Outdoor Activities in Washington DC
The Nation’s Capital is an amazing place to live and a great place to visit. You have probably heard me talk about the museums, monuments, kids activities and free things to do in DC. Well friends, there’s lots more to do than you ever imagined. And in just case you needed more options, you’ll want to check out these 10+ things to do outdoors in Washington DC.
There never is a terrible time to visit DC. Summer is pretty crowded with tourist. In winter, you could find yourself stranded in a foot of snow. While every season holds excitement, you will find a smaller crowded and amazing outdoor atmosphere in both Spring and Fall. In Spring, enjoy the city painted in Cherry Blossoms. In Fall, enjoy the touch of cool air and a city brushed in golds, oranges, and reds.
You’ll notice the opportunities in DC are amazing. You can do so much in such a short period of time. If I could give you advice, it would be to try everything on this list at least once.
1.) Biking the Capital – To be honest, our family loves to bike. Biking is one of the best ways to get around the Nation’s Capital. There’s an awesome Bike Share Program, it’s a program in which you sign up, take any available bike, ride when you want, and return the bike at any station. It’s a great service and stations are located all over the city. If you would rather rather have a Bike Tour, then there are companies, like Capital Bike Tours, that will take you around the district.
2.) Segway Tours – Another option for getting around DC, is by a Segway Tour. This appears to be the most popular around the mall (area of DC where the monuments and museums are located) and they get you around quick! You probably see Segway’s in the news and kind of laugh, but they are a real thing and all the range in big cities as an alternative for a city tour.
3.) Smithsonian National Zoo – If you follow my Instagram account and see DC activities, you know this is a favorite of ours. We love seeing the animals and getting to see them on a weekly or monthly basis. One of my favorite parts of the National Zoo is that it is at no cost to the consumer. Win. You can read more about the National Zoo in our list of 10 Things to Do in Washington DC with the Kids.
4.) Hike Great Falls Park – If you’re looking for a great way to exercise and see DC, then consider hiking Great Falls Park or Theodore Roosevelt Island. Both are great options for someone who loves to see natural beauty. We have hiked both and the falls are beautiful. You can also take a long trail from the falls that navigates all the way to Georgetown and into the city. We have snuck away from the kids enjoyed a Potomac River hike on Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail. This trial has a path, but isn’t often taken as many do not know about it! I love when I enjoy what I am doing and am burning calories at the same time – two birds, one stone!
5.) DC Duck Tours – This is an incredible way to view DC by water. You can actually take a tour of DC in and out of the water. That’s right, this bus turns into a boat! We have not done this in Washington, but we did enjoy this Tour in San Francisco and it was one of the kids’ highlights.
6.) Visit the National Arboretum – If you have never seen the National Arboretum, then you need to head to Google and search “National Arboretum” and take in its natural beauty under images. The government webpage does not do this place justice and it’s a must see. There are tons of plants and various national beauty in all forms. A lot of wedding and family photos take place here. For the beauty and love of nature, I definitely encourage you to check it out.
7.) Visit Eastern Market – Is a must experience market in Washington DC for crafts, produce, clothing, pottery, jewelry, art and more. We love to take advantage of the many great outdoor cafes to grab breakfast or lunch. There are cute and quaint cafes. What can we say, we love food and you can’t go wrong YELPing the reviews of local stops.
8.) Visit the United States Botanical Gardens – This is a great place to visit in DC just for its natural beauty. My kids love seeing all of the beautiful flowers and plants at the USBG. Established by Congress in 1820, the United States Botanic Garden is the oldest botanic garden in North America. This is another spot to search the Google images before you visit – the grounds are beautiful!
9.) Take a Boat Tour – While on the boat tour, visit Mount Vernon, Alexandria, or even George Town. A boat tour can take you places you would never be able to experience by land. We’ve taken this tour and had a great time. If leaving from Alexandria, take a look at the Torpedo Factory before you leave. You might find yourself with a souvenir of art from a local artist.
10.) Visit Mount Vernon – While there is no metro stop at Mount Vernon, you can take a taxi, drive or even use UBER (your first UBER ride is FREE!) Mount Vernon is where the first POTUS (President of the United Sates), George Washington and his wife, Martha lived. It’s a beautiful home located on an amazing plot of land – be sure to visit that view of the river. If going out to the plantation, give your visit some time. The museum is larger than you would think and very interesting. Mount Vernon is located about 15 miles south of Washington DC.
11.) Watch planes take off from Reagan National Airport – You can do this from Gravelly Point along George Washington Memorial Parkway. Head on over to Google Images to get a great insight to the true experience of how close you are to the airplanes as they take off. They take off along the river too, so it is pretty cool to see. This is a great price to utilize the Bike Share Program we shared with you above. Also grab a picnic lunch (bring it, there is not place to buy) or bring a football for a quick game of toss.
12.) Arlington National Cemetery – This is a great place to visit when the weather is great. Such a neat way to show your children all who have sacrificed for this great country. The Cemetery spans 624 acres, which is roughly the size of 472 football fields. The Cemetery is the resting place of more than 400,000 service members. See more detail about Arlington under 10 Free Things to Do in Washington DC.
Exploring DC isn’t just another city, it’s our Nation’s Capital. So many awesome things from history have occurred here. I love taking my kids to visit these places and they thoroughly enjoy it as well. I’d encourage you to get out there and explore Washington DC, it’s well worth it.
Take a look at the list of Washington, DC Travel Tips – What To Do OUTSIDE the District. Pin to Pinterest.
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