Surrounding the Washington DC area are some amazing hidden travel spots you can discover in your spare time.Washington, D.C., our nation’s capital, is a beautiful historic town filled with major attractions including the Washington Monument, the Capitol, the White House, Arlington National Cemetery, and dozens of museums.
1. Just north of the Washington Beltway is the fun and beautiful Wheaton Regional Park in Wheaton, Maryland. This park offers a carousel, miniature train, Brookside Nature Center, and Brookside Botanical Gardens featuring two greenhouses and various educational programs. The facility is also popular for outdoor weddings.
2. North of downtown Washington bordering Connecticut Avenue on the west and Rock Creek Parkway on the east is the Smithsonian National Zoo. Like all the museums on the National Mall, the National Zoo is free of charge; but they do charge a fee for parking for those who drive rather than take the DC Metro train. Be sure to see the famous Giant Pandas, Tian Tian and Mei Xiang. Also be sure to check out the zoo’s website for live cams.
3. Northwest of the city lies a spectacular nature area along the Potomac River called Great Falls. The Falls lie on both the Maryland and Virginia sides of the river. On the Maryland side, be sure to check out the Visitor Center. Then take a ride on a barge boat and experience how the locks in the C&O Canal bring the boats through. If you’re especially adventurous (and in good shape), walk down the towpath and hike the Billy Goat Trail where spectacular river views and woods await.
4. Just northwest of downtown D.C lies Historic Georgetown, home of Georgetown University. This fun-filled town is known for its historic charm, kitschy shopping boutiques, restaurants, and its lively nightlife. For a fun adventure, take a riverboat tour down the Potomac from any number of tour providers.
5. For a serene excursion and a stroll through lush gardens, visit the United States National Arboretum. This quiet retreat is only 10 short miles east of the U.S. Capital. If you visit during the beautiful D.C. Spring in April/May, be sure to check out the Dogwood and Azalea gardens. Also be sure to check out the Capitol Columns, a display that looks like the ruins of an ancient Roman building.
6. North of the Capital Beltway, the National Capitol Trolley Museum in Colesville, Maryland focuses on the history and preservation of electric streetcars. Stroll through the educational halls, learn about this mode of transportation, then take a ride through the woods in an actual electric streetcar.
7. Up Connecticut Avenue on the Maryland side lies the Town of Kensington, a Washington, D.C. bedroom community. More than 80 kitschy antique stores await eager shoppers at Antique Row along Howard Avenue. Be sure to pop into the Tea Room for a quick treat.
8. Historic amusement park buffs will love strolling through Glen Echo park in Bethesda, Maryland. Now an environmental and educational facility, the park was popular among D.C. residents from 1891 to 1968. Kids love the fun carousel and the numerous art programs.