doughnuts. To connect with nature, take a short drive to Assateague Island . Remember to check out the wild horses that live there!

Where to Stay in Ocean City with Kids

There are so many places to stay in Ocean City , you’re sure to have one of the best weekend getaways near DC for families ! Here, make the most of your time with a hotel loaded with kid-friendly amenities. The Princess Royal Oceanfront Resort sits on the beach and boasts an indoor, Olympic-sized pool. The Holiday Inn and Suites Ocean City offers children’s pools inside and along the beach, as well as a water slide. Then, Dunes Manor provides suites for more space, as well as an indoor pool. The Carousel Hotel and Condos even has an ice rink. Finally, for an option on the bayside of town, families can enjoy two- and three-bedroom units with water views at Bay Club Resort during their weekend getaway near Washington, DC . Note that some properties require a minimum stay, especially during the peak summer season. 

The Best Oceanfront Hotels in Ocean City, MD from $129

Philadelphia, PA

History and adventure just hours away.

Father and child look at mosaic tiles in the Magic Gardens of Philadelphia

Like most major cities, it’s difficult to fit everything into one visit to Philadelphia . Some of the most iconic landmarks are in the city’s old part, anchored by Independence Hall , the Liberty Bell , and Betsy Ross House . Nearby, other unique sites are sure to please families – Shane Confectionery , America’s oldest candy store, and Fireman’s Hall Museum . For food lovers, enjoy family-friendly markets and food halls, including Reading Terminal Market and the Italian Market in Little Italy. Plus, those who love a good cheesesteak can sample the options to decide their favorite. The Art Museum District houses some interesting destinations, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art , the Franklin Institute , and Eastern State Penitentiary . Then, Franklin Square boasts a carousel, mini-golf, and burger joint adjacent to a 100-year-old fountain. Further afield, families will enjoy time at the Philadelphia Zoo , Longwood Gardens , or one of the most kid-friendly museums, the Please Touch Museum .

RELATED : Taking a weekend getaway near Washington, DC during the winter months? Check out these 14 Things To Do In Philadelphia With Kids During Winter.

Where to Stay in Philadelphia with Kids

On your weekend getaways from DC, Rittenhouse Square offers a central home base for any family. The Sonesta Philadelphia boasts the largest heated outdoor pool in the city, and bonus rooftop views, though the Four Seasons Philadelphia has the highest pool – on the 57 th floor. For families wanting to settle themselves in the Old City, Wyndham Philadelphia Historic District is steps from the main attractions. For an option a bit further from downtown, consider the Chestnut Hill Hotel , which is nestled in a great neighborhood for shopping and dining, offering free breakfast and marshmallows for the on-site fire pit!

Philadelphia Hotels from $85 – Hotel Deals | Travelocity

Lancaster County, PA

Going back in time.

Two boys look out the back of an Amish buggie while visiting Lancaster, PA.

Families can enjoy modern-day and old-time adventures during a weekend escape to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania . Home to the Amish, a community steeped in tradition that shies away from modern technologies. Experience their lifestyle at places like the Amish Farm and House and the Amish Village , which offer glimpses into Amish day-to-day life. Take a bus tour to real Amish communities with kid-friendly activities like petting zoos, playgrounds, and country cooking. Then, train lovers will enjoy a ride on a traditional steam train with Strasburg Railroad – America’s oldest operating railroad! For modern-day fun, Dutch Wonderland offers amusement park rides, shows, and a water park during warmer weather. If you have a sweet tooth, Turkey Hill Experience is a must-visit destination. Visitors can sample ice teas and ice creams. Plus, create a signature ice cream flavor, packaging, and commercial. The Taste Lab also enables your family to bring creamy creations to life.

Where to Stay in Lancaster County with Kids

There are so many unique places to stay during your exciting weekend getaways from DC , all of which are perfect for a family vacation! Visitors can immerse themselves in some of their favorite cartoon characters with a stay at Cartoon Network Hotel . It is adjacent to Dutch Wonderland, and can keep families busy on-site with pools, an arcade, a play area, and a seasonal outdoor movie screen. For boat lovers, book a passage with the Steamboat Inn and enjoy a family-friendly room with bunk or trundle beds. And for a unique experience for those who can’t get enough of trains, stay in a real train car at the Red Caboose Motel . There are plenty of traditional hotels as well! 

Hershey, PA

A sweet, action-packed destination.

A dad stands behind his son, sitting in a stroller, between two mascots at Hershey Park.

Chocoholics and thrill-seekers can look forward to a family-friendly getaway to Hershey, Pennsylvania . Not only is it one of the best places for a weekend away from DC , but it also offers a fun family vacation for all ages. The main destination is Hersheypark ®, which has three attractions within the grounds – a theme park (including a water park in the warmer months), a zoo, and an illustrative chocolate factory and store, Hershey’s Chocolate World. Tickets to the park allow access to the zoo and theme park. Plus, anyone can visit Chocolate World for free, besides parking. If you’re not sure you can fit it in during the day, tickets allow you to access the park the evening before. For a break, check out a Hershey Bears hockey game, learn about Milton Hershey at The Hershey Story Museum or walk among the flowers, greenery, and butterfly sanctuary at Hershey Gardens .

Where to Stay in Hershey with Kids

If you’re looking for accommodations during your weekend getaways near DC for families, you’ll have plenty of choices in Hershey. There are three official Hersheypark resorts – the Hotel Hershey, Hershey Lodge, and Hersheypark Camping Resort. Each offers benefits, such as reduced-price tickets, free parking, and extended hours. However, there is no shortage of family-friendly hotels in the Hershey-Harrisburg area. For example, Homewood Suites Harrisburg East-Hershey and Residence Inn Harrisburg-Hershey have suites to spread out and kitchen amenities. Finally, County Inn & Suites Harrisburg and Hilton Garden Inn Hershey both have indoor pools, ideal for a family-friendly weekend away near DC !

Happy Travels!  

A mom and three young boys sit inside a tea-cup while enjoying the rides at Hershey Park.

We hope this list featuring 9 Exciting Weekend Getaways Near DC for Families helped fill up your calendar with family-fun weekend trips from the Washington, DC area ! Whether cityscape or countryside, there are plenty of weekend getaway ideas near DC to keep families busy year-round within minutes or hours of our nation’s capital! Enjoy these weekend getaways from DC with your kids! 

This article was written by FLT Top Contributor, Megan Tucker. Find more from Megan and her family adventures on their blog, Three Men and a Lady . Unless otherwise noted, all images in this article are courtesy of Megan Tucker.

*Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the attractions, accommodations, or things to do on this list may be closed or experiencing reduced services. Please ensure availability before making your decision. 

* This post may contain affiliate links that may earn us a small commission, at no additional cost to you. Affiliate links in no way inform the hotels, sights, products, or other recommendations included in our articles. All opinions and recommendations expressed here are compiled from submissions submitted by the generous members of our Families Who Love To Travel community.

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Plan, Ready, Go

31 Epic Day Trips from Washington, DC (By a Former Local)

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Are you looking to break away from the Capital City for a day and explore some of the amazing sights nearby? Here are the top day trips from Washington, DC.

Washington, DC, is an ideal travel destination with so many things to do there plus so many additional destinations only a short drive away. If you’ve ever found yourself in Washington, DC, with a few days to spare, then I’m here to tell you that you can explore much more than the usual monuments and historical landmarks in DC.

I lived in Washington, DC, and Northern Virginia for two years and spent a lot of that time exploring much of the area.

Capitol building in Washington DC in sunlight

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Whether you are seeking a historical journey into America’s past or something more natural like incredible parks or beaches, there are plenty of exciting day trips from DC that will let you make the most out of your travels. In this article, I’m highlighting the very best places to visit outside Washington, DC, for an unforgettable and epic day trip.

Considering the area, there are naturally quite a few suggestions that are historical sites, but there are also day trip ideas that feature Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Delaware’s beautiful scenery, a beach town, major cities, and more.

There’s truly something for everyone on this list.

Want to see old shipwrecks up close? I’ve got you covered! No joke.

The day trip ideas in this article are arranged in order of distance from Washington, DC, from the closest to the farthest. All are less than a 3-hour drive from the U.S. capital. All distances are calculated from the Capitol Hill area.

Listed drive times are approximations. The time it takes you to drive to the suggested day trip destination will depend upon several factors including your exact starting point, the time of day, weather, etc.

And some of these day trip suggestions are rather close to each other, so you could even combine a couple of destinations, spending half a day at each. For example, I’ve easily done both Mount Vernon and Arlington National Cemetery in one day. Or add on Old Town Alexandria.

Get your free printable travel planner and plan to perfect trip.

Explore the Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) Canal

Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park

Distance from Washington, DC: variable (the trail begins in Georgetown and ends in Cumberland, Maryland)

Approximate drive time: variable (depending on where you join the trail)

Biking or walking a section of the C&O Canal towpath in Maryland is an amazing way to spend a day outside Washington, DC.

The 184.5-mile long canal towpath offers day-trippers a unique opportunity to explore the natural beauty of the region, with its lovely woodlands and captivating views along the Potomac River. Spots of interest along the towpath include the Maryland side of Great Falls, Antietam National Battlefield (see below), and Glen Echo Park.

Arlington, Virginia

United States Army officers in front of the Tomb of the Unknowns

Distance from Washington, DC: 5 miles

Approximate drive time: 10 – 15 minutes

Just a short drive from Washington, DC, Arlington, Virginia, is a good destination for a day trip. It is best known as the home of Arlington National Cemetery . There are more than 400,000 people buried at Arlington National Cemetery which has become one of the most visited sites in the Washington, DC, area.

If you have the chance, don’t miss out on witnessing the changing of the guard at The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier . The U.S. Army Honor Guard vigilantly guards it 24/7 with remarkable solemnity. It’s truly a sight that will leave a lasting impression.

Besides the renowned Arlington National Cemetery, travelers can also explore many other remarkable sights in Arlington, Virginia. The United States Air Force Memorial and US Marine Corps War Memorial (often called the Iwo Jima Memorial), as well as the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial , are all located there.

mockup image of a free printable travel planner

Alexandria, Virginia

Distance from Washington, DC: 8 miles

Approximate drive time: 15 – 20 minutes

If you’re looking for a day trip that’s close to Washington, D.C., Alexandria is a great place to go. It was voted one of Travel + Leisure’s 15 Best Cities in the United States (#9) and one of The South’s Best Cities on the Rise 2022 (#6) by Southern Living.

If you want to enjoy the outdoors, walk or bike along the scenic Mount Vernon Trail .

You can also take a stroll through the quaint streets of Old Town Alexandria or enjoy a scenic lunch cruise on the Potomac River . Old Alexandria is a lovely area, filled with remarkable historic buildings, unique shops, and delicious restaurants to explore.

Visit celebrated sites like the Alexandria Black History Museum, Carlyle House, and Gadsby’s Tavern Museum.

George Washington’s Mount Vernon

large white home with a grassy area out front

Distance from Washington, DC: 19 miles

Approximate drive time: less than 30 minutes

Mount Vernon is a great place to visit if you’re looking for a fun day trip close to Washington, DC. It was the home and property of George Washington, the first president of the United States.

The Mount Vernon Estate includes Washington’s Mansion, which is a National Historic Landmark, as well as several outbuildings, gardens, and walks.

The estate is located on the Potomac River (great view!), and you can tour George Washington’s house and see many other parts of the property including his final resting place.

On a few of the occasions when I’ve been there I’ve even seen the bedroom where he died. It was kind of amazing and creepy all at the same time.

Don’t miss out on the fascinating educational displays . They are an incredible way to gain more knowledge about Washington and provide a meaningful historical background of his era.

For a lovely lunch, try the Mount Vernon Inn restaurant . I recommend you make reservations ahead of time if you can. And they have a couple of great gift shops at Mount Vernon to help you find your perfect souvenir.

For more information about George Washington’s home, check out my best tips for visiting Mount Vernon .

See the very best of Mount Vernon with this private guided tour of George Washington’s estate . Choose from half-day or full-day options, and see Old Alexandria as well.

Great Falls Park

Rapids in the Potomac River at Great Falls Park, Virginia.

Approximate drive time: 35 minutes

Great Falls Park in Virginia is renowned for its stunning beauty. There are three overlooks for beautiful views of the Falls on the Potomac River all within a reasonable walk of the Visitor Center. The Park includes 15 miles of hiking trails including the popular River Trail .

This is a very popular park. On weekends and holidays there can be long lines to get into the park with wait times of up to an hour, so keep that in mind when making your plans.

If you’re interested in exploring the Maryland side of Great Falls, see more information about the C&O Canal National Historical Park above.

Manassas National Battlefield Park

Wooden bridge to a stone house

Distance from Washington, DC: 30 miles

Approximate drive time: 40 minutes

Located less than an hour from Washington, DC, by car, Manassas National Battlefield Park historic site should be on your list of potential day trips from the Capital.

This site is one of the best battlefields near Washington, DC . Manassas, Virginia, was the site of not just one but two American Civil War battles just a little over a year apart.

The 5,000-acre park includes more than 40 miles of trails perfect for exploring the area on foot.

The park includes a series of routes that traverse the First and Second Manassas Battlefields, featuring interpretive markers along the trails. These markers provide insight into battle action in certain areas while giving visitors an understanding of both soldiers’ and civilians’ experiences .

Annapolis, Maryland

Annapolis, Maryland, USA downtown view over Main Street with the State House.

Distance from Washington, DC: 33 miles

Approximate drive time: 40+ minutes

I’d say that Annapolis, Maryland, is an underrated day trip destination. Perhaps it’s overlooked because it’s overshadowed by so many other options so close to Washington, DC.

Stroll through old colonial streets in the historic district. You’ll see lovely colonial-era row houses.

Tour the Maryland State House , once the home of the Continental Congress and the oldest state house still in use legislatively. It’s open to the general public every day except Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

You can also visit the campus of the U.S. Naval Academy (you’ll have to show ID) or go sailing on the Chesapeake Bay . 

North Beach, Maryland

Distance from Washington, DC: 35 miles

Approximate drive time: 50 minutes

North Beach in Maryland is a great day trip destination for anyone looking to have a day of fun in the sun. Enjoy a day at a classic Maryland beach town complete with a boardwalk .

Other fun things to do in the town include the Bayside history museum , birding, swimming, fishing, and shopping. Overlook Park is a haven for both its resident and migrating wildlife, offering the perfect refuge in its tidal marshlands.

Baltimore, Maryland

Panoramic view of Baltimore Inner Harbor marina and skyscrapers against blue sky

Distance from Washington, DC: 40 miles

Approximate drive time: 55 minutes

For those looking for a big city day trip from Washington, DC, that offers something unique and exciting, Baltimore is the perfect destination. Located just an hour north of the nation’s capital, this vibrant city is brimming with culture and history.

Top sites in the city include the National Aquarium, Fort McHenry (of Star Spangled Banner fame) National Monument and Historic Shrine, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the B & O Railroad Museum, and more.

And if you’re into baseball, like me, don’t miss your chance to see Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

Middleburg, Virginia

Distance from Washington, DC: 49 miles

Approximate drive time: 1 hour

If you’re searching for a picturesque Virginia day trip getaway, Middleburg is a perfect choice. This charming town located in the heart of horse country offers delightful boutiques and eateries that make it an ideal destination to explore.

Make sure to visit one of the many stores in town and purchase a souvenir created by a local artisan. You should also explore the National Sporting Library and Museum to gain insight into equestrian sports, which this area is renowned for.

Or, if you want to feel the wind in your hair, rent a bike and explore Middleburg’s natural landscape. Regardless of how you choose to spend your day here, there’s no doubt that this charming town will steal your heart as it did mine.

Mallows Bay Maryland

The ghost fleet of Mallows Bay, a collection of historic shipwrecks on the Potomac River.

Distance from Washington, DC: 42 miles

Kayaking in Mallows Bay Maryland is the perfect day trip adventure for those wanting to explore the region.

But this isn’t just any bay on the Potomac River; this area is unique. Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary protects the more than 100 World War I-era wooden steamships, known as the “Ghost Fleet.”

The best way to see this unique “water museum” is by kayak. When the tide goes out, the ships reveal themselves and are important habitats for osprey, bald eagles, herons, and many fish and plants.

For the best experience viewing the wrecks, plan your visit to align with low tide. Paddling is recommended between May and September for ideal water and weather conditions.

Fredericksburg, Virginia

Chatham Manor, a Georgian-style home completed in 1771 on the Rappahannock River in Stafford County, Virginia, opposite Fredericksburg

Distance from Washington, DC: 56 miles

Fredericksburg, Virginia, is a great day trip destination for those looking to explore U.S. Civil War history.

Located just an hour south of Washington, DC, Fredericksburg offers visitors a glimpse into America’s past with its numerous historical sites such as George Washington’s boyhood home at Ferry Farm and Mary Washington House , home of George Washington’s mother.

In my opinion, the biggest draw at Fredericksburg for history lovers is Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park .

The park actually manages four battlefields over several counties, the nearest to Washington, DC, being Fredericksburg. The others are Chancellorsville, Spotsylvania, and The Wilderness . The Park also includes the site of General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson’s death .

South Mountain State Park, Maryland

Distance from Washington, DC: 66 miles

Approximate drive time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Visiting South Mountain State Park is an amazing day trip adventure from Washington, DC, especially for hikers.

Stretching 40 miles along South Mountain’s ridge from Pennsylvania to the Potomac River, South Mountain State Park offers travelers an opportunity to explore a slice of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The Appalachian Trail traverses the summit of the mountain, offering breathtaking panoramas from three notable vantage points: Weverton Cliffs, Annapolis Rocks, and High Rock. 

George Washington Birthplace National Monument

Colonial-style brick house

Distance from Washington, DC: 69 miles

Approximate drive time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

History lovers should think about making a day trip from Washington, DC, to George Washington Birthplace National Monument , especially if you’ve already seen Mount Vernon.

The site consists of a picturesque 550-acre park with trails and monuments that showcase his legacy, including a Colonial Revival farm .

George Washington’s family is honored and remembered in the Washington Family Burial Ground, where his father, grandparents, and great-grandparents are all laid to rest.

The park also offers many recreational activities to enjoy, such as hiking, fishing, and bird-watching. In addition, there’s a public beach and places to picnic .

Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

street in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

Distance from Washington, DC: 70 miles

Approximate drive time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, is a day trip destination from Washington, DC, that should not be overlooked. Located less than an hour and a half away by car, this small town offers visitors several activities and attractions to explore.

There are plenty of fun things to do in Harpers Ferry such as taking a scenic hike along the Potomac River or exploring one of its many historical sites like John Brown’s Fort and Harpers Ferry National Historical Site.

Cross the river into Maryland and hike up to Maryland Heights to get beautiful views of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers. Note, this is not an easy hike and should not be attempted without bringing water. Seriously, folks. I did this hike spontaneously without water and to this day I have never been more thirsty than I was on that day.

Antietam National Battlefield

stone bridge

Approximate drive time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

American Civil War buffs will need to include Antietam National Battlefield on their list of “must-see” sites. Considered by many to be the best-preserved battlefield in the U.S., it commemorates the single bloodiest day in American history, when 23,000 Americans were killed, wounded, or went missing.

According to the National Park Service , “The Battle of Antietam ended the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia’s first invasion into the North and led Abraham Lincoln to issue the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.”

Important sites at the battlefield include Bloody Lane, Dunker Church, Burnside Bridge, and Mumma Farm. Don’t miss the monument to Clara Barton , the founder of the American Red Cross, whose actions at Antietam made her a Civil War hero.

Shenandoah River State Park

Distance from Washington, DC: 82 miles

Sitting on the South Fork of the Shenandoah River, Raymond R. “Andy” Guest Jr. State Park encompasses 1,600 acres and 5.2 miles of beautiful riverfront scenery.

At this park, visitors can experience views of Massanutten Mountain and stunning Shenandoah National Park .

This riverside destination is a favorite among families, fishers, and especially canoeists due to its picnic area with shelters, trails for exploration, river access points, and a car-top boat launch. With more than 24 miles of trails , the park allows you to explore and adventure on foot, bike, or horseback.

Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah National Park

Distance from Washington, DC: 85 miles

Approximate drive time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

One of the most scenic of the U.S. National Parks is located within the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and less than two hours from Washington, DC. Shenandoah National Park features beautiful tree-lined hills, enchanting wooded hollows, breathtaking waterfalls, and a variety of wildlife.

Shenandoah National Park was founded in 1935. The park was completed around WWII, and by 1976, half of the park was proclaimed protected wilderness.

The 105-mile Skyline Drive winds itself around the center of Shenandoah National Park and connects to the Blue Ridge Parkway . The road is often closed during the winter months due to heavy snowfall. The road is also one of the most frequently traveled in the National Park System, so be sure to plan accordingly.

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

angled wood fence in a field

Distance from Washington, DC: 90 miles

Approximate drive time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, is a day trip destination from Washington, DC, that offers something for everyone. Located just under two hours away by car, this historic town is brimming with culture and history.

From its iconic Civil War sites such as the Gettysburg National Military Park to its quaint downtown shopping district , there’s plenty to explore. Whether you’re interested in taking a guided tour through the battlefields or exploring one of its many other historical sites, visiting Gettysburg is an unforgettable experience.

I’ll never forget standing on Little Round Top and then at the stone wall looking out over the area where General Pickett led his charge.

Top things to do in Gettysburg include touring the battlefield, exploring downtown, David Willis (where Abraham Lincoln put the final touches on his famous Gettysburg Address), Seminary Ridge Museum, Shriver House, Jenny Wade House, and more.

James Madison’s Montpelier

large brick house with columns in front and a green and white fence

Distance from Washington, DC: 93 miles

Approximate drive time: 2 hours

Set in the heart of Orange County, Virginia, lies Montpelier, an estate belonging to former President James Madison and his wife Dolley. Spanning a total area of 2,650 acres this historical property has been carefully preserved for future generations to enjoy.

A 5,000-acre tract of land was initially granted to James Madison’s grandfather. In 1783, the property came to Madison who decided to begin constructing Montpelier four years later.

While visiting Montpelier , you’ll learn more about the house and James Madison. Unfortunately, the Madison family encountered substantial financial hardship that led them to sell most of their personal belongings. Consequently, many items present in the house now were bought strictly for restoration purposes.

As a National Historic Landmark since 1984 , Montpelier is owned and operated by the Montpelier Foundation. Their tours of both the house and grounds provide a quality educational experience in early American history.

Luray Caverns

large cave full of rock formations

Distance from Washington, DC: 97 miles

Luray Caverns is a great day trip destination for families. The largest caverns in the eastern United States are unlike any other, featuring ceilings towering 10 stories high.

In addition to the caverns, the Car & Carriage Caravan Museum, Shenandoah Heritage Village, and Toy Town Junction are all included in the admission price, making it a great value for families.

The caverns are open year-round , making them a great option for when the weather is bad or when you just want to get out of the city for a day.

Belle Isle State Park

Distance from Washington, DC: 108 miles

Approximate drive time: 2 hours, 25 minutes

Explore unique tidal wetland areas with a day trip to Belle Isle State Park’s seven miles of shoreline on the Northern Neck’s Rappahannock River.

At this park, there is a campground for overnight guests to stay in, three picnic shelters perfect for outdoor gatherings, and various trails available for walking or biking. Additionally, the park offers boat launches.

The varied ecosystems of the park are home to many predatory birds, including blue herons, osprey, hawks, and bald eagles. In addition, white-tailed deer, turkeys, and a multitude of smaller creatures such as groundhogs, rabbits, squirrels, moles, reptiles, and amphibians can be found here too.

Richmond, Virginia

Virginia Statehouse and lawn in downtown Richmond, Virginia

Distance from Washington, DC: 110 miles

Visiting Richmond, Virginia, makes a great day trip from Washington, DC, especially for those who enjoy “collecting” state capitals. With its historical landmarks, parks, and cultural attractions it’s definitely a city worth visiting.

Top things to do in the Virginia capital include the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts , the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden , and browsing Carytown . Edgar Alan Poe enthusiasts should check out The Poe Museum .

Those looking to spend a day in beautiful surroundings might want to visit Maymont or Belle Isle Park in the heart of the city (not be confused with Belle Isle State Park).

Delightful Day Trips from Richmond, Virginia.

Trap Pond State Park, Delaware

bald cypress in trap pond state park

Distance from Washington, DC: 112 miles

Approximate drive time: 2 hours, 20 minutes

Trap Pond State Park in Delaware is a day-trip destination that offers visitors breathtaking natural beauty to explore.

Paddling enthusiasts especially should take advantage of the opportunity to canoe or kayak the Terrapin Branch Water Trail . Get up close and personal with the Baldcypress trees and the diverse flora and fauna that live there. If you don’t want to navigate the area by canoe or kayak you could try a pontoon tour with park staff.

The area was used as an industrial logging pond in the late 18th century and is home to the northernmost, naturally occurring, stand of Baldcypress trees .

large brick house with a domed roof

Distance from Washington, DC: 115 miles

Approximate drive time: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Monticello is one of the most famous and remarkable homes in America, and it makes a great day trip from Washington. Thomas Jefferson, the 3rd President of the United States, called Charlottesville, Virginia home. His house is open to visitors who wish to explore its beauty and learn more about his life.

The architectural masterpiece of Monticello was designed by Thomas Jefferson himself and constructed between 1768-1782. This iconic Neoclassical structure was named a National Historic Landmark in 1960.

When visiting Monticello start in the Visitor Center to see the amazing displays of the design phases Monticello went through. You’ll gain a greater understanding of Jefferson’s family life and what life was like on his estate.

Grab a yummy lunch at Monticello Farm Table . Their soups and sandwiches are scrumptious. Then you can make your way up the “mountain” (by shuttle or enjoy the walk) to explore the grounds and the mansion.

To secure an optimal tour time for the house, I recommend you purchase your tickets beforehand . Make sure to pick out a ticket that grants access to all areas of the property that you want to see since not every option provides access to all areas of the house.

Hershey, Pennsylvania

Distance from Washington, DC: 135 miles

Approximate drive time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Located just two and a half hours away from Washington, DC, by car, this charming city is full of attractions to explore. From its iconic Hersheypark amusement park, Hershey Story Museum, and Hershey’s Chocolate World, to ZooAmerica and Hershey Gardens there are plenty of activities to enjoy.

But let’s face it. If you’re driving all the way to Hershey, Pennsylvania, from Washington, DC, you’re going for the chocolate.

Petersburg, Virginia

Petersburg, Virginia, sits on the Appomattox River and is full of rich history. The city is known for its many historical sites, including Petersburg National Battlefield .

The Battlefield preserves the history of the longest military event of the U.S. Civil War, the siege of Petersburg. The 9.5-month-long siege cut off Petersburg’s supplies, which led to the fall of Richmond (the capital of the Confederacy) and then the surrender of General Robert E. Lee.

Other sites to visit include the Centre Hill Mansion-Museum and Pamplin Historical Park .

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

front view of Independence Hall in Philadelphia

Distance from Washington, DC: 140 miles

Spending a day in Philadelphia is an experience like no other. The city is full of history, culture, and attractions that will keep you engaged for hours (or days!) on end.

From its iconic landmarks such as the Liberty Bell to exploring Independence National Historical Park , Philadelphia has something for everyone.

Other top things to do in Philadelphia include the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Reading Terminal Market, Congress Hall, the Benjamin Franklin Museum, the Betsy Ross House, and the Museum of the American Revolution.

Colonial Williamsburg

Rear view of the Royal Governor's Palace in Colonial Williamsburg

Distance from Washington, DC: 152 miles

If you have a passion for early American history, then visiting Colonial Williamsburg is an absolute must. Not only will it be a fascinating educational experience, but it’s also the world’s largest living history museum.

While I recommend spending at least a weekend at Colonial Williamsburg , you can still do a lot even if you only have one day in Colonial Williamsburg . 

Williamsburg was the capital of the Virginia Colony from 1699 to 1780 (when the state capital was moved to Richmond).

In the early 20th century, W.A.R. Goodwin, the rector of Bruton Parish Church astutely suggested to John D. Rockefeller Jr that Williamsburg, Virginia’s historic core should be carefully restored and preserved, including reconstructing some parts if necessary.

Present-day Colonial Williamsburg is a time capsule of the 18th Century, encompassing 85% of its original size and containing iconic landmarks such as Bruton Parish Church.

Jamestown, Virginia

Frame wooden building by an old wooden fence on a river with leaves on the ground.

Distance from Washington, DC: 160 miles

Approximate drive time: 2 hours, 35 minutes

If you’re planning a trip to Virginia’s Historic Triangle area, make sure to include J amestown Settlement and Historic Jamestowne on your itinerary.

Jamestown, founded in 1607, was the site of the first permanent English settlement in the New World. Jamestown Settlement is a living history museum that uses video, excellent exhibits, and living history to educate guests about the founding of Jamestown and what life was like there.

Just a stone’s throw from Jamestown Settlement is Historic Jamestowne , the actual home of the first permanent English colony in America on the James River. It is possible to visit both sites in one day.

Yorktown, Virginia

Exterior of the brick Museum of the American Revolution at Yorktown, Virginia.

Distance from Washington, DC: 165 miles

Approximate drive time: 2 hours, 40 minutes

You really should consider adding a day trip visiting Yorktown to your itinerary. Historic Yorktown was the site of the last major battle of the American Revolution.

It was also where General Lord Cornwallis’ forces surrendered to George Washington (Cornwallis couldn’t actually manage to drag himself to Surrender Field that day). And as it goes in the musical Hamilton , the world turned upside down. 

If you’re planning a trip to Yorktown, I suggest starting your day at the American Revolution Museum . This will give you some valuable context before heading out to explore the battlefield. You could easily spend nearly one full day at Yorktown Battlefield alone. 

Final thoughts on day trips from Washington, DC

Washington, DC, is a great place to visit, but sometimes you just need to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

If you’re looking for a quick day trip that will still give you plenty to do, consider one of the options in this article. From historical sites to hiking and beaches, there’s something for everyone within just a few hours’ drive of DC.

So pack up the car and hit the road. Your perfect day trip adventure awaits!

Do you have a favorite day trip from Washington, DC?

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Darcy Vierow is a busy professional and travel planning expert with years of experience maximizing travel with limited time and on a less-than-average salary. Her tips have been published by Forbes, MSN.com, Yahoo! News, Yahoo! Finance, Aol, Newsbreak and GOBankingRates. Read more about Darcy Vierow .

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City Break: DC Weekend Getaways

Whether you are in need of a rugged adventure, a soothing spa break or an art-filled escape, there’s bound to be a trip to match your mood in our favorite D.C. weekend escapes.  

weekend trips around dc

Tourists and locals alike know that the hectic pace of Washington, D.C ., can be exhausting at times. The good news is that with a central location burrowed between Virginia and Maryland, Washington has no shortage of convenient weekend getaways nearby to suit any travel personality. Within a few hours’ drive of D.C., you can be sipping wine in Virginia’s horse country, hiking through Shenandoah National Park, sailing on the Chesapeake Bay, or basking on the beach in Delaware.

Whether you are in need of a rugged adventure, a soothing spa break or an art-filled escape, there’s bound to be a trip to match your mood in our favorite D.C. weekend escapes.

Hike Old Rag and Sleep in a Yurt

Rose River Farm, yurt, Syria, Vriginia

Rose River Farm, yurt, Syria, Vriginia

Photo by: Rose River Farm

Rose River Farm

Nature lovers can easily escape the concrete jungle with a short jaunt to Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park. One of the area’s most popular hikes, Old Rag is also the toughest, so attempt this 9-mile circuit with strenuous scrambles only if you are fit and a seasoned hiker. When you complete the seven- to eight-hour climb, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views. If Old Rag is too much, Whiteoak Canyon offers a loop hike that’s less than 5 miles. It travels along a rolling stream and is more appropriate for all skill levels.

Where to Stay : After a long day on your feet, treat yourself to rustic luxury with a night in a yurt at Rose River Farm . Beside breathtaking panoramic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, each of the three yurts has 17-foot ceilings, a full kitchen, two bedrooms and two bathrooms. Round out the weekend with a fly-fishing lesson at the farm’s private pond, which is stocked with trout just for the cabins.

Take a Presidential Dip in Hot Springs, Virginia

When U.S. presidents need a break from Washington, where do they go? Since the 18th century, 22 commanders in chief have vacationed at the Homestead , a luxury resort nestled in the Allegheny Mountains. Take a dip in the historic Jefferson Pools, the naturally heated mineral hot springs named after Thomas Jefferson, who vacationed here in 1818. Today, the resort lets you take it up a notch from Jefferson’s dip with more innovative spa treatments, including a river reflexology walk, as well as an aqua thermal suite with radiant-heat loungers and chilled cold cabins.

Where to Stay : You’ll want a full weekend at the Homestead to take advantage of everything this 45-acre property has to offer, including golf, archery, fly-fishing, horseback riding and falconry. And the elegantly decorated suites provide Southern-style touches of home with sunporches, fireplaces and cozy sitting nooks.

Learn to Sail in St. Michaels, Maryland

Inn At Perry Cabin, sailboat, St. Michaels, Maryland

Inn At Perry Cabin, sailboat, St. Michaels, Maryland

Photo by: Belmond Management Limited

Belmond Management Limited

Leave the city hustle behind for a laid-back weekend on the water in St. Michaels, a tiny seaside town 50 miles southeast of Annapolis on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. With a maritime history that dates back to the mid-1600s and miles of idyllic coastline to explore nearby, there’s no better spot to learn how to sail. The Sailing Academy at the Inn at Perry Cabin offers a relaxed two-day course for beginners. The Colonial hotel itself, located right on the banks of the Miles River, provides a convenient place to start your day on the water and end it with a gourmet dinner or a glass of wine by an outdoor fire.

Where to Stay : Long before the Inn at Perry Cabin made an appearance in the film Wedding Crashers , its waterfront site made history as one of the original English land grants in the early 1800s. Now, amenities such as spa treatments, a heated infinity pool and a waterfront seafood restaurant add just the right level of modern luxury to this rural retreat.

Sip and Swirl Your Way Through Wine Country

Just an hour from downtown D.C., Middleburg, Virginia, beckons city dwellers in need of a more relaxed pace and, well, a glass or two of wine. With more than 250 wineries, Virginia is quickly getting national and international recognition in the wine industry. One of the largest wineries in the area, Chrysalis Vineyards , has a beautiful stone patio that’s nestled on a 400-acre estate with sweeping views of the surrounding Bull Run Mountains. There, you can enjoy tastings of wines made from Virginia’s native Norton grape. The less-crowded Aspen Dale Winery at the Barn offers a quieter retreat for tasting wines and mingling with farm animals.

Where to Stay: Set on 340 acres in Middleburg’s rolling countryside and featuring sweeping views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Salamander Resort & Spa opened in 2013. It has residential-like luxury rooms and suites, a state-of-the-art spa, a cooking studio that offers classes and wine dinners, and a full-service equestrian center.

Sunbathe and Feast in Rehoboth Beach, Deleware

Rehoboth is a favorite beach getaway for Washingtonians looking to soak up some sun and enjoy gourmet dining and boutique shopping. This town embraces beachgoers of all types, from families to LGBTQ travelers. A trip to Rehoboth Beach wouldn’t be complete without sampling time-honored and kid-pleasing boardwalk eats such as Thrasher’s French Fries and Grotto Pizza . There are also plenty of finer dining establishments that will impress even DC.-dwelling foodies, including a(Muse) and the Back Porch Café . And since there’s no sales tax in Delaware, Rehoboth Beach is a shopper’s paradise, with independent, high-end shops downtown and the outlet malls just a few miles away.

Where to Stay: You can’t miss this pink, Victorian-style, beachfront hotel right on the boardwalk. With antique furnishings, a traditional afternoon tea service, a heated indoor/outdoor pool, and a private, adults-only sundeck and spa, this luxe beach house mixes old and new with charming results.

Break for Art in Baltimore

weekend trips around dc

Photo by: David Phelps

David Phelps

Only an hour’s drive from Washington, D.C., Baltimore is a convenient getaway for city culture vultures. From 19th-century French impressionist paintings at the Walters Art Museum to a 55-foot-tall, wind-powered sculpture at the American Visionary Art Museum , there’s a variety of eclectic pieces to see in Charm City. You can also channel your macabre side by visiting the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum , one of the best-preserved homes of the famous wordsmith and Baltimore resident. And after a day of museum-hopping, take in another Baltimore art form at the Brewer’s Art , a brewpub that’s known for its homemade, Belgian-style brew and hip vintage style.

Where to Stay: In the heart of downtown, Kimpton’s Hotel Monaco oozes with style and glamour in a 1906 Beaux Arts building that recalls its Gilded Age beginnings. Once the B&O Railroad headquarters, this boutique hotel is brimming with history and quirk, just like Charm City. 

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The 31 best things to do in D.C. this weekend and next week

The penultimate week of the National Cherry Blossom Festival is filled with activities for all ages and interests, from the live music, hands-on activities and fireworks at Petalpalooza at the Capitol Riverfront to the art-centric First Saturday at the National Gallery of Art to the pop-up market at National Landing’s Pink in the Park festival. Duke Ellington’s 125th birthday is celebrated with concerts at the Smithsonian and the Kennedy Center. The Words Beats and Life Festival focuses on poetry and hip-hop at events around the city. March Madness viewing parties get more intense now that the tournament is down to the Final Four. Oh, and did you know there’s a solar eclipse on Monday, with viewing parties across the D.C. region?

Thursday, April 4

Words Beats and Life Festival

The Words Beats and Life Festival officially began Monday, but the annual mix of poetry, hip-hop and activism picks up steam as the weekend approaches. On Thursday night, choices include dance-forward “electronic folk music” from the trio of Sunken Cages, Dragonchild and Faraway Ghost on the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage ( free, 6 p.m. ); Word Power: Dynamic Duos , an event mixing DJs, poets and lyricists at Busboys and Poets in Hyattsville, followed by an open mic ( 8 p.m., $5 ); and a free rooftop party at the Eaton hotel with DJs Miss H.E.R., Farrah Flosscett and Coco Spinelle dropping hip-hop, Afrobeats and beyond ( 8 p.m., free with RSVP ). As the week goes on, look for a talk with poet, actor and songwriter Saul Williams at Woolly Mammoth ( Friday ); youth poetry slams and a “ Literary Decathlon ” that involves writing haikus and love poems and a “compliment battle” ( Saturday ); and the Jazz and Blossoms party in Franklin Park ( Sunday ). Through Sunday; event prices vary .

Cherry Fund: Rewind

Since 1996, the Cherry Fund has raised more than $1.3 million for nonprofits helping D.C.’s LGBTQ+ community, bringing DJs and participants from around the world for parties. This year’s party, which benefits the DC Center for the LGBT Community , has a theme of “Rewind,” so consider it a teaser for June’s “Totally Radical” Pride festivities. The celebrations start Thursday with a free party at Kiki on U Street, featuring DJ Tezrah. The parties keep coming: Friday at Ultrabar with Brazilian DJ Paulo Pacheco and Mohammed from Atlanta, inspired by “legendary dance floors of days gone by”; Saturday at the Mayflower with DJs Orel Sabag (Israel) and Tom Stephan (London) until 3 a.m., followed by the “after-hours” party at Flash that kicks off at 4 a.m. and runs until 9, including a daylight party on the roof; and Sunday night’s finale, at Zebbie’s Garden, with Cherry regular Nina Flowers. Through Sunday. General admission $45-$70; VIP pass for all events $220 .

Eclipse Cocktails at Red Derby

On Monday, the D.C. Public Library began handing out free solar glasses that will protect your eyes during the upcoming eclipse. Neighborhood online groups were soon full of reports that all the glasses were gone, and at least one reporter struck out when they went to their neighborhood branch around lunchtime. The Smithsonian is handing out tens of thousands of free glasses before the main event, but if you want to have some fun with it, the Red Derby’s serving up a free pair of glasses alongside its new raspberry rum swizzle, dubbed the Eclipse Cocktail . Get one before they’re gone. Though Saturday. $10 .

Friday, April 5

Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra: ‘Aspects of Ellington’ at the National Museum of Natural History

April is Jazz Appreciation Month, but the celebrations are especially sweet in D.C. this year, with concerts and events honoring the 125th birthday of native son Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington. This weekend kicks off with the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra’s “Aspects of Ellington” at the National Museum of Natural History, which will draw on diverse works from across Ellington’s songbook: The Smithsonian says selections might include the 1927 shuffle of “East St. Louis Toodle-Oo” and the “Degas Suite,” a 1960s film soundtrack unreleased in Ellington’s lifetime. ( 7 p.m. $30. )

March Madness: Women’s Final Four viewing parties

Only six schools are still playing in March Madness , and there are viewing parties for all the survivors this weekend — a guarantee that the bar will have full sound and plenty of screens. The Women’s Final Four takes place on Friday night, with North Carolina State facing South Carolina at 7 p.m. N.C. State alumni will be fixtures at Lou’s City Bar this weekend, with both the men and women still involved. (On Sunday, red-and-black pompoms were scattered around the screen-filled bar hours before tip-off.) The Gamecocks, meanwhile, watch their games at Atlas Brew Works on Half Street near Nationals Park. The second game, which begins at 9:30 p.m., features Connecticut and Iowa . U-Conn fans pack into Clarendon’s Colony Grill, while you’ll see Caitlin Clark jerseys at Mission Navy Yard, D.C.’s official Iowa alumni bar.

Cherry blossom performances at the Tidal Basin

The National Cherry Blossom Festival officially runs through April 14, but the free daily musical performances at the Tidal Basin Welcome Area are wrapping up this weekend. Take in a cross-cultural tradition while listening to local acts including R&B singers Natalie Redd and PatriceLive, Andean folk group Raymi, and brotherly prog-rock duo deTournai. Through Sunday. Free .

Tosser at Rhizome

On its debut album, D.C. band Tosser scrubbed off some of the “ polish ” of earlier releases for a noisy, guitar-powered album that accidentally predicted the malaise of a pandemic period that it predated. The group’s just-released album “Sheer Humanity” is not as much polished as sharpened, its grungy riff rock even heavier and edgier than before. 7 p.m. $15 .

‘Exsanguinated’ at Red Bear Brewing

The NoMa brewery follows its weekly “RuPaul’s Drag Race” viewing party with a specific live drag challenge of its own: a “vampire ball.” Named for the medical term for draining blood, this event is hosted by local performer (and winner of a “spookiest ghoul” competition last year) Johnny Alucard . 9 to 11 p.m. Free.

Saturday, April 6

Petalpalooza

Multiple stages of live music, art installations, hands-on family activities, a market, food trucks and a beer garden are highlights of the National Cherry Blossom Festival’s annual Petalpalooza along the Capitol Riverfront near the Navy Yard. Five zones of entertainment are featured throughout the neighborhood, and the event is capped with a fireworks display set to music, which begins at 8:30 p.m. 1 to 9 p.m. Free .

Pink in the Pool and Pink in the Park at National Landing

National Landing hosts a pair of free Saturday events for the National Cherry Blossom Festival. First up is Pink in the Pool , a kid-centric event at the Long Bridge Aquatics Center with story time, snacks and an origami class ( 9 a.m. to noon ). Pink in the Park , originally scheduled for March 23, features a pop-up market with more than two dozen vendors, curated by AAPI art and culture organization Samasama. The day also includes live mural painting, art from the Museum of Contemporary Art Arlington, and a pop-up food and beverage area. DJ Em-Pulse and Les the DJ provide the tunes ( 1 to 5 p.m. ). Both events are free.

First Saturday at the National Gallery of Art

The National Gallery of Art’s monthly First Saturday series has a flower theme (surprise!) during the National Cherry Blossom Festival, so visitors can create floral art from paper or practice sketching a floral arrangement, explore paintings of flowers in the galleries, watch Japanese movies, and listen to traditional Japanese music. Little ones can have their faces painted or listen to story time. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free .

Kimonos and Cocktails on 17th Street NW

Bars and restaurants along 17th Street near Dupont Circle team up for the new Kimonos and Cocktails, a bar crawl featuring cherry blossom-themed cocktails and mocktails. Arrive early for a kimono demonstration, beginning in Stead Park at 2 p.m., then taste your way down the street before voting for a favorite concoction. 5 to 8 p.m. Free .

Art Blooms at the Mosaic District

The two-day Art Blooms in Fairfax’s Mosaic District brings a marketplace of 90 makers and vintage vendors, music on multiple stages, and a farmers market with food and drinks. Families can bring the kids to meet singing princesses, and everyone should take advantage of the free shuttle from the Dunn Loring Metro station. Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Free .

Dupont Circle Cherry Blossom Pop-Up Market

There’s a lot happening in Dupont Circle this weekend, including Saturday’s Kimonos and Cocktails bar crawl and Sunday’s tea party in the circle. But don’t overlook the Cherry Blossom Pop-Up Market, where you’ll find more than 75 makers and vendors set up across the neighborhood: along Connecticut Avenue NW between Q and S streets; on P Street between 20th and 22nd streets; and 17th Street between P and R streets. Meanwhile, on Saturday, there’s also a mural installation in Dupont Circle Park and craft activities, such as origami and bookmark making, in the garden behind the historic Heurich House . Historic Dupont Circle Main Streets has more information about neighborhood events on its website. Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Free .

Unique Markets at Dock 5 at Union Market

Find a new favorite D.C.-based small business at the Washington edition of Unique Markets, a roving pop-up shop that travels the country showing off emerging brands. More than 70 sellers are setting up shop above Union Market, with offerings including jewelry, clothing (vintage and new), bath products, candles, ceramics and packaged food. Admission includes perks like free drinks, including nonalcoholic beers from Best Day Brewing; DIY craft projects to try; stations with photo ops; and a tote bag to carry all your purchases home. Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. $12 for one-day admission; $16 for a weekend pass; free admission for ages 14 and under .

March Madness: Men’s Final Four

Saturday brings the men’s side of the NCAA Tournament. The first game, at 6:09 p.m., features North Carolina State and Purdue . As mentioned above, N.C. State alumni head to Lou’s City Bar in Columbia Heights, and Boilermakers watch their games at the Bottom Line on K Street. Alabama and Connecticut follow at 8:49 p.m. U-Conn alumni are heading back to Colony Grill in Clarendon, where they will have watched their women’s team play on Friday, while Alabama fans have been going to Salazar on 14th Street for their March Madness game watches. The winners, of course, play for the national championship on Monday.

‘Back 2 the Circle’ Cypher Jam and Fresh Fit Clothing Swap at the Kennedy Center

Indigenous hip-hop is front and center at the Kennedy Center’s Reach on Saturday evening, with performances by rapper Supaman, DJ Element, and B-girl and curator Miss Chief Rocka. Groove to tunes by DJs Diyanna Monet and 4REAL. Bring gently used clothing and accessories to swap, and bring your best moves for a dance contest with celebrity judges. 5 to 9 p.m. Free .

Mumbo vs. Gumbo at Sycamore and Oak

Five years ago, a complaint about go-go music playing from speakers at a phone store at the corner of Seventh Street and Florida Avenue NW launched the Don’t Mute D.C. movement, and helped go-go become the official sound of D.C. Mark the anniversary with a party at Sycamore and Oak in Congress Heights, where Mumbo vs. Gumbo features live go-go from Backyard Band and District Kings and the horn-driven sound of the Crush Funk Brass Band. Meanwhile, there’s New Orleans-style cuisine from Triceys D.C., Dionne’s and the vegan Glizzys. 3 to 7 p.m. Free .

Capital Art Book Fair at Eastern Market

More than 30 exhibitors from around the world — as close as Silver Spring and as far as Seoul — convene at Eastern Market’s North Hall to celebrate art books. Participants include artists, established publishers and indie bookmakers selling zines, photography books, graphic novels and more. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free.

NSO Music for Young Audiences at the Kennedy Center

This family-focused concert returns to introduce youngins to, as the Kennedy Center bills it, “some of the greatest music ever written.” The program is led by two National Symphony Orchestra musicians (bassist Paul DeNola and violinist Heather LeDoux Green) and features a “trunk full of gags” used throughout the show, though besides their instruments, the performers are silent. Come early for Musical PLAYspace, where kids are invited to try out the instruments they’ll see onstage, and stay after the Saturday afternoon performance for a Q&A with the artists and creative team. Saturday, 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.; Sunday, 4 p.m. $20.

Sunday, April 7

Japanese Stone Lantern Lighting Ceremony at the Tidal Basin

The Cherry Blossom Princesses take center stage at the Tidal Basin during the Japanese Stone Lantern Lighting Ceremony, the annual lighting of the 17th-century lantern that is located near the site where the first cherry blossom trees were planted in 1912. 2:30 p.m. Free .

Jazz and Blossoms at Franklin Park

The music-focused Jazz and Blossoms festival returns downtown with performances by Digable Planets, the Sun Ra Arkestra, the JoGo Project, Madison McFerrin and the Daylight DJs. The day in Franklin Park — part of the Words Beats and Life Festival — also includes art installations, graffiti walls, lawn games, haiku-writing stations and nonalcoholic beverages. Noon to 7:30 p.m. Free .

Dupont Circle Tea Party

Take a break from shopping at the Dupont Circle Cherry Blossom Pop-Up Market (see the listing under Saturday) for a warm beverage on Sunday afternoon. Visit the festively decorated Dupont Circle Tea Party for free beverages from Teaism, Tea Mansion and Valley Brook Tea. Noon to 5 p.m. Free .

Blossom Block Fest: Flea D.C. at Sycamore and Oak

Congress Heights’ Sycamore and Oak is the home of the Blossom Block Festival, where a flea market highlights Black creatives alongside family activities and live music. Noon to 5 p.m. Free .

Tulip Ride and Tulip Walk on the Mount Vernon Trail

The cherry blossoms aren’t the only flowers worth fawning over during springtime in Washington, and the nonprofit Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail proves it on a morning dedicated to exploring the area’s prettiest tulip patches. There are two options happening simultaneously: a bike ride to three tulip-covered sites located on and near the Mount Vernon Trail as part of an eight-mile loop, or a five-mile stroll to two sites. The Tulip Ride/Walk is organized in partnership with WalkArlington and the Rosslyn BID, and free online registration is required. Both the ride and the walk begin and end at Compass Coffee in Rosslyn. 9 a.m. to noon. Free; advance registration required .

Bottomless Drag Brunch at El Techo

Drag stars Tara Hoot, Evry Pleasure and TrevHER join DJ Lemz on El Techo’s verdant tropical rooftop for two bottomless brunches raising money for the Cherry Fund. Tickets include a choice of entree with unlimited bloody marys, mimosas or margaritas, plus all the entertainment you can handle while helping the nonprofit Cherry Fund support D.C.’s LGBTQ+ community. 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. $45 .

G.A.S. (Grown and Sexy) at Metrobar

One Sunday a month from April through the end of summer, DJs Alizay, B-Sharp and Farrah Flosscett are trying to make the end of your weekend a little more sophisticated and fresh. Expect the vibe at this “Grown and Sexy” party to be set by hip-hop and soulful R&B, without getting as crazy as you might on a Friday night. 6 to 11 p.m. Free with RSVP .

Monday, April 8

Solar eclipse viewing parties

Did you know there’s a solar eclipse on Monday? And there won’t be another total eclipse visible from the contiguous United States until 2045? Even though D.C. will experience only a partial eclipse, there are viewing parties across the region . The biggest celebration takes place on the National Mall , where the National Air and Space Museum is joined by scientific organizations including NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for a free, family-friendly afternoon festival. View the eclipse safely through solar telescopes and sun spotters, watch live NASA video from the path of totality, or see the sun through a satellite’s ultraviolet cameras. Hands-on activities take place between Fourth and 12th streets, and safe eclipse viewing glasses will be free while supplies last. Other options include the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center , George Mason University’s observatory and Sky Meadows State Park . Adults playing hooky to see the eclipse can watch from the rooftop Deck 11 bar at Yotel D.C., or the Starr Hill rooftop beer garden at the Perch in Tysons, which is handing out glasses with every food or drink purchase, beginning at 2 p.m. Times vary; the peak of the eclipse in D.C. will be at 3:20 p.m .

Tuesday, April 9

Mariah the Scientist at Echostage

Let’s take her stage name literally. There’s something almost clinical about the singing of this Atlanta-raised R&B star as she continues to steer the sang-froid she shares with SZA, Frank Ocean and Jhene Aiko toward the absolute zero of American soul music. She can reach for a high note when she needs to, but how low can she go? 8 p.m. Only verified resale tickets available .

Bad Bunny at Capital One Arena

It’s hard to say whether we’ve reached peak Bad Bunny — or we ever will. The 30-year-old’s renown only seems to grow bigger and brighter as his albums continue to expand into new zones of rhythm and rhyme. Onstage, he makes that expansiveness feel not only coherent, but riveting. In other words, checking out one of the planet’s most electrifying pop performers while he’s still on top of the world sounds like a good idea. 8 p.m. $202-$675 .

Wednesday, April 10

Jason Moran: Solo Ellington at the Kennedy Center

Tributes to Duke Ellington continue as the great pianist Jason Moran — the Kennedy Center’s artistic director for jazz — explores the breadth of Ellington’s music during a solo piano concert in the Eisenhower Theater, accompanied by a selection of Gordon Parks’s photos of Ellington. ( 8 p.m. $35-$80. )

weekend trips around dc

SPORTS ALERT: UConn wins second straight men's basketball championship with win over Purdue

WTOP News

Millions expected to hit the roads ahead of total solar eclipse — WTOP Traffic’s travel tips for DC-area residents

Jessica Kronzer | [email protected]

April 6, 2024, 12:42 PM

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Millions of people are expected to travel to witness the awe-inspiring total solar eclipse Monday. A WTOP Traffic reporter has some tips for those explorers headed toward the path of totality.

weekend trips around dc

You can’t witness the solar eclipse in its full glory in the D.C. area, though a partial eclipse will be visible .

“It’ll be like a big pilgrimage, and many people will stop at nothing to experience a sacred solar event,” said WTOP Traffic reporter Dave Dildine.

He’s among the masses who are on a quest for a better view of the celestial phenomenon in the path of totality — which stretches across fifteen U.S. states from Texas to Maine.

“It is possible that millions of people will be driving in the same direction at the same time,” Dildine said. “There’s going to be a great migration taking place and whenever loads of people go to the same place at the same time, long lines will inevitably form.”

More on the solar eclipse:

  • Montgomery Co. father planning 5-hour drive for ‘awe-inspiring’ view of eclipse
  • What to know about next week’s total solar eclipse in the US, Mexico and Canada
  • Not in the path of totality? You can still watch Monday’s total solar eclipse online
  • Where to buy solar eclipse glasses as fakes and counterfeits emerge

In 2017, the first total solar eclipse in nearly a century swept coast to coast in the U.S. As far as lessons learned from that solar event: highways in the path of totality were “very congested” both during and after totality, Dildine said.

“If you think about how bad traffic is getting to like a Nats Phillies game, or a big concert at Jiffy Lube Live, amplify that for the population of multiple metro areas and then stretch that demand across a thin line,” Dildine said. “That’s what we’re talking about in 2017.”

Some eclipse-travelers sat in hourslong backups.

“Worse off were the travelers who wriggled into small confined areas like parks with limited access,” Dildine said.

Travel tips for eclipse

Dildine recommended drivers plan ahead to avoid some of that congestion.

“Try to give yourself multiple escape options near crossroads with capacity,” Dildine said. “Definitely arrive early and plan to leave late.”

At the very latest, he said D.C.-area residents should hit the road late Sunday.

“I think that it’s going to get awfully congested as you get closer and closer to the path of totality late Monday morning,” Dildine said.

And pack an overnight bag with essentials.

“It may sound dramatic but if you’re driving, bring a survival kit: bottled water, nonperishable food, a blanket, medication,” he said. “It’s possible that some people won’t get home Monday night and may have to spend the night in their car.”

The Federal Highway Administration recommended those in the path of totality avoid driving during the eclipse, which it said can cause “ major traffic issues .” Here are some tips from the administration for those who have to drive:

  • Headlights should be on
  • Don’t take photos and drive — get off the highway to watch the eclipse (no, don’t pull onto the roadway’s shoulder)

The Federal Highway Administration and Dildine emphasized that eclipse glasses (approved by the American Astronomical Society) are necessary for safely taking in the view without permanently damaging your eyes. But, while it may seem obvious, they reminded drivers that you can’t operate a motor vehicle while wearing those opaque lenses.

“Don’t look directly at the sun while you’re driving,” Dildine added, chuckling.

In other travel lessons learned from 2017, Dildine is picking his destination with the weather forecast in mind, maybe New England or Missouri based on predicted cloud cover. Last time around, Dildine was “crestfallen” when his view in Missouri was snatched away at the last moment when a patch of clouds drifted in, he said.

“It covered the sun right when the moon slipped over the disk. The clouds lifted as totality ended,” Dildine said. “This is going to be a redo and we’re determined to get it right this year.”

What about driving in the DC area?

Even though the D.C. area isn’t in the path of totality, local transportation officials still expect congestion on area roads from those looking to watch the partial eclipse.

Virginia’s Department of Transportation will put message boards up on highways while the eclipse is visible to remind drivers to be safe, according to its spokeswoman, Jessica Cowardin.

“We’re encouraging folks to keep their eyes open and eyes on the road, not to wear their solar eclipse glasses while they’re driving,” Cowardin said. “Please don’t pull over on the side of the road. If you’re playing to watch the Eclipse, make sure you have a safe place to park.”

WTOP’s Grace Newton contributed to this report.

Get breaking news and daily headlines delivered to your email inbox by signing up here .

© 2024 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

weekend trips around dc

Jessica Kronzer graduated from James Madison University in May 2021 after studying media and politics. She enjoys covering politics, advocacy and compelling human-interest stories.

  • @kronzer_news

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