Straddled between the vibrancy of the North and the low country of the South, D.C.’s location makes it easy to take road trips and explore nearby destinations. There’s never been a better time for travelers to explore hidden gems right within their own backyard, as many want to get away but are still concerned with the safety of traveling via plane, train or other modes of public transportation.
From the lush Virginia countryside to relaxing vibes along the Chesapeake Bay, there’s something for everyone near the District — whether you’re looking to get away with family, a significant other, or a group of (COVID-free) friends.
Here are a few easy weekend getaways near D.C., all within 3 hours of driving distance or less.
The capital city of Maryland is about an hour from Washington D.C., and its Chesapeake Bay location makes it a perfect escape for capital city travelers looking to escape and unwind close to home. Home to the United States Naval Academy, the city offers many museums, cool shops, and, of course, mouthwatering fresh seafood. Often overshadowed by bigger and busier Baltimore, Annapolis is a more relaxing and easy day trip from DC, but still has plenty to offer, so stay for a night or two if you can.
Charlottesville is only a two-long drive from D.C. to Charlottesville, in Virginia’s bucolic wine country. Get a taste of the land and check in to Quirk Charlottesville, a boutique arts hotel with marrying views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, famous for its hip vibe and great cocktails. While you could spend the whole weekend taking in these lush accommodations, we suggest venturing further afield—there are more than 40 wineries within the region, acclaimed restaurants, and hiking trails to explore. Needless to say, there’s something for everyone.
Baltimore has established itself as a destination all its own, with a vibrant food and drink scene and diverse neighborhood. The Baltimore Harbor offers up scenic views, plenty of restaurants and even an aquarium (which is currently operating at 25% capacity), as some of the city’s most iconic attractions. But the best part about Baltimore is the wealth of Black history and Black businesses to support along your route. While you’re here, you’ll want to follow the footsteps of Frederick Douglass, visit the Great Blacks in Wax Museum or even explore the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of African American History & Culture.
Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
If you’re looking for a small beach town vibe, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware has long been a popular (and cheap) summer getaway for D.C. residents. Approximately 2.5 hours from the city, you’ll touch down in sand in no time for some fun in the sun. The family-friendly destination also features a boardwalk lined with carnival games, food stands, and locally owned shops. And because Delaware has no sales tax, Rehoboth Beach is also a popular shopping destination.
Ocean City, Maryland
Ocean City, Maryland, is a popular beach town on the East Coast and perhaps one of the most frequented destinations from DMVers. A great place to visit year-round, the Ocean City Maryland Boardwalk consists of 3 miles of fun, food and excitement. And what’s a boardwalk without souvenir shops, beachside eateries, arcades and restaurants. And if you’re looking for a few socially distant activities, fishing, boating and flying kites on the beach provide plenty of fun for the whole family.
Old Town Alexandria, Virginia
Nestled minutes outside of D.C., the Old Town Alexandria area has a concentration of preserved buildings, now converted into more than 200 locally owned shops and restaurants. Old Town Alexandria is focused around a mile-long stretch of King Street, with cobblestone streets and red-brick sidewalks. Whether you’re looking to explore Alexandria’s revolutionary roots with your family or taking a romantic trip with your sweetheart you’re sure to love your time in this charming riverside city.