5 Unique Day Trips to Experience in Washington DC

5 Unique Day Trips to Experience in Washington DC

  • Kyra Erika Agarwal
  • 07/6/22

Living in Washington, DC, has its fair share of perks. Capitol Hill townhomes have access to phenomenal dining options, fantastic shops, and loads of history. However, one cannot keep their adventurous side thriving via DC’s offerings alone, and that’s where this list comes in.

If you want to spend your upcoming summer and fall experiencing everything there is to see nearby your Capitol Hill home, we have what you need. These are the five best day trips you can take from your DC abode. Whether you’re looking for shopping, more history, or a great hike, this list has you covered.

1. Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia

Do you ever feel the need to just get outside? Harper’s Ferry is the ideal outdoor destination for anyone living in a Capitol Hill home needing some green space and fresh air. Harper’s Ferry is just an hour and a half away from Capitol Hill, so it’s an easy trip with a ton of value.

If you want to spend time on the water, you can either white water raft or tube in the Potomac River. If you're going to hike, you definitely shouldn’t miss the Maryland Heights Trail, which is about 6.5 miles round trip, with a portion on the Appalachian Trail and positively stunning views of Harper’s Ferry and the surrounding countryside.

If you’re less interested in outdoor sports, the downtown area has cobblestone pathways, small antique shops, and an array of historical places to visit and experience. The Rabbit Hole and The Anvil Restaurant are two of the better fine dining choices, while Battle Grounds Bakery and Coffee is a perfect way to start your visit. 

2. Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

Photo courtesy of Country View Lodging
Here’s a fun fact: It is now believed that John Denver’s classic song Country Roads is about the Shenandoah area, not West Virginia. Shenandoah National Park is simply that beautiful. Most of the main trail through the park is part of the Appalachian Trail, which, in its entirety, stretches from Georgia to Maine. At just an hour and 40 minutes from Capitol Hill, it’s not too long of a drive to experience the beauty of Virginia’s nature.

You don’t have to do a lot of strenuous hiking to enjoy Shenandoah, either. Skyline Drive is 105 miles in total and goes along the Blue Ridge Mountains. It’s actually the only public road through the park itself, and it is an incredible experience. You get amazing views and plenty of places to stop, stretch your legs, and even picnic.

But if you only do one thing while in Shenandoah, spend an early evening stargazing. The area’s amazingly clear skies are unlike anywhere near Capitol Hill homes, given all the light pollution DC unfortunately emits.

3. Fredericksburg, Virginia

Photo courtesy of Fredericksburg, VA
If you’re looking for a day trip without the need for a long drive, the town of Fredericksburg, Virginia, is easily accessible by train — pack a book and enjoy the ride! This gorgeous historic Virginia town is full of Civil War battlefields and cultural landmarks, like the home of George Washington’s mother.

Fredericksburg undoubtedly shines when it comes to shopping. In the historic area, Caroline Street is full of unique little art boutiques and clothing stores, plus more antique shops than you’ll know what to do with. There are over 100 different places to stop in and check out. It’s an excellent, small-town experience for those who may be a little tired of being in the city.

4. Baltimore, Maryland

Photo courtesy of Pinterest
It’s called “Charm City” for a reason! Many people living in a Capitol Hill home don’t get to visit Baltimore enough, and with it being just an hour away, it makes for a perfect day trip that is different every time. Spend an evening walking around Fell’s Point to do some shopping, drinking, and dining, or hang out at the Inner Harbor to visit the famous trash wheel and explore the National Aquarium.

You can also catch an Orioles game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, or hit up the many museums downtown, including The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore Museum of Art, and American Visionary Art Museum. The Peabody Library also can’t be missed.

While you’re in Baltimore, dining standouts include Charleston Restaurant, Joe Benny’s Focacceria, and the iconic Miss Shirley’s Cafe, which was featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives

5. Ocean City & Assateague Island, Maryland

Photo courtesy of Hotels.com
There’s almost zero chance you’ve never been to Ocean City if you live nearby Capitol Hill. Though Downtown Ocean City is about 3 hours away, depending on traffic across the bridge, it’s genuinely the best day trip to take in the area. In Ocean City itself, you can enjoy the boardwalk, arcade games, great food (it should be illegal to leave the boardwalk without having Thrasher’s Fries), and the beach. The further north you head, the more deserted the beach will be, but the farther away you will be from the action, so keep that in mind!

The best restaurants in Ocean City include Fager’s Island, with its amazing bayside views, On The Bay Seafood with sand floors, and Hooked, offering some of the best craft beers in town.

On your way there — or back — don’t pass up a chance to visit Assateague Island. This 37-mile barrier island is a preserve and home to some incredible nature and wildlife, including wild horses. You can camp overnight with permits to extend the day trip into a multi-day stay. Nearby Berlin, Maryland, will offer you a small-town feel including great antique shops and fun events.

Ready for your own home?

If you’re here because you’re relocating to Washington DC and gauging what there is to do nearby, be sure to reach out to Kyra Erika Agarwal. Kyra is a real estate expert specializing in some of the best Capitol Hill townhomes and single-family homes. She comes from a long line of family members heavily invested in real estate and has proven to be an expert in Washington, DC negotiations.

When you’re ready to take the next step and look at homes in Capitol Hill, Kyra can help.

*Header photo courtesy of Travel Awaits

Work With Kyra

Kyra specializes in helping her clients navigate the complex process of finding a new home. Her impeccable interpersonal skills endow her with a deep understanding of her clients’ needs, while her ability to think creatively and strategically ensures that every deal is as seamless and efficient as possible. Call Kyra today to schedule a showing in Washington D.C.