5 easy must-do weekend trips from Washington, DC

Published by: BouncePosted
Weekend trips from Washington, DC

The capital city of the USA, Washington, DC, doesn't exactly lack things to do. In fact, this government city is home to some of the most iconic buildings in the nation, including the White House, the Senate, and the Washington Monument. This is also a historic town where you can learn more about the history of the presidents who made the country what it is today. Plus, Washington is also home to some fantastic restaurants, great places to shop, and just about every other kind of experience you could want on a vacation.

However, Washington is also close to some really amazing places to explore on weekend getaways. And with one of the best public transportation networks in the US, it's easy to plan a weekend getaway from here.

There are some obvious weekend getaways from Washington, including Arlington National Cemetery and Gettysburg, with its rich Civil War history. Then there are major cities within easy reach, such as Baltimore, Philadelphia, and even New York City.

However, there are also some good options for a weekend getaway from Washington, DC, that you may not have considered. Often, the best weekend getaways are to places a little off the beaten path where you can really enjoy yourself and experience something new. With that in mind, we've put together some of the best weekend getaways in the Washington area so that you can see what lies beyond the capital city itself.

But before heading out on your relaxing weekend getaway, don't forget to leave your bags behind at a Bounce luggage storage in Washington, DC. Traveling light will make it much easier to enjoy these weekend getaways while you leave the bags behind.

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Chesapeake Bay weekend trips from Washington

Chesapeake Bay

Located close to the capital, the Chesapeake Bay area nevertheless provides you an opportunity to get away from it all and enjoy the wilder side of the region. Several small coastal towns make charming places to explore, and this is easily one of the best weekend getaways from Washington for nature lovers.

Distance from Washington, DC:

The town of Chesapeake Beach is only 35 miles from Washington, DC, so you can get there in around 40 minutes by car. This town is even accessible by public transport, served by bus route 820 from the capital. However, it's good to have a car in this region so you can explore the many towns along the shores of the Chesapeake Bay.

Our activity recommendations:

Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum: Located in St. Michael's, Maryland, this fascinating museum tells the story of life on the Chesapeake Bay through the ages. Covering 18 acres, this museum lets you haul a crab pot out of the water and learn more about the oyster industry on the Bay, among other aspects of the history of the area. Don't miss the Floating Fleet, the museum's massive collection of authentic Chesapeake Bay boats that you can explore for yourself.

Academy Art Museum: In the town of Easton, this fascinating art museum is a great place to explore the work of local artists. The permanent collection contains work by both American and European artists like Robert Rauschenberg and Martin Puryear, and you'll be able to explore the effect this landscape has had on the fields of painting, photography, and sculpture. The museum also hosts many workshops for children where they can create their own artistic masterpieces on a memorable weekend getaway.

Take a cruise: There's probably no better way to experience the Chesapeake Bay than from the water. Find time in your weekend getaway to take a cruise of the bay itself, and you'll get a much richer experience of this beautiful place. There are several different cruises to choose from, so you can go on an informative historical cruise or enjoy a sunset cruise with drinks and dancing. Whatever you choose, it's bound to be a highlight of weekend getaways from Washington.

Best season to visit:

Summer is the best time for outdoor activities like hiking and boating. However, Chesapeake Bay has its own sullen and stormy beauty in the winter, so while the weather may not be conducive to cruising at this time of year, it's still a great time to visit.

Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah National Park

Undoubtedly one of the best weekend getaways for nature lovers, this beautiful national park is easily reached from Washington, DC, even if it feels a world away.

Distance from Washington DC:

There are several entrances to this large national park. The town of Shenandoah itself is around 111 miles from Washington, DC, reachable by car in just over two hours.

Our activity recommendations:

Hiking: Shenandoah National Park is absolutely packed with incredible hiking trails that are perfect for an active weekend getaway. There are over 500 miles of trails in the park, ranging in difficulty from an easy stroll to challenging multi-day expeditions. Some of the most popular include the trail to Blackrock Summit or a section of the Appalachian Trail to Fort Windham Rocks.

Skyline Drive: For an easier way to see some of the best of Shenandoah National Park, follow Skyline Drive, which runs for 100 miles north to south along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It takes around three hours to drive the entire road without stopping, but you'll probably want to pull over at several viewpoints and take in the magnificent views.

Wildlife viewing: Shenandoah National Park is home to many species of wildlife, including turtles, bald eagles, beavers, raccoons, and bears. Take care when hiking the trails in the park, and you may come across all kinds of wild animals. Just remember to keep your distance and respect the animal's wildness.

Best season to visit:

Summer is the obvious time to visit the park and explore the hiking trails in the warm weather. However, driving the Skyline in the fall can be a majestic experience thanks to the vibrant colors of the changing leaves. Alternatively, in spring, the rivers and waterfalls of the park are the most spectacular as the snow melts.

Weekend trip from Washington to Middleburg, VA

Middleburg, VA

Established by a colonel during the Revolutionary War, Middleburg was the scene of two skirmishes during the Civil War. Located at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Middleburg is a great gateway to the great outdoors and a perfect weekend trip from Washington, DC.

Distance from Washington, DC:

Middleburg lies 42 miles east of the capital, so you can reach it by car in around an hour.

Our activity recommendations:

National Sporting Library & Museum: Middleburg is known as Virginia's horse and hunt capital and has been a popular spot for outdoor sports for well over 100 years. The National Sporting Library is a museum to outdoor pursuits like foxhunting, polo, shooting, steeplechase, and horse racing. This is a fascinating place for anyone who has an interest in outdoor sports, and the museum also hosts many educational programs throughout the year.

Cana Vineyards: Middleburg is also known for wine production. Cana is just one of the many vineyards you'll find in the area, but it's a fantastic place to visit if you're a fan of wine. Enjoy views of the Blue Ridge Mountains from the tasting room while you sample vintages from this popular winery, and you'll be getting your weekend getaway off to a great start.

Salamander Resort: This sprawling wellness resort is a perfect place to recharge your batteries. Along with a spa that has 14 different treatment rooms, the resort also has its own stables and riding area so you can explore on horseback. There's also an incredible restaurant serving up a menu of fresh local food, making this an exceptional place to relax.

Best season to visit:

There's no bad time to visit here. If you want to get outdoors, then winter may be best avoided, but it's not hard to stay out of the cold when there are so many wineries and such a great spa in the area.

Weekend trip from Washington to Alexandria


Incredibly close to Washington on the banks of the Potomac River, Alexandria, VA, is easily one of the most popular weekend getaways from Washington, DC. The historic buildings of this nearby town are perfect for a romantic weekend getaway, and you'll find plenty to like as you explore the historic district of the town.

Distance from Washington, DC:

Just eight miles from the center of Washington, Alexandria can be reached with a drive of 20 minutes. You can also get there by bus, though this will take closer to an hour.

Our activity recommendations:

King Street Mile: Historic charm is a big part of the appeal of this town. Alexandria is rightly famous for its King Street Mile, a charming historic district in the center of the city that is a great place to shop and dine in independent local businesses. Take a ride on the King Street Trolley, and you'll feel like you've taken a step back in time to a more laid-back era of American history.

Explore history: Alexandria predates the American Revolution. You can learn more about the rich history of the town and its historic buildings, including Carlyle House, Barrett Library, and Gadsby's Tavern Museum, a place that hosted the first five presidents of the United States. It's kind of surprising to learn about the huge impact this small town has had on the history of the US.

Spite House: The skinniest historic house in the US, the Spite House was, indeed, built for spite, to keep loiterers out of the adjacent alley. Now, this colorful house makes for a fantastic photo opportunity, and the story behind it is all part of the charm.

Best season to visit:

There's no bad time to visit this town. Alexandria has enough to do to keep you happy in any season.

Weekend trip from Washington, DC, to Harpers Ferry

Harpers Ferry

Located in West Virginia, the town of Harpers Ferry also has a rich history that makes it a great place to explore on a weekend getaway. But its location on the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers makes it an excellent base for outdoor activities, too.

Distance from Washington, DC:

It's 67 miles from Washington, DC, to Harpers Ferry, so expect to drive for a little over an hour. This is one of the few weekend getaways you can reach from Washington, DC, by public transport, too, since a train from Washington Union Station can take you to Harpers Ferry in about an hour.

Our activity recommendations:

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park: This park by the riverside allows you to take a trip back in time to a bygone era of West Virginia. Harpers Ferry National Historical Park has several interesting sites to visit in one location, including a Museum of Industry, a re-created blacksmith shop, the Marshal's office, and John Brown's fort.

Hike to Jefferson Rock: Located on a section of the Appalachian Trail, this rock formation was visited in 1783 by Thomas Jefferson. Now, it offers some historical interest to a beautiful hike through this part of West Virginia.

Harpers Ferry Toy Train Museum & Joy Line Railroad: A great option for kids, this toy museum allows you to ride on a miniature train and explore the toys of the past in its impressive toy train collection.

Best season to visit:

The warm months of summer offer the best opportunities for outdoor recreation along the Potomac River, but the historic interest of this West Virginia town means there's really no bad time to visit.

Best weekend trips from Washington, DC


There's more than enough in Washington, DC, itself to keep you busy, and if you only have three days or so in the city, you'll want to focus on all the incredible attractions it offers. However, with a little longer to spend in the region, it would be a shame not to take advantage of some of these great things to do. Along with the best day trips from Washington, DC, these weekend getaways give you the opportunity to see more of what makes this region of the United States so special.

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