Get away from Washington, DC for a weekend filled with romantic views, relaxing spa treatments and outdoor activities.
Unwind surrounded by nature in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains, explore the sandy beaches of Virginia Beach, relax in a room overlooking the Chesapeake Bay, visit historic attractions in Arlington, or check into a stylish inn in Annapolis.
1. Salamander Resort & Spa - 1 hour from DC
© Courtesy of Justin Kriel
Salamander Resort & Spa, an hour from the city, features fabulous decor, a relaxing spa and many great activities.
One of the top spa weekend getaways from DC, the 23,000-square-foot Salamander Spa provides a luxurious space where guests can unwind and rejuvenate.
The spa has a dedicated infinity edge pool with poolside cabanas which is only open to spa guests, perfect for outdoor relaxation in the summer.
If you are planning a romantic weekend getaway from Washington D.C., call ahead and book the stunning couples spa suite.
Guests are accommodated in classically inspired guest rooms and suites with scenic views of the Virginia countryside.
500 North Pendleton Street, Middleburg, VA 20117, Phone: 844-303-2723
2. Weekend Getaways from DC: Chesapeake Bay - The Inn at Perry Cabin - 1 hour 30 minutes from DC
© The Inn at Perry Cabin
Enjoy scenic views of the Chesapeake Bay from the elegant Inn at Perry Cabin, located 90 mintues from Washington D.C. The One-Bedroom Bi-Level Suites are the most romantic, offering river views and a spacious downstairs living area.
Linden Spa uses a line of organic products and has a beautiful infinity-edge pool surrounded by a flower garden, perfect for letting your stress melt away. Take a walk through the manicured gardens featuring old magnolia, holly and cypress trees.
The inn has a Kitchen Garden which grows herbs and lettuce used in preparing delicious meals at Sherwood's Landing restaurant and at the old world-style Purser's Pub.
Borrow one of the complimentary bicycles at the inn and explore the picturesque surroundings.
308 Watkins Lane, St. Michaels, MD 21663, Phone: 410-745-2200
3. Getaway from DC: Washington, VA - Foster Harris House - 1 hour 20 minutes
© Foster Harris House
Foster Harris House in Washington, VA, combines a passion for good food and a love of cycling to offer a unique retreat surrounded by some of Virginia's best vineyards.
Explore this beautiful area on one of the fantastic Tour d’Epicure cycling tours led by Foster Harris House owners John and Diane MacPherson.
Five guestrooms are elegantly furnished in a French Provençal-style with gleaming wooden floors, ornate beds dressed in fine linens, open fireplaces and spacious en-suite bathrooms with spa showers.
Rooms offer lovely views of the gardens, meadows and the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance.
A lavish four-course breakfast is served in the morning, and dinner is a sublime affair where Chef John fuses fresh local organic ingredients with inspired flavors and colors from around the world to produce world-class cuisine.
Virginia’s finest vintages accompany you on this culinary journey. Explore the countryside, relax in the tranquil gardens, and visit the surrounding wine estates.
189 Main Street, Washington, VA 22747, Phone: 540-675-3757
4. Romantic Getaways from DC: Glen Gordon Manor - 1 hour 20 minutes
© Glen Gordon Manor
Set on 45 acres of pristine landscapes overlooking the Shenandoah National Park, Glen Gordon Manor is a stately lodge with lavish accommodations, gourmet cuisine, and a luxury spa.
Located eight miles from the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, the elegant manor house features elegant suites with refined décor, antique furnishings, romantic four-poster beds with deluxe linens, en-suite bathrooms, mini-fridges, iPads, and complimentary wireless Internet.
A complimentary gourmet breakfast is served every morning, and a fine dining restaurant serves international cuisine and fine wines from around the world.
1482 Zachary Taylor Hwy, Huntly, VA 22640, Phone: 540-636-6010
5. Goodstone Inn & Restaurant, a Romantic Getaway from Washington, DC - 1 hour driving time
© Goodstone Inn & Restaurant
Goodstone Inn & Restaurant is a charming, romantic Virginia country inn only about an hour from Washington, DC.
Located at the foot of the magnificent Blue Ridge Mountains on a 265-acre estate in Middleburg, Virginia, the inn has six historic guest houses with 18 luxurious rooms and suites, all beautifully decorated in French and English Country style.
The inn’s celebrated restaurant offers superb farm-to-table gourmet meals prepared with greatest care with fresh, seasonal ingredients grown on the Goodstone’s own farm and gardens. Wine aficionados would not be disappointed with the inn’s selection of 1,500 bottles from all over the world.
The inn’s expansive gardens and surrounding estate offer numerous trails for a pleasant stroll or invigorating hike. A Goose Creek is a perfect spot for a fun canoe trip, followed by a nice picnic packed by the inn’s attentive staff.
36205 Snake Hill Road, Middleburg, VA 20117, Phone: 877-219-4663
6. Turf Valley - 50 minute Weekend Getaways from Washington, DC
© Turf Valley
Turf Valley in Ellicott City is a getaway for couples and families, set amongst Maryland’s picturesque rolling hills. Two 18-hole golf courses and an onsite pro shop make Turf Valley a golfer’s dream. The resort has three tennis courts, a fitness center, basketball and volleyball courts, nature trails and swimming pools. The Spa at Turf Valley offers a diverse choice of treatments, an indoor pool, saunas and a romantic spa suite for couples.
The 172 guest rooms and suites are luxuriously appointed, complete with scenic balconies, free Wi-Fi and Keurig coffee makers. Family-friendly guest villas have two or three bedrooms and full kitchens. Alexandra’s American Fusion restaurant serves gourmet seafood dishes, an incredible Sunday Brunch buffet and many innovative children’s menu items.
Outdoor activities abound, with easy access to a range of water sports.
2700 Turf Valley Road, Ellicott City, MD 21042, Phone: 410-465-1500
7. Romantic Primland for Couples - 5 hours and 30 minutes
Primland in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains is an awesome getaway with its own observatory, spectacular views and unique guest accommodations, including Tree Houses that let you experience what it's like to live above the trees. These tree houses are luxurious, complete with a flat panel TV, 400-thread count Frette sheets and a bathroom with a soaking tub. The Observatory at Primland is located far from city lights at the top of the mountain, letting you see some of the best night sky on the East Coast. The resort has a Celestron CGE Pro 1400 series telescope in its own Observatory Dome. Resident astronomers are available for presentations during your stay. You can plan you visit during a Star Master Weekend, scheduled around special celestial events.
In addition to the Tree Houses, the hotel offers romantic Fairway Cottages set along the golf course, Mountain Homes as well as rooms and suites at the Lodge. The hotel has been eco-conscious from the beginning, treasuring the beautiful surrounding forests and wildlife, including whitetail deer, wild turkeys, several species of trout, colorful birds and flowers. The hotel is a LEED registered property. On your weekend getaway from Washington D.C., enjoy relaxing treatments at the spa, play golf, go fly fishing, bird watching and walk around the beautiful property.
2000 Busted Rock Road, Meadows of Dan, VA 24120, Phone: 866-960-7746
8. The Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Resort, a Weekend Getaway for Families
© The Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Resort
The Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Resort encompasses 400 acres, perfectly situated on the banks of the Choptank River. The 400 spacious guest rooms and suites offer luxurious comfort, modern conveniences, and balconies with views of the marina, pool or river. Facilities include indoor and outdoor swimming pools, the River Marsh Golf Club, tennis courts, and the Sago Spa & Salon. Frisbee golf and beach volleyball are fun for parents, while kids enjoy time at Camp Hyatt. The full service Marina makes sailing and fishing a breeze.
Blue Point Provision boasts water views and local seafood specialties. The Water’s Edge Grill offers casual dining choices. Dock’s Poolside serves lunch, snacks, and cocktails poolside. Eagles Nest Bar & Grill and the River Marsh Gastropub offer golf course views and casual dining options.
Guests can head into Cambridge for entertainment, sporting events, museums and local attractions.
100 Heron Blvd. at Route 50, Cambridge, MD 21613, Phone: 410-901-1234
9. Getaways from DC for Couples: The Cavalier Virginia - 3 hours 20 min
© The Cavalier
The Cavalier is a sophisticated beachfront hotel in Virginia Beach, about 4 miles from the Cape Henry Lighthouse and the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center.
The hotel is located in the historic 1927 seven-story building designed by Jeff and Thompson, with an innovative Y-design that allows most of the rooms to enjoy ocean views.
All rooms have lavish private bathrooms, elegant furniture, colorful accents, and original artwork. They are equipped with free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs. Suites have living rooms and sofas and some even have a six-person work space.
Guests enjoy a large indoor pool, a gym, and a hot tub. There is also a gourmet restaurant, a cozy tavern, a guest lounge, event space, and a beautifully landscaped garden.
4200 Atlantic Ave, Virginia Beach, VA 23451, Phone: 757-425-8555
10. The Annapolis Inn, a Weekend Getaway from DC - 40 minutes
© The Annapolis Inn
Standing gracefully on the prestigious Prince George Street in the heart of the historic district of Annapolis, the Annapolis Inn exudes a timeless elegance and charm. Surrounded by stately historic mansions, this luxurious inn will appeal to discerning guests looking for a quiet escape. Three exquisitely appointed suites are individually decorated to reflect a bygone era of opulence and grandeur. Ornate king-sized beds are dressed in imported linens, elegant silk drapery covers large sash windows, and en-suite bathrooms feature lavish marble bathtubs.
Begin the day with a complimentary breakfast before heading out to explore the historic streets of Annapolis. Nearby attractions include the US Naval Academy, St. John’s College, the City Dock, and the State Capital. A few blocks away you will find sailing, walking and garden tours, civic and cultural events, restaurants and shops.
144 Prince George St., Annapolis, MD 21401, Phone: 410-295-5200
11. Weekend Getaways from DC: Harpers Ferry - The Angler’s Inn - 1 hour 15 minutes
© The Angler’s Inn
The Angler’s Inn is a unique bed and breakfast located on the main street of the historic town of Harpers Ferry in West Virginia.
The wide porch and rocking chairs remind you of a bygone era and create a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Individually decorated guestrooms are spacious and light, with private sitting rooms, large comfortable beds, and lovely en-suite bathrooms.
Amenities include air-conditioning, Wi-Fi and bathrobes. A delicious homemade breakfast and fresh coffee is served in the morning. In the evening, dine at one of the restaurants and bars in the area.
The historic town of Harper’s Ferry offers many activities, from hiking, biking, a variety of water sports on the river, and relaxing at one of the local vineyards.
867 W Washington Street, Harpers Ferry, WV 25425, Phone: 304-535-1239
12. Weekend Getaways from DC: Shepherdstown, WV - The Bavarian Inn - 1 hour 30 minutes
© The Bavarian Inn
Perched high on a bluff with magnificent views over the Potomac River, the Bavarian Inn in Shepherdstown, WV is a romantic country getaway with classical European decor.
Owned by the Asam family, the inn offers warm hospitality, gourmet dining and outstanding service. Beautifully appointed Alpine-style chalets house 72 luxurious suites, graced with large sitting areas, gas fireplaces, and indulgent whirlpool baths, while rich furnishings and modern amenities add a glamorous touch.
Relax next to the azure infinity pool that rests on the edge of the bluff overlooking the river. The Greystone Mansion serves a fusion of German and American cuisine next to romantic stone fireplaces.
164 Shepherd Grade Road, Shepherdstown, WV 25443, Phone: 304-876-2551
13. The Tides Inn
© The Tides Inn
Serenely located on a tributary of Chesapeake Bay, The Tides Inn can be reached in just 2 hours from Washington DC. The resort is surrounded by water on three sides, offering the whole family an immersive waterside getaway. The inn is intimately involved in various programs to revitalize the ecology of the area and visitors are welcome to join a workshop and learn more about the vital role played by such waterways. When you are not learning about the water you can be enjoying it by kayak, canoe or sailboats. The inn has a large outdoor pool area and a small beach. Other family activities include lawn games, bird-watching, nature walks and cycling. There are two onsite restaurants to enjoy.
480 King Carter Drive, Irvington, VA 22480, 804 438 5000
14. Weekend Getaways Near Me: Gibson’s Lodgings of Annapolis – 40 minutes
© Gibson’s Lodgings of Annapolis
Resting in the heart of Annapolis just steps away from the City Dock and the US Naval Academy, the classic 18th Century Georgian-style of Gibson’s Lodgings offers an ideal setting for exploring the city. Spread over three different houses, the property offers 20 well-appointed and comfortably furnished guestrooms.
Large en-suite bedrooms with ornate décor and modern amenities are warm and welcoming. Each house offers spacious sitting areas and kitchens for added convenience.
A delicious continental breakfast is served each morning in the Patterson House dining room. Gibson’s Lodgings is within walking distance of many activities and attractions, including art galleries, museums, theaters, heritage homes, and festivals.
The closest beach to DC, Sandy Point State Park in Maryland, is an easy drive from Gibson’s Lodgings.
You can also participate in an array of sports including fishing, golfing and biking in the spring, summer and fall.
110 Prince George Street, Annapolis, MD 21401, Phone: 877-330-0057
15. Virginia Crossings Hotel and Conference Center
Forming part of the Hilton Tapestry Collection of hotels, the Virginia Crossings Hotel is nestled in 20 acres of carefully manicured gardens and open spaces. The hotel benefits from a classic and elegant façade which sets the ambiance for your visit. The guestrooms and suites are spaciously proportioned and elegant, and all rooms feature little luxuries like Keurig coffee machines and luxury bath products from Crabtree & Evelyn. Some of the rooms have whirlpool baths. The hotel has a fitness center and a seasonal outdoor pool and hot tub. The onsite Tavern and the Glen Restaurant will take care of all your dining requirements.
1000 Virginia Center Parkway, Glen Allen, VA 23059, 804 727 1400
16. Weekend Getaways from DC: The Wisp Resort - 2 hours 50 minutes
© The Wisp Resort
The Wisp Resort in McHenry, MD is a picturesque ski-in/ski-out resort on 172 acres. The 67 guest rooms and 102 suites are equipped with the comforts of home. There is plenty of skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling in the winter. Warmer weather activities include golf, hiking, biking, swimming, and kayaking on the river or lake. Diverse activities for kids ensure that adults can have plenty of time on the slopes.
DC’s Bar & Restaurant offers a rustic atmosphere and casual dining. Wispers Mountainside Bar is a laid-back sports bar, offering standard fare. Pumphouse Café serves offerings that include soups, sweet treats and coffee. Mountain Park Café serves hot dogs, pizza, and other favorites, while the Food Court offers grilled favorites, salads and sandwiches. Ideal for a weekend getaway, family reunion, or wedding, the Wisp Resort is a great ski destination from DC.
296 Marsh Hill Road, Mchenry, MD 21541, Phone: 301-859-3159
17. The Jefferson Hotel in Richmond - 1 hour and 50 minutes
© The Jefferson Hotel
Located in the heart of Richmond, the historic Jefferson Hotel has been awarded both the Mobil Five Star and the AAA Five Diamond ratings. This grand hotel originally opened in 1895.
If you are looking for ideas for quick city breaks in a historic setting, this hotel features soaring ceilings, a beautiful staircase, rich tapestries and faux-marble columns.
Some of the luxuries one can look forward to while staying at the Jefferson Hotel are complimentary town cars which will take you to downtown Richmond attractions, 24-hour concierge service and 24-hour room service.
The indoor swimming pool is beautifully designed with overhead skylights and a sundeck. The hotel has a 3,400-square-foot fitness center and a full service hair salon.
All of the 264 guest rooms and suites have high ceilings and custom designed mahogany armoires, heavy draperies and carpets. You will luxuriate in Frette linens and bathrobes, down duvets and Molton Brown bath amenities. Complimentary wireless high-speed internet access in the rooms is very convenient. There are two restaurants: Lemaire and T.J.'s. The 158-seat Lemaire is Richmond's only AAA Five Diamond restaurant.
101 West Franklin St, Richmond, VA 23220, Phone: 804-649-4750
18. Romantic Getaways from DC: The Craddock Terry Hotel - 3 hours 20 minutes
© The Craddock Terry Hotel
A stylish, contemporary hotel in the heart of Lynchburg, the Craddock Terry Hotel is steeped in history and charm. Once a well-known show company and factory, today the hotel pays homage to its origins with special touches like the quirky shoe-shaped signs to label each guestroom and a delicious continental breakfast tucked into an old-fashioned wooden shoeshine box and served in your room. A unique collection of shoe memorabilia further echoes the building’s unique heritage, as well as modern artwork and historical accents.
High ceilings and unique architectural elements in each of the 44 guestrooms merge with plush décor, spacious sitting rooms, en-suite bathrooms, and breathtaking views to create tranquil and cozy abodes. Modern amenities add creature comforts, such as Keurig coffee makers, cable television, wireless Internet and deluxe bathrobes. Head to the Bluffwalk Center to relax and enjoy superb dining and drinks the city’s only microbrewery and two award-winning restaurants. The Shoemakers American Grille serves excellent steak, seafood and ribs in a chic, uptown ambiance, while the Waterstone takes Italian cuisine to new heights with delicious wood-fired pizza and grilled Panini in a unique setting.
1312 Commerce Street, Lynchburg, VA 24504, Phone: 434-455-1500
19. Weekend Getaways from DC: Morrison House in Old Town Alexandria - 20 minutes
© Morrison House
Morrison House in Old Town Alexandria, is a Kimpton hotel offering guests luxury amenities, stylish guest rooms and old-world-style design. The property is close to the attractions of Washington DC and offers a free shuttle to and from Ronald Reagan National Airport. Guests receive complimentary morning coffee, tea and a hosted evening wine hour, giving them a chance to relax and meet other travelers. The Grille Restaurant is one of the best places to eat in town, serving an innovative menu which changes with the seasons. Head to the Piano Bar for cocktails, wine and traditional afternoon tea.
After a day of sightseeing and business meetings, enjoy in-room spa services featuring Kerstin Florian organic and eco-friendly products. Treatments include massages, facials or body therapies. In your room, you will find a yoga mat, giving you a chance to relax before and after the treatment. Explore the area by bike using one of the bikes provided by the hotel. The property can host wedding receptions of up to 125 guests in an elegant old-world-style setting.
116 South Alfred Stree, Alexandria, VA 22314, Phone: 866-834-6628
20. Hillbrook Inn, Charles Town, WV
© Hillbrook Inn
Located on more than 30 acres of land close to Harper’s Ferry, historic Hillbrook Inn is a very popular destination for a weekend getaway from Washington DC. You can reach Hillbrook Inn in around an hour and settle in for an elegant and relaxing getaway experience. The inn offers a variety of guestrooms and suites to suit all tastes from quirky and quaint to elegant and luxurious. Whichever option you choose, you will find yourself enveloped by West Virginia charm and hospitality. There are plenty of local attractions to explore but if you are in need of rest and relaxation you need look no further than the on-site Spa.
4490 Summit Point Rd, Charles Town, WV 25414, 304 725 4223
21. Harmony Hill Bed and Breakfast, Arrington, VA
© Harmony Hill Bed and Breakfast
Visitors who are searching for true country-style hospitality in the Blue Ridge region need look no further than the Harmony Hill B&B, located between Lynchburg and Charlotteville. The B&B has 6 rustic but stylish King Rooms where you can rest your head after a busy day of embracing the Great Outdoors. One of the rooms features luxuries like a fire place and hot-tub, perfect for celebrating a special occasion. Local activities include fishing, hiking, biking, beer and wine tasting, to name but a few. A mouth-watering breakfast is served every morning and there are several local restaurants where you can enjoy dinner.
929 Wilson Hill Rd, Arrington, VA 22922, 434 263 7750
22. Rod'n Reel Resort, Chesapeake Beach, MD
© New Africa/stock.adobe.com
Located on the Western Shore of Maryland, just a short drive from DC, the Rod ‘n Reel Resort is a great destination for a family getaway. The original resort dates back to the 1940’s, but a masterful renovation has fully updated the Rod ‘n Reel and made it a sought-after weekend destination. Visitors can enjoy a variety of slots and other gaming, enjoy regular live music concerts and dine at one of 4 eateries. The Rod ‘n Reel Marina offers canoe and kayak rentals, fishing and sight-seeing charters and more. After a busy day you can return to your comfortable and well-appointed guestroom or suite to unwind and relax.
4160 Mears Ave, Chesapeake Beach, MD 20732, 866 312 5596
23. Keswick Hall, Keswick, VA
© Keswick Hall
A perfect oasis of calm awaits you at the luxury Keswick Hall resort in Charlotteville, Virginia. The resort is set on a turn-of-the-century property which includes an 18-hole golf course, clay tennis courts, landscaped gardens and a wonderful infinity pool. The rooms and suites are the last word in elegant sophistication and most of them offer views out over the extensive estate. The sophisticated on-site restaurant is called the Marigold, led by Chef Jean-Georges, who is committed to using the freshest local seasonal produce to produce his fine-dining cuisine. Keswick Hall offer attractive packages which include daily breakfast and a 3-course dinner at Marigold.
701 Club Drive, Keswick, VA 22947, 434 979 3440
24. Boar's Head Resort, Charlottesville
© Boar's Head Resort
Celebrating the natural beauty of the Virginia landscape, the Boar’s Head Resort invites guests to come and enjoy the perfect marriage of outdoor adventure and after-action relaxation. The resort has 168 beautifully appointed guest rooms and suites, all of which offer extra little luxuries like in-room tablets, plush bedding, luxury bathrooms, robes and much more. If you can bear to leave the cocoon of your room you will find all kinds of outdoor adventures awaiting you. You can hike the resort’s trails, play a round of golf on one of the two courses, or enjoy a game of tennis, pickle ball or squash. Afterwards, you can relax at the spa before dining at one of 4 on-site eateries.
200 Ednam Drive, Charlottesville, VA 22903, 844 611 8066
25. The Mimslyn Inn
© The Mimslyn Inn
People come from near and far to enjoy true southern hospitality at the wonderful Mimslyn Inn in the Shenandoah Valley. Here you can choose to stay in a room or suite in the historic mansion or choose a larger cottage or home to suit the size of your family group. Whichever option you choose you can anticipate a warm and welcoming atmosphere enhanced by beautiful décor and all the modern necessities. You can spend your time exploring the Shenandoah National Park, the impressive Luray Caverns, play a round of golf or enjoy hiking, biking and paddling. You can dine in style at the Circa 31 restaurant or opt for casual fare at the Speakeasy Restaurant and Bar.
401 W. Main Street, Luray, VA 22835, 540 743 5105
The 35 Best Weekend Getaways from DC near me today according to local experts are:
- 1. Salamander Resort & Spa - 1 hour from DC
- 2. Weekend Getaways from DC: Chesapeake Bay - The Inn at Perry Cabin - 1 hour 30 minutes from DC
- 3. Getaway from DC: Washington, VA - Foster Harris House - 1 hour 20 minutes
- 4. Romantic Getaways from DC: 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 minute Weekend Getaways from Washington, DC
- 7. Romantic Primland for Couples - 5 hours and 30 minutes
- 8. The Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Resort, a Weekend Getaway for Families
- 9. Getaways from DC for Couples: The Cavalier Virginia - 3 hours 20 min
- 10. The Annapolis Inn, a Weekend Getaway from DC - 40 minutes
- 11. Weekend Getaways from DC: Harpers Ferry - The Angler’s Inn - 1 hour 15 minutes
- 12. Weekend Getaways from DC: Shepherdstown, WV - The Bavarian Inn - 1 hour 30 minutes
- 13. The Tides Inn
- 14. Weekend Getaways Near Me: Gibson’s Lodgings of Annapolis – 40 minutes
- 15. Virginia Crossings Hotel and Conference Center
- 16. Weekend Getaways from DC: The Wisp Resort - 2 hours 50 minutes
- 17. The Jefferson Hotel in Richmond - 1 hour and 50 minutes
- 18. Romantic Getaways from DC: The Craddock Terry Hotel - 3 hours 20 minutes
- 19. Weekend Getaways from DC: 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. The Mimslyn Inn
Weekend Getaways from DC: Arlington, VA
Most of us associate Arlington with the Arlington National Cemetery, which contains graves of American soldiers that died in the country’s wars ever since the Civil War. In the middle of the cemetery, among the thousands of white crosses, is the Arlington House, a beautiful Greek Revival Mansion which served as the former home of the Confederate General Robert E. Lee.
As you enter the Arlington Cemetery, you can see the Women in Military Service for America Memorial and at the back entrance there is an imposing United States Marine Corps War Memorial. You probably won’t be able to resist taking a tour of the Pentagon, the United States Department of Defense headquarters, but make sure you reserve a spot ahead of time. See Arlington’s softer side by visiting the Signature Theatre, to see classical and contemporary plays or musicals, and Synetic Theater, the city’s award-winning physical theater.
Annapolis, on the Chesapeake Bay, is known around the world as America's Sailing Capital and is a natural place to learn to sail on one of the many beautiful sailing boats. Another one of the city’s claim to fame is the US Naval Academy. Take a tour of this historic facility where the US Navy has been training its officers since 1845.
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.
Every visit to Alexandria naturally starts at its charming historic Old Town. To see most of it, hop on the free King Street Trolley, a colorful hybrid bus that allow you to hop on and off as you please. There are plenty of reasons to hop off such as the magnificent George Washington Masonic National Memorial, the elegant Carlyle House or stately Athenaeum, the former bank that now hosts the Museum of Fine Arts.
Stroll through the cobblestoned streets of the Old Alexandria to feel the spirit of George Washington, or go visit Mount Vernon, his plantation home and museum. Colorful and quirky Torpedo Factory Art Center with 82 artists’ studios will bring you back to the 21st century Alexandria, and so will the National Inventors Hall of Fame and Museum with more than 500 inductees. Get some fresh air and listen to the crickets and birds at the lush, green Huntley Meadows Park.
Visiting Charlottesville will allow you to compare the lifestyles of two former American presidents. Ash Lawn-Highland, the modest home of the fifth president James Monroe, is just next to the lavish Monticello mansion located on a 5000 acre plantation, home of the third president Thomas Jefferson. Strolling through the Historic Downtown Mall will bring you to the country’s nostalgic past, with its brick-paved streets and restored beautiful homes, quaint restaurants, shops and outdoor cafes.
Even among so much interesting architecture, the 1935 Thomas H. Bayly Memorial Building stands out. Today it hosts the Fralin Museum of Art with 13,000 art objects. For a very different architecture, and very different art, visit the stark, simple contemporary art gallery Les Yeux du Monde Art Gallery. Kids will love the interactive hands-on Virginia Discovery Museum where they can learn and discover through play.
Feel the history in every stone, building and monument in the beautiful historic Richmond. Stroll through the elegant Monument Avenue with the impressive, well-preserved architecture and imposing monuments. Get a sense of the Gilded Age on the tour of the spectacular Maymont Mansion and its mesmerizing gardens. The pristine white, stately Virginia State Capitol, completed in 1788, will take your breath away.
You will find more imposing architecture and beautiful green surroundings at the Science Museum of Virginia, where the content very much belongs to the 21st century and age of technology. Richmond’s National Battlefield Park, a site of 13 separate battles, is the site of some of Richmond’s darkest moments in history. A dinner at one of Richmond's romantic restaurants is not to be missed on your weekend trip from DC.
Besides its spectacular beaches and water activities, Virginia Beach is famous for being the place where the first English colonists landed in 1607. Today, the landing site is the popular First Landing State Park, where you can get your imagination soaring, have a splash in the clear waters or play some beach volleyball. The best way to see the heart of Virginia Beach is by strolling or biking along the three -miles long Virginia Beach Boardwalk, with its street performers, musicians, locals, tourists, kids and dogs all happily having fun together.
Visit the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center to see 12,000 animals that live in the clear blue waters that stretch to the horizon, or take a Rudee Flipper Dolphin Tour to see some of them in their natural habitat. Kids will love rides and slides at the Ocean Breeze Waterpark and you will enjoy a brief respite from the relentless sun at the shady, wild, unspoiled False Cape State Park.
A visit to Hershey is, after Disneyland, probably the best gift you can give to your kids. First, there is a visit to the Hershey's Chocolate World, where they can learn all about making chocolates and sample as much as their little stomachs can handle. More about chocolate can be found at the Hershey Story museum.
Take them for a stroll through the fragrant Hershey Gardens to walk off all those sweets, before unleashing them at the spectacular Hersheypark, with all sorts of rides, towers, theme parks and other attractions. If they, and you, still have some energy, take them to the Adventure Sports Family Entertainment, with video arcades, bumper boats, batting cages, go-karts, miniature golf and much more. After that, you will probably need some time at the Emerald Springs Spa. More weekend trips in Pennsylvania.
Taking a tour of the Naval Station Norfolk, the world’s largest naval station, where you will feel like you’re in an episode of NCIS. There are 14 piers, 11 aircraft hangars, 134 aircrafts and 75 ships to give you the sense of the country’s awesome naval power.
Complete your education at the Nauticus National Maritime Center with the Hampton Roads Naval Museum and its shark tank as well as the historic USS Wisconsin, a battleship that started serving the nation during World War II. Away from the navy world, visit the Virginia Zoo with more than 500 animals from all over the world, or stroll through the Norfolk Botanical Garden, with its Enchanted Garden and many other habitats and themed gardens.
Best known for its enormous National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda is a modern, sophisticated city with a thriving art scene. Pay respect to the advances in military medicine at the National Museum of Health and Medicine before starting your pilgrimage to the city’s galleries, museums and theatres. Try to catch the latest performance at the Strathmore, a multi-disciplinary non-profit arts venue.
Imagination Stage provides arts education, classes and performances to young people. KID Museum encourages kids’ natural creativity through art classes, courses in computer programming and workshops in 3D printing. Kidville’s fabulous gym will let the kids spend some energy but it also offers art, music and dance courses. Visit Waverly Street Gallery to see what the local sculptors, painters, photographers, jewelers and potters are doing.
Weekend Getaways from DC: Wilmington, Delaware
Wilmington manages to seamlessly blend its elegant past with its thriving modern present. The best example of this is the intricate Grand Opera House in downtown Wilmington, surrounded by sleek skyscrapers. Built in 1871 as the Masons’ Lodge, The Grand, as the locals call it, hosts a variety of performances, from operas to community theatre. For more imposing architecture, visit beautiful Delaware Art Museum, home to 12,000 pieces of artwork, much of it scattered throughout the meticulously landscaped surrounding gardens.
The elegant Nemours Mansion is a classic French Chateau that hosts furniture and art pieces that belonged to the prominent Wilmington du Pont family. Animal lovers can start their pilgrimage with the visit to the dinosaur skeletons at the Delaware Museum of Natural History, proceed to the Brandywine Zoo to see Red Pandas and then stroll through the Russell W. Peterson Wildlife Refuge, an urban green space and animal sanctuary.
Driving Distances from DC
|From Washington D.C. To ||Driving Time|
|Middleburg, VA||1 hour|
|Meadows of Dan, VA||5 hours and 30 minutes|
|Chesapeake Bay||1 hour|
|Richmond, VA||1 hour and 50 minutes|
|Old Town Alexandria||20 minutes|