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Fun Day Trips From DC: Exploring Beyond the Capital

Fun Day Trips From DC: Exploring Beyond the Capital

Living in Washington, DC, offers a vibrant array of activities and sights within city limits, from museum visits to concerts and sporting events. But sometimes, a change of scenery is just what we need. Whether it’s the rich history or the lush landscapes, the area surrounding DC is ripe with opportunities for adventure. This guide will delve into some of the best day trips from DC, perfect for those without a car and looking for a quick getaway.

Mount Vernon, VA: A Glimpse into Early America

Things to Do: Tour the historic home of President George Washington at Mount Vernon, paired with a visit to Old Town Alexandria. Savor early American dishes at the Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant and explore sites from our nation’s founding.

  • Distance: 20 miles
  • Public Transportation Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Driving, Uber, or Lyft Time: 30 minutes

For those interested in historic preservation, consider participating in local historic preservation initiatives in Washington, DC.

Richmond, VA: A Capital Rich in History and Culture

Things to Do: Richmond, the capital city of Virginia, is teeming with historical sites, museums, and attractions such as the White House and Museum of the Confederacy, the American Civil War Museum, and the Science Museum of Virginia.

  • Distance: 110 miles
  • Public Transportation Time: 2 hours
  • Driving, Uber, or Lyft Time: 1 hour 45 minutes

Annapolis, MD: Naval Traditions and Seaside Charm

Things to Do: Explore the historic streets of Maryland’s capital, Annapolis; visit the U.S. Naval Academy; or enjoy sailing on the Chesapeake Bay.

  • Distance: 31 miles
  • Public Transportation Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Driving, Uber, or Lyft Time: 40 minutes

Harpers Ferry, WV: Adventure in the Appalachians

Things to Do: Embrace adventure with hikes to Jefferson Rock, whitewater rafting, tubing, an aerial adventure park, and the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park — all set against the stunning backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

  • Distance: 65 miles
  • Public Transportation Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Driving, Uber, or Lyft Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Baltimore, MD: Urban Exploration and Maritime Adventures

Things to Do: Discover Baltimore’s rich history at the Fort McHenry National Monument, engage with science at the Maryland Science Center, or explore aquatic life at the National Aquarium.

  • Distance: 40 miles
  • Public Transportation Time: 30 minutes
  • Driving, Uber, or Lyft Time: 1 hour

Charlottesville, VA: Scenic Beauty and Historic Landmarks

Things to Do: Visit Charlottesville to tour the University of Virginia, explore Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, or enjoy the Monticello Wine Trail on horseback.

  • Distance: 116 miles
  • Public Transportation Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Driving, Uber, or Lyft Time: 2 hours 15 minutes

Charlottesville’s scenic landscapes and historic sites make it a perfect destination for those looking to explore beyond the immediate surroundings of DC.

Gettysburg, PA: A Journey Through Civil War History

Things to Do: Step back in time with a visit to Gettysburg, the site of one of the Civil War’s most significant battles. Take a guided tour of the battlefield, explore the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center, and attend live reenactments that bring history to life.

  • Distance: 80 miles
  • Public Transportation Time: Not directly accessible by public transport; car rental recommended
  • Driving, Uber, or Lyft Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Gettysburg offers a profound historical experience, ideal for those interested in learning more about America’s past, similar to the events discussed during DC’s richly historic National Preservation Month.

Shenandoah National Park, VA: Breathtaking Natural Beauty

Things to Do: Shenandoah National Park is a haven for nature lovers. Hike along the many trails, including the famous Appalachian Trail, camp under the stars, or drive along the scenic Skyline Drive, which offers stunning views of the park’s lush landscapes and rolling hills.

  • Distance: 75 miles
  • Public Transportation Time: Not directly accessible by public transport; car rental recommended
  • Driving, Uber, or Lyft Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

The park’s natural beauty provides a perfect backdrop for those looking to escape the city and immerse themselves in nature.

Rehoboth Beach, DE: Sun, Sand, and Fun

Things to Do: Rehoboth Beach is the perfect spot for a beach day. Enjoy the sun on the sandy beach, stroll along the boardwalk, and sample local cuisine at beachfront eateries. Don’t miss out on the unique shops and the vibrant arts scene.

  • Distance: 120 miles
  • Public Transportation Time: 2 hours 30 minutes (seasonal bus services available)
  • Driving, Uber, or Lyft Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

A trip to Rehoboth Beach is great for those seeking a relaxing day by the sea, offering a change of pace from the urban environment.

Frederick, MD: A Blend of History and Culture

Things to Do: Explore the historic downtown of Frederick, which offers a vibrant arts scene, numerous specialty shops, and excellent restaurants. Don’t miss the National Museum of Civil War Medicine and the scenic Carroll Creek Park.

  • Distance: 50 miles
  • Public Transportation Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Driving, Uber, or Lyft Time: 1 hour

Lancaster, PA: Amish Country and More

Things to Do: Dive into the tranquil and unique lifestyle of the Pennsylvania Amish in Lancaster. Visit farms, take a buggy ride, and explore the local markets for handmade crafts and fresh produce. The area also boasts excellent traditional Dutch cooking.

  • Distance: 120 miles
  • Public Transportation Time: 3 hours
  • Driving, Uber, or Lyft Time: 2 hours

Ocean City, MD: A Classic Beach Getaway

Things to Do: Enjoy a full day at the beach or walk along the Ocean City Boardwalk, which features arcades, ride parks, and plenty of eateries. Ocean City is a popular spot for watersports such as surfing and paddleboarding.

  • Distance: 150 miles
  • Public Transportation Time: Not directly accessible by public transport; car rental recommended
  • Driving, Uber, or Lyft Time: 2 hours 45 minutes

Sky Meadows State Park, VA: Outdoor Exploration

Things to Do: Located near the Blue Ridge Mountains, Sky Meadows offers over 1,800 acres of hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails. The park also features beautiful meadows, woodlands, and a historic farm site.

  • Distance: 60 miles
  • Public Transportation Time: Not directly accessible by public transport; car rental recommended
  • Driving, Uber, or Lyft Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Great Falls Park, VA: Majestic Views and Hiking Trails

Things to Do: Great Falls Park offers some of the most spectacular views of the Potomac River as it cascades over rugged rocks. The park has several excellent hiking trails and provides a great spot for picnicking and nature photography.

  • Distance: 15 miles
  • Public Transportation Time: 1 hour
  • Driving, Uber, or Lyft Time: 30 minutes

These destinations provide a diverse range of activities and sights, making them perfect for day trips from DC, whether you’re looking for relaxation, adventure, or cultural immersion.

Each of these destinations provides a unique opportunity to explore the richness of the area surrounding Washington, DC. Whether you’re a history buff, nature enthusiast, or beach lover, these day trips from DC offer something special that’s just a short journey away. Enjoy the adventure and the break from the everyday, reminding us that sometimes the best treasures are found just beyond our doorstep.


Thompson-Markward Hall’s Impact

Thompson-Markward Hall (TMH) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the academic and professional success of young women. Located in the heart of Washington, DC, TMH offers safe, affordable, and convenient housing for women working, attending school, or interning in our nation’s capital. Included in the room and board rates are utilities, free high-speed Wi-Fi, breakfast and dinner, and a diverse, welcoming community.

In addition to offering a wonderful place to call home in DC, we provide useful information to residents and prospective applicants as a resource to help them become familiar with DC and be successful in all of their endeavors. Whether you’re currently looking for a place to stay in DC, planning for a potential future here, or simply looking to learn more about the DC area, TMH is here to help!

Learn more about our accommodations or to submit an application today to start enjoying all of the benefits of living at TMH! You can also make a donation to support the crucial work we do!

Resident Resources

Room and board is due on the first of every month. TMH does not issue payment notices. A $20.00 late fee is charged everyday beginning at 9:00 pm on the 5th day of the month until the room and board payment is received. If you are unable to make your monthly payment for any reason, please speak to management immediately.

Room and board includes the first day of the month until the morning of the last day of the month or until the morning of the day of check-out, whichever day comes first.

In the event that a resident does not stay the entire month, rent will be prorated within the same month. To view the pro-rated fee schedule and a list of other fees—click here: TMH Pro-Rated Fee Schedule 6-1-2022


Each resident is asked to abide by the TMH House Rules and Regulations stipulated here: House Rules and ProceduresRule-packet-Emergency-Procedures-Updated-12-2019. Please read this document to become familiar with TMH policies and procedures such as guest policies, meal times, smoking areas, printer and copier use, Internet and telephone use, damage charges, and much more.

Monday-Friday hours / breakfast 7:00am-9:30am dinner 5:45pm – 8:00pm sat hours / breakfast 8:00 – 11:00am sun hours / brunch 8:00 – 11:00am dinner 5:00pm-7:00pm

Weekly Menu

Commuting: Metro stops within walking distance are Union Station, Capitol South, and Eastern Market. Refillable SMARTRIP cards are available for purchase at all metro stops. For more information on public transportation visit WMATA.

Parking: TMH does not offer parking and street parking is limited. Most areas offer 2 hour parking from 7:00am-8:30pm and unlimited overnight parking without a permit. However, if you do not have a Residential Parking Permit and your car is seen in the area repeatedly within a 30-day period you may be ticketed for not obtaining proper tags.

Union Station is the nearest public parking garage. There is generally a wait list for obtaining a parking space. Click here to visit their website to obtain up-to-date information.

Temporary Parking Permits: DC offers Reciprocity Parking Permits in special situations. Click here to see if you qualify. If you meet the requirements, you can obtain a Proof of Residency form from the front office.

Registering Your Vehicle in DC: If you do not meet the requirements for a temporary parking permit, you may choose to register your vehicle in DC. Click here for specific instructions.

Other Transportation Information:

  • Voting: To become a registered voter in the DC area, visit the Board of Elections & Ethics. Please note that you must unregister from your current voting state in order to register as a voter in DC.
  • DC One Card: DC has a new initiative to incorporate multiple cards into one all-inclusive card. The DCOne Card is a library card, Metro card, and can grant access to Public Parks programs. Click here to register or get more information.
  • DC Plastic Bag Policy: Washington DC’s Skip the Bag, Save the River Initiative requires a $0.05 fee per bag from businesses selling food and alcohol. Be sure to take reusable bags with you to the grocery store to avoid the fee.
  • DC Emergency Alerts: The DC Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Response has an alert system to notify residents of severe weather, police activity, road closures, and school and government closings. Notifications can be received via email or text message and can be specified to neighborhoods or work areas. For text alerts sign up here.
  • DC Metropolitan Police Resources: DC Metro PD offers several resources as well as an anonymous tip line for security concerns. You can find the tip line number as well as other important emergency phone numbers here.