Six Worthwhile Daytrip Destinations In The Area Surrounding Washington D.C.

by admin

The best way to select a vacation destination that the whole family will enjoy is to take an in-depth look at what the location has to offer.  When every member of the family is entertain and interested, it is easy to describe the vacation as a complete success.  Washington D.C. is one of those rare locations that seems to offer something for everyone.  From historical attractions to natural areas and more, Washington D.C. seems to have it all.

For those that are a little pickier though and feel they need a little more than the capital of the United States has to offer, there is another positive characteristic that the city brings to the table of vacationers that travel there. Washington D.C. is not merely a great vacation destination in it’s own right.  It also has the added bonus of being located very near to a number of other wonderful things to see and do that will only enhance a traveler’s time in the area.  Simply breaking free from the city and driving to one of these great outlying destinations for a day trip, or even an overnighter, can make a vacation to Washington D.C. even better than it was already going to be.

With that in mind, here are six worthwhile destination in the area surrounding Washington D.C.

Gettysburg National Military Park

One of the most important and famous battles of the American Civil War was the Battle of Gettysburg.  Today, much of that battlefield has been preserved in the form of Gettysburg National Military Park and the Gettysburg National Cemetery.  Some of the interesting places to see within the area are the site of the famous Pickett’s Charge, Little Round Top, Big Round Top, Cemetery Hill, Cemetery Ridge, and Devel’s Den. 

Gettysburg National Military Park is just over two hours drive from Washington D.C. and compliments the tours and history of the nation’s capital very well.  There are a number of monuments and memorials that have been erected in various parts of the battlefield, and much of the area is prominently labeled for those wanting to go on self-guided tours.  There is also a fine museum located there that offers everything from the opportunity to see artifacts from the battle, a documentary film, and even a gift shop.


Located very near to Washington D.C. is the city of Balimore, Maryland.  Baltimore is an active city with a long and fascinating history.  The city is right on the Chesapeake Bay, making it a wonderful port city to explore.  The waterfront there is fabulous with a great many shopping, dining, and entertainment opportunities.  Some of the great things to see and do in this neighbor to the nation’s capital are the Fort McHenry National Monument, Walters Art Museum, USS Constellation, Top of the World Observation Level and Museum, National Cryptologic Museum, the Inner Harbor, Federal Hill Park, and the National Aquarium in Baltimore.

 Baltimore even has professional sporting events available as it is home to Major League Baseball’s Baltimore Orioles and the National Football League’s Baltimore Ravens.  A visit to Baltimore can be a fun breat for anyone visiting Washington D.C.

Manassas National Battlefield Park

Another of the important American Civil War sites in the immediate vicinity of Washington D.C.  This preserved area actually protects what is the site of two Civil War battles as both the First Battle of Bull Run and the Second Battle of Bull Run were fought there.  The beauty of the surrounding Virginia countryside can often make it difficult to envision this area embroiled in a bitter and bloody battle.  There are a number of important statues, memorials, and monuments placed about the site now that help to tell the history that happened there.  There are also fascinating historical buildings that still stand, much as they did in the mid 1860s when the area was made famous during the war between the states. 

Visitors coming to Manassas National Battlefield Park should pay a visit to Henry Hill Visitor Center which is near the park’s south entrance.  Here they will be able to learn the story of how the park came to be, what happened there during the war, and even see exhibits of actual artifacts from that time.


Just a little more than two hours away from Washington D.C. is another important American East Coast city, Philadelphia.  There are few cities in the country that have more historical ties to their nation’s beginnings than the city of Philadelphia.  Philadelphia was where both the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution was signed.  The city also served as the capital of the United States from 1780 to 1790 before it was moved to the newly constructed city of Washington D.C. 

The city of Philadelphia offers a number of important historical sites for visitors that come its way including the Liberty Bell, Civil War Library and Museum, Independence Hall, and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier of the American Revolution.  The city also offers other great things to do including experiencing the historic waterfront district, eating at any of the many fine restaurants that the city has to offer, visiting some of the most beautiful urban parks in the area, and searching out and making use of some truly great shopping opportunities.

Chesapeake Bay

The Chesapeake Bay is a large inlet of water from the Atlantic Ocean that offers a number of different types of experiences.  Visitors coming to Washington D.C. can venture out onto the water via boat tours offering everything from sailing experiences, to fishing trips, and even general sightseeing.  There are also a number of great cities worth visiting that line the shores of Chesapeake Bay and the surrounding area including Baltimore, Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Hampton, Newport News, and more.  Along the shores there are many national, state, and local parks that can enhance the experience for those seeking to enjoy the great outdoors. 

One specific man made feature of Chesapeake Bay that is a once in a lifetime experience for many people from outside the area is the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel which stretches all the way across Chesapeake Bay, a distance of 23 miles, and connects the Delmarva Peninsula with southeastern Virginia.  There are two tunnels on the bridge that take the traveler down below the surface of the water to the bottom of the bay before emerging a short distance later.  The Chesapeake Bay, all of it, is absolutely gorgeous and a very popular vacation destination.

Shenandoah National Park

Located a short distance to the west of Washington D.C. is Shenandoah National Park.  The park is one of the more popular outdoor attractions in the state of Virginia and encompasses part of the famous Blue Ridge Mountains.  The park was created in the mid 1920s and opened to the public in 1935.  The rolling hills of the Shenandoah River Valley set against the low surrounding mountains are simply stunning and a popular destination for both those that enjoy beautiful scenery as well as photographers. 

Camping is a popular activity in the park and there are both established and developed campgrounds, as well as back country camping available.    Skyland Resort and Big Meadows are two lodges that can be found within the park and make for a great overnight stay.   There are a number of other sights to see too including the Harry F. Byrd Visitor Center, Rapidan Camp which was a presidential fishing retreat of Herbert Hoover, a great many waterfalls, and part of the Appalachian Trail. 

One of the most popular things to experience is Skyline Drive, a more than 100 mile long road that travels the entire length of Shenandoah National Park.  The road mostly stays along the ridgeline of the Blue Ridge Mountains and offers a wonderful amount of opportunities to appreciate the local scenery.

Travel on Expedia

For discounted washington vacations use an expedia coupon code for the best savings. An expedia coupon deal can give you the best discounts available.  Expedia offers hotel, flight, car rental booking all in one place. It is a one stop destination for any traveler’s needs. 

For most people, Washington D.C. has more than enough to offer to fill up any vacation itinerary.  For someone who feels that they don’t want to spend their entire vacation time there though, it is very easy to mix up the experience a little and spend a day, or even longer, in one of the many wonderful areas that surround the city.  It doesn’t matter which direction a traveler heads from Washington D.C., they will be sure to find a fun and interesting location at the other end of the road.  One of the true strengths of the nation’s capital is the tremendous amount of resources, both natural and man made, that sit within an easy few hour drive from it.  Visiting Washington D.C. for a vacation is a smart choice that any traveler should be proud of making.  Taking the added step of visiting the area surrounding the city will only have the effect of making the vacation even better.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: