Everyone needs a break from the monotonous life and residents of D.C. are no different. Thankfully, the citizens of the US Capital are quite lucky as they are surrounded by places for every mood. Yes, if you have any plans of traveling to D.C, make sure you go for a daytrip from Washington D.C. From national parks, lakes, mountains and ocean, everything is in within easy reach. The fascinating history of the small towns around is sure to leave you amazed. Here are the best day trips from Washington D.C. for beginners.
Shenandoah National Park in Virginia
One of the greatest advantages of traveling to Washington or living in the capital is that you are only an hour away from the scenic beauty of the famous Shenandoah National Park. It is among the best budget weekend trips from D.C. You will find hiking trails for every kind of adventurer. If you want to have an easy stroll, head towards the Dark Hollow Falls that leads to a beautiful waterfall. For something more challenging, go to Hawksbill Mountain that showcases an uphill trudge but it is worth taking this hike as the rewards are spectacular views (360degree views) of the national park from its highest peak. If you are lucky enough, you might spot a black bear. You can camp over night or book a room at Skyland or Big Meadows.
How to reach: The best way to reach Shenandoah is to drive. There are 3 gated entrances: Thornton Gap east of Luray; North Entrance at Front Royal; the South Entrance at Rockfish Gap. The closest gate from Washington D.C. is North Entrance – one hour drive. The entrance charge for each vehicle is around $25.
Annapolis in Maryland
Annapolis is one of the best day trips from D.C. for families. Maryland is known for its delicious blue crabs that are best enjoyed at one of the traditional crab shacks by the bucolic waterway. Try at Jimmy Cantler’s Riverside Inn, settled on the Mill Creek downtown Annapolis. The large bucket of crabs (boiled) will be strewn across the community table. The waiters will make you learn to eat the crabs doused with Old Bay Spice. If you don’t want to do the hard work, just order a crab cake sandwich. Walk down the downtown Annapolis post food and explore the housing art galleries, the buildings of colonial era, and the clothing stores and if your hunger still not sufficed, head to the local eateries. If interested, you can even walk near the US Naval Academy absorbing the highlights of the Chapel where John Paul Jones was buried. You can also know about the history of US Navy and its greatest moments.
How to Reach: Annapolis is just at a short distance of 30 minutes’ drive from Washington D.C. East via US 50.
Virginia’s Northern Neck
Maryland may fascinate you with the crabs but the oysters in Virginia are no less tempting. The Northern Neck in Virginia shows how the juicy bivalves influence the aspects of local life. Northern Neck Virginia is among the best weekend trips from D.C. You will come across artwork related to oysters at White Stone’s Allure Art Center, see the oyster-inspired jewelry in Burkes Fine Jewelers and it doesn’t end here, there is a historical overview of oystering in Reedville Fishermen’s Museum. Visit Dog & Oyster Vineyard at Irvington to see their special wine and oyster pairing. You can spend a night at Tides Inn and sample their patent Angry Oyster and participate in Virginia Oyster Academy. If you are too lazy to do anything, you can simply chill by the creek. How to Reach: The Northern Neck is situated south of D.C and it is a 3 hour drive from the US capital.
Civil War History at Harpers Ferry in West Virginia
Natural beauty and history is a winning combination and not many places can showcase it better than the Harpers Ferry in West Virginia. Located at the confluence of Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers, the area is encompassed by oak-covered mountains. It is indeed a view to behold! If you are out with your partner and both of you are history buffs and adventure lovers, hiking through the Civil War History with each other will be no less than a perfect romantic day trip from D.C. One of the most popular trails in the region is the Maryland Heights trail leading to a magnificent peninsula overlooking the whole town. Save some time for the amazing John Brown Museum after taking a walking tour of the historic area of John Brown’s dramatic story of staging the Civil War. Do not confuse John Brown Museum with John Brown Wax Museum. These are two different areas to explore.
How to Reach: Reaching Harpers Ferry from Washington D.C. takes only 90 minutes. Drive towards Northwest of Washington D.C via US 340 and I-270.