31 Epic Day Trips from Washington, DC (By a Former Local)

Enjoy a perfect day trip from Washington, DC, with these perfect ideas

Are you looking to break away from the Capital City for a day and explore some of the amazing sights nearby? Here are the top day trips from Washington, DC.

Washington, DC, is an ideal travel destination with so many things to do there plus so many additional destinations only a short drive away.

If you’ve ever found yourself in Washington, DC, with a few days to spare, then I’m here to tell you that you can explore much more than the usual monuments and historical landmarks in DC.

I lived in Washington, DC, and Northern Virginia for two years and spent a lot of that time exploring much of the area.

Whether you are seeking a historical journey into America’s past or something more natural like incredible parks or beaches, there are plenty of exciting day trips from DC that will let you make the most out of your travels. In this article, I’m highlighting the very best places to visit outside Washington, DC, for an unforgettable and epic day trip.

Capitol building in Washington DC in sunlight
Even though there are many things to do in the U.S. Capital, you might want to take a day trip from Washington, DC.

Considering the area, there are naturally quite a few suggestions that are historical sites, but there are also day trip ideas that feature Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Delaware’s beautiful scenery, a beach town, major cities, and more.

There’s truly something for everyone on this list.

Want to see old shipwrecks up close? I’ve got you covered! No joke.

The day trip ideas in this article are arranged in order of distance from Washington, DC, from the closest to the farthest.

All are less than a 3-hour drive from the U.S. capital. All distances are calculated from the Capitol Hill area.

Listed drive times are approximations. The time it takes you to drive to the suggested day trip destination will depend upon several factors including your exact starting point, the time of day, weather, etc.

And some of these day trip suggestions are rather close to each other, so you could even combine a couple of destinations, spending half a day at each. For example, I’ve easily done both Mount Vernon and Arlington National Cemetery in one day. Or add on Old Town Alexandria.

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Explore the Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) Canal

Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park
Explore the C&O Canal towpath from Washington, DC, to Maryland.

Distance from Washington, DC: variable (the trail begins in Georgetown and ends in Cumberland, Maryland)

Approximate drive time: variable (depending on where you join the trail)

Biking or walking a section of the C&O Canal towpath in Maryland is an amazing way to spend a day outside Washington, DC.

The 184.5-mile long canal towpath offers day-trippers a unique opportunity to explore the natural beauty of the region, with its lovely woodlands and captivating views along the Potomac River.

Spots of interest along the towpath include the Maryland side of Great Falls, Antietam National Battlefield (see below), and Glen Echo Park.

Arlington, Virginia

United States Army officers in front of the Tomb of the Unknowns
Changing of the guard at Arington National Cemetery. Photo: Plan, Ready, Go

Distance from Washington, DC: 5 miles

Approximate drive time: 10 – 15 minutes

Just a short drive from Washington, DC, Arlington, Virginia, is a good destination for a day trip. It is best known as the home of Arlington National Cemetery.

There are more than 400,000 people buried at Arlington National Cemetery which has become one of the most visited sites in the Washington, DC, area.

If you have the chance, don’t miss out on witnessing the changing of the guard at The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The U.S. Army Honor Guard vigilantly guards it 24/7 with remarkable solemnity. It’s truly a sight that will leave a lasting impression.

Besides the renowned Arlington National Cemetery, travelers can also explore many other remarkable sights in Arlington, Virginia. The United States Air Force Memorial and US Marine Corps War Memorial (often called Iwo Jima Memorial), as well as the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial, are all located there.

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Alexandria, Virginia

Distance from Washington, DC: 8 miles

Approximate drive time: 15 – 20 minutes

If you’re looking for a day trip that’s close to Washington, D.C., Alexandria is a great place to go.

It was voted one of Travel + Leisure’s 15 Best Cities in the United States (#8) and one of The South’s Best Cities on the Rise 2022 (#6) by Southern Living.

If you want to enjoy the outdoors, walk or bike along the scenic Mount Vernon Trail.

You can also take a stroll through the quaint streets of Old Town Alexandria or enjoy a scenic lunch cruise on the Potomac River. Old Alexandria is a lovely area, filled with remarkable historic buildings, unique shops, and delicious restaurants to explore.

Visit celebrated sites like the Alexandria Black History Museum, Carlyle House, and Gadsby’s Tavern Museum.

George Washington’s Mount Vernon

large white home with a grassy area out front
A visit to Mount Vernon has been my favorite day trip from Washington, DC, for a long time. Photo: Plan, Ready, Go.

Distance from Washington, DC: 19 miles

Approximate drive time: less than 30 minutes

Mount Vernon is a great place to visit if you’re looking for a fun day trip close to Washington, DC. It was the home and property of George Washington, the first president of the United States.

The Mount Vernon Estate includes Washington’s Mansion, which is a National Historic Landmark, as well as several outbuildings, gardens, and walks.

The estate is located on the Potomac River (great view!), and you can tour George Washington’s house and see many other parts of the property including his final resting place.

On a few of the occasions when I’ve been there I’ve even seen the bedroom where he died. It was kind of amazing and creepy all at the same time.

Don’t miss out on the fascinating educational displays. They are an incredible way to gain more knowledge about Washington and provide a meaningful historical background of his era.

For a lovely lunch, try the Mount Vernon Inn restaurant. I recommend you make reservations ahead of time if you can. And they have a couple of great gift shops at Mount Vernon to help you find your perfect souvenir.

For more information about George Washington’s home, check out my best tips for visiting Mount Vernon.

See the very best of Mount Vernon with this private guided tour of George Washington’s estate. Choose from half-day or full-day options, and see Old Alexandria as well.

Great Falls Park

Rapids in the Potomac River at Great Falls Park, Virginia.
Great Falls Park, Virginia.

Distance from Washington, DC: 19 miles

Approximate drive time: 35 minutes

Great Falls Park in Virginia is renowned for its stunning beauty. There are three overlooks for beautiful views of the Falls on the Potomac River all within a reasonable walk of the Visitor Center.

The Park includes 15 miles of hiking trails including the popular River Trail.

This is a very popular park. On weekends and holidays there can be long lines to get into the park with wait times of up to an hour, so keep that in mind when making your plans.

If you’re interested in exploring the Maryland side of Great Falls, see more information about the C&O Canal National Historical Park above.

Manassas National Battlefield Park

Wooden bridge to a stone house
Manassas National Battlefield

Distance from Washington, DC: 30 miles

Approximate drive time: 40 minutes

Located less than an hour from Washington, DC, by car, Manassas National Battlefield Park historic site should be on your list of potential day trips from the Capital.

Manassas, Virginia, was the site of not just one but two American Civil War battles just a little over a year apart.

The 5,000-acre park includes more than 40 miles of trails perfect for exploring the area on foot.

The park includes a series of routes that traverse the First and Second Manassas Battlefields, featuring interpretive markers along the trails. These markers provide insight into battle action in certain areas while giving visitors an understanding of both soldiers’ and civilians’ experiences.

Annapolis, Maryland

Annapolis, Maryland, USA downtown view over Main Street with the State House.
Annapolis, Maryland, is one of my favorite day trips from Washington, DC.

Distance from Washington, DC: 33 miles

Approximate drive time: 40+ minutes

I’d say that Annapolis, Maryland, is an underrated day trip destination. Perhaps it’s overlooked because it’s overshadowed by so many other options so close to Washington, DC.

Stroll through old colonial streets in the historic district. You’ll see lovely colonial-era row houses.

Tour the Maryland State House, once the home of the Continental Congress and the oldest state house still in use legislatively. It’s open to the general public every day except Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

You can also visit the campus of the U.S. Naval Academy (you’ll have to show ID) or go sailing on the Chesapeake Bay

North Beach, Maryland

Distance from Washington, DC: 35 miles

Approximate drive time: 50 minutes

North Beach in Maryland is a great day trip destination for anyone looking to have a day of fun in the sun. Enjoy a day at a classic Maryland beach town complete with a boardwalk.

Other fun things to do in the town include the Bayside history museum, birding, swimming, fishing, and shopping.

Overlook Park is a haven for both its resident and migrating wildlife, offering the perfect refuge in its tidal marshlands.

Baltimore, Maryland

Panoramic view of Baltimore Inner Harbor marina and skyscrapers against blue sky
Baltimore, Maryland.

Distance from Washington, DC: 40 miles

Approximate drive time: 55 minutes

For those looking for a big city day trip from Washington, DC, that offers something unique and exciting, Baltimore is the perfect destination. Located just an hour north of the nation’s capital, this vibrant city is brimming with culture and history.

Top sites in the city include the National Aquarium, Fort McHenry (of Star Spangled Banner fame) National Monument and Historic Shrine, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the B & O Railroad Museum, and more.

And if you’re into baseball, like me, don’t miss your chance to see Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

Middleburg, Virginia

Distance from Washington, DC: 49 miles

Approximate drive time: 1 hour

If you’re searching for a picturesque Virginia day trip getaway, Middleburg is a perfect choice. This charming town located in the heart of horse country offers delightful boutiques and eateries that make it an ideal destination to explore.

Make sure to visit one of the many stores in town and purchase a souvenir created by a local artisan. You should also explore the National Sporting Library and Museum to gain insight into equestrian sports, which this area is renowned for.

Or, if you want to feel the wind in your hair, rent a bike and explore Middleburg’s natural landscape. Regardless of how you choose to spend your day here, there’s no doubt that this charming town will steal your heart.

Mallows Bay Maryland

The ghost fleet of Mallows Bay, a collection of historic shipwrecks on the Potomac River.
Paddle among the lost ships of the ghost fleet in Mallows Bay, Maryland.

Distance from Washington, DC: 42 miles

Approximate drive time: 55 minutes

Kayaking in Mallows Bay Maryland is the perfect day trip adventure for those wanting to explore the region.

But this isn’t just any bay on the Potomac River; this area is unique.

Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary protects the more than 100 World War I-era wooden steamships, known as the “Ghost Fleet.”

The best way to see this unique “water museum” is by kayak. When the tide goes out, the ships reveal themselves and are important habitats for osprey, bald eagles, herons, and a plethora of fish, plants, and animals.

For the best experience viewing the wrecks, plan your visit to align with low tide. Paddling is recommended between May and September for ideal water and weather conditions.

Fredericksburg, Virginia

Chatham Manor, a Georgian-style home completed in 1771 on the Rappahannock River in Stafford County, Virginia, opposite Fredericksburg
Chatham Manor served as U.S. Headquarters and a field hospital during the battle at Fredericksburg, Virginia.

Distance from Washington, DC: 56 miles

Approximate drive time: 1 hour

Fredericksburg, Virginia, is a great day trip destination for those looking to explore U.S. Civil War history.

Located just an hour south of Washington, DC, Fredericksburg offers visitors a glimpse into America’s past with its numerous historical sites such as George Washington’s boyhood home at Ferry Farm and Mary Washington House, home of George Washington’s mother.

In my opinion, the biggest draw at Fredericksburg for history lovers is Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park.

The park actually manages four battlefields over several counties, the nearest to Washington, DC, being Fredericksburg. The others are Chancellorsville, Spotsylvania, and The Wilderness. The Park also includes the site of General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson’s death.

South Mountain State Park, Maryland

Distance from Washington, DC: 66 miles

Approximate drive time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Visiting South Mountain State Park is an amazing day trip adventure from Washington, DC, especially for hikers.

Stretching 40 miles along South Mountain’s ridge from Pennsylvania to the Potomac River, South Mountain State Park offers travelers an opportunity to explore a slice of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The Appalachian Trail traverses the summit of the mountain, offering breathtaking panoramas from three notable vantage points: Weverton Cliffs, Annapolis Rocks, and High Rock. 

George Washington Birthplace National Monument

Colonial-style brick house
George Washington Birthplace National Monument.

Distance from Washington, DC: 69 miles

Approximate drive time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

History lovers should think about making a day trip from Washington, DC, to George Washington Birthplace National Monument, especially if you’ve already seen Mount Vernon.

The site consists of a picturesque 550-acre park with trails and monuments that showcase his legacy, including a Colonial Revival farm.

George Washington’s family is honored and remembered in the Washington Family Burial Ground, where his father, grandparents, and great-grandparents are all laid to rest.

The park also offers many recreational activities to enjoy, such as hiking, fishing, and bird-watching. In addition, there’s a public beach and places to picnic.

Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

Distance from Washington, DC: 70 miles

Approximate drive time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, is a day trip destination from Washington, DC, that should not be overlooked.

Located less than an hour and a half away by car, this small town offers visitors several activities and attractions to explore, from historic sites to outdoor adventure in the surrounding hills.

There are plenty of fun things to do in Harpers Ferry such as taking a scenic hike along the Potomac River or exploring one of its many historical sites like John Brown’s Fort and Harpers Ferry National Historical Site.

Cross the river into Maryland and hike up to Maryland Heights to get beautiful views of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers. Note, this is not an easy hike and should not be attempted without bringing water.

Seriously, folks. I did this hike spontaneously without water and to this day I have never been more thirsty than I was on that day.

Antietam National Battlefield

stone bridge

Distance from Washington, DC: 70 miles

Approximate drive time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

American Civil War buffs will need to include Antietam National Battlefield on their list of “must-see” sites. Considered by many to be the best-preserved battlefield in the U.S., it commemorates the single bloodiest day in American history, when 23,000 Americans were killed, wounded, or went missing.

According to the National Park Service, “The Battle of Antietam ended the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia’s first invasion into the North and led Abraham Lincoln to issue the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.”

Important sites at the battlefield include Bloody Lane, Dunker Church, Burnside Bridge, and Mumma Farm.

Don’t miss the monument to Clara Barton, the founder of the American Red Cross, whose actions at Antietam made her a Civil War hero.

Shenandoah River State Park

Distance from Washington, DC: 82 miles

Approximate drive time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Sitting on the South Fork of the Shenandoah River, Raymond R. “Andy” Guest Jr. State Park encompasses 1,600 acres and 5.2 miles of beautiful riverfront scenery.

At this park, visitors can experience views of Massanutten Mountain and stunning Shenandoah National Park.

This riverside destination is a favorite among families, fishers, and especially canoeists due to its picnic area with shelters, trails for exploration, river access points, and a car-top boat launch.

With more than 24 miles of trails, the park allows you to explore and adventure on foot, bike, or horseback.

Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah National Park
Enjoy beautiful views in Shenandoah National Park.

Distance from Washington, DC: 85 miles

Approximate drive time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

One of the most scenic of the U.S. National Parks is located within the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and less than two hours from Washington, DC.

Shenandoah National Park features beautiful tree-lined hills, enchanting wooded hollows, breathtaking waterfalls, and a variety of wildlife.

Shenandoah National Park was founded in 1935. The park was completed around WWII, and by 1976, half of the park was proclaimed protected wilderness.

The 105-mile Skyline Drive winds itself around the center of Shenandoah National Park and connects to the Blue Ridge Parkway.

The road is often closed during the winter months due to heavy snowfall at higher elevations. The road is also one of the most frequently traveled in the National Park System, so be sure to plan accordingly.

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

angled wood fence in a field
The Angle at Gettysburg

Distance from Washington, DC: 90 miles

Approximate drive time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, is a day trip destination from Washington, DC, that offers something for everyone.

Located just under two hours away by car, this historic town is brimming with culture and history.

From its iconic Civil War sites such as the Gettysburg National Military Park to its quaint downtown shopping district, there’s plenty to explore.

Whether you’re interested in taking a guided tour through the battlefields or exploring one of its many other historical sites, visiting Gettysburg is an unforgettable experience.

I’ll never forget standing on Little Round Top and then at the stone wall looking out over the area where General Pickett led his charge.

Top things to do in Gettysburg include touring the battlefield, exploring downtown, David Willis (where Abraham Lincoln put the final touches on his famous Gettysburg Address), Seminary Ridge Museum, Shriver House, Jenny Wade House, and more.

James Madison’s Montpelier

large brick house with columns in front and a green and white fence
James Madison’s Montpelier

Distance from Washington, DC: 93 miles

Approximate drive time: 2 hours

Set in the heart of Orange County, Virginia, lies Montpelier, an estate belonging to former President James Madison and his wife Dolley. Spanning a total area of 2,650 acres this historical property has been carefully preserved for future generations to enjoy.

A 5,000-acre tract of land was initially granted to James Madison’s grandfather. In 1783, the property came to Madison who decided to begin constructing Montpelier four years later.

While visiting Montpelier, you’ll learn more about the house and James Madison. Unfortunately, the Madison family encountered substantial financial hardship that led them to sell most of their personal belongings. Consequently, many items in the house now were bought strictly for restoration purposes.

As a National Historic Landmark since 1984, Montpelier is owned and operated by the Montpelier Foundation. Their tours of both the house and grounds provide a quality educational experience in early American history.

Luray Caverns

large cave full of rock formations

Distance from Washington, DC: 97 miles

Approximate drive time: 2 hours

Luray Caverns is a great day trip destination for families. The largest caverns in the eastern United States are unlike any other, featuring grand chambers with ceilings towering 10 stories high.

In addition to the caverns, the Car & Carriage Caravan Museum, Shenandoah Heritage Village, and Toy Town Junction are all included in the admission price, making it a great value for families.

The caverns are open year-round, making them a great option for when the weather is bad or when you just want to get out of the city for a day.

Belle Isle State Park

Distance from Washington, DC: 108 miles

Approximate drive time: 2 hours, 25 minutes

Explore unique tidal wetland areas with a day trip to Belle Isle State Park’s seven miles of shoreline on the Northern Neck’s Rappahannock River.

At this park, there is a campground for overnight guests to stay in, three picnic shelters perfect for outdoor gatherings, and various trails available for walking or biking. Additionally, the park offers boat launches.

The varied ecosystems of the park are home to many predatory birds, including blue herons, osprey, hawks, and bald eagles. In addition, white-tailed deer, turkeys, and a multitude of smaller creatures such as groundhogs rabbits squirrels moles reptiles, and amphibians can be found here too.

Richmond, Virginia

Virginia Statehouse and lawn in downtown Richmond, Virginia
Virginia Statehouse in Richmond

Distance from Washington, DC: 110 miles

Approximate drive time: 2 hours

Visiting Richmond, Virginia, makes a great day trip from Washington, DC, especially for those who enjoy “collecting” state capitals. With its historical landmarks, parks, and cultural attractions it’s definitely a city worth visiting.

Top things to do in the Virginia capital include the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, and browsing Carytown. Edgar Alan Poe enthusiasts should check out The Poe Museum.

Those looking to spend a day in beautiful surroundings might want to visit Maymont or Belle Isle Park in the heart of the city (not be confused with Belle Isle State Park).

Delightful Day Trips from Richmond, Virginia.

Trap Pond State Park, Delaware

bald cypress in trap pond state park
Trap Pond State Park bald cypress

Distance from Washington, DC: 112 miles

Approximate drive time: 2 hours, 20 minutes

Trap Pond State Park in Delaware is a day-trip destination that offers visitors breathtaking natural beauty to explore.

Paddling enthusiasts especially should take advantage of the opportunity to canoe or kayak the Terrapin Branch Water Trail. Get up close and personal with the Baldcypress trees and the diverse flora and fauna that live there.

If you don’t want to navigate the area by canoe or kayak you could try a pontoon tour with park staff.

The area was used as an industrial logging pond in the late 18th century and is home to the northernmost, naturally occurring, stand of Baldcypress trees.

Monticello

large brick house with a domed roof
Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello

Distance from Washington, DC: 115 miles

Approximate drive time: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Monticello is one of the most famous and remarkable homes in America, and it makes a great day trip from Washington.

Thomas Jefferson, the 3rd President of the United States, called Charlottesville, Virginia home. His house is open to visitors who wish to explore its beauty and learn more about his life.

The architectural masterpiece of Monticello was thoughtfully designed by Thomas Jefferson himself and constructed between 1768-1782. This iconic Neoclassical structure has served as a source of inspiration for generations, even earning the distinction of National Historic Landmark in 1960.

When visiting Monticello start in the Visitor Center to see the amazing displays of the design phases Monticello went through. You’ll also uncover a greater understanding of Jefferson’s family life and what life was like on his estate.

Grab a yummy lunch at Monticello Farm Table. Their soups and sandwiches are scrumptious. Then you can make your way up the “mountain” (by shuttle or enjoy the walk) to explore the grounds and the mansion.

To secure an optimal tour and reservation time for the house, I recommend you purchase your tickets beforehand. Make sure to pick out a ticket that grants access to all areas of the property that you want to see, since not every option provides access to all areas of the house.

Hershey, Pennsylvania

Distance from Washington, DC: 135 miles

Approximate drive time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Located just two and a half hours away from Washington, DC, by car, this charming city is full of attractions to explore.

From its iconic Hersheypark amusement park, Hershey Story Museum, and Hershey’s Chocolate World, to ZooAmerica and Hershey Gardens there are plenty of activities to enjoy.

But let’s face it. If you’re driving all the way to Hershey, Pennsylvania, from Washington, DC, you’re going for the chocolate.

Petersburg, Virginia

Distance from Washington, DC: 135 miles

Approximate drive time: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Petersburg, Virginia, sits on the Appomattox River and is full of rich history. The city is known for its many historical sites, including Petersburg National Battlefield.

The Battlefield preserves the history of the longest military event of the U.S. Civil War, the siege of Petersburg. The 9.5-month-long siege cut off Petersburg’s supplies, which led to the fall of Richmond (the capital of the Confederacy) and then the surrender of General Robert E. Lee.

Other sites to visit include the Centre Hill Mansion-Museum and Pamplin Historical Park.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

front view of Independence Hall in Philadelphia

Distance from Washington, DC: 140 miles

Approximate drive time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Spending a day in Philadelphia is an experience like no other. The city is full of history, culture, and attractions that will keep you engaged for hours (or days!) on end.

From its iconic landmarks such as the Liberty Bell to exploring Independence National Historical Park, Philadelphia has something for everyone.

Other top things to do in Philadelphia include the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Reading Terminal Market, Congress Hall, the Benjamin Franklin Museum, the Betsy Ross House, and the Museum of the American Revolution.

Colonial Williamsburg

Rear view of the Royal Governor's Palace in Colonial Williamsburg

Distance from Washington, DC: 152 miles

Approximate drive time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

If you have a passion for early American history, then visiting Colonial Williamsburg is an absolute must. Not only will it be a fascinating educational experience, but it’s also the world’s largest living history museum.

While I recommend spending at least a weekend at Colonial Williamsburg, you can still do a lot even if you only have one day in Colonial Williamsburg

Williamsburg was the capital of the Virginia Colony from 1699 to 1780 (when the state capital was moved to Richmond).

In the early 20th century, W.A.R. Goodwin, the rector of Bruton Parish Church astutely suggested to John D. Rockefeller Jr that Williamsburg, Virginia’s historic core should be carefully restored and preserved, including reconstructing some parts if necessary.

Present-day Colonial Williamsburg is a time capsule of the 18th Century, encompassing 85% of its original size and containing iconic landmarks such as Bruton Parish Church.

Jamestown, Virginia

Frame wooden building by an old wooden fence on a river with leaves on the ground.

Distance from Washington, DC: 160 miles

Approximate drive time: 2 hours, 35 minutes

If you’re planning a trip to Virginia’s Historic Triangle area, make sure to include Jamestown Settlement and Historic Jamestowne on your itinerary.

Jamestown, founded in 1607, was the site of the first permanent English settlement in the New World.

Jamestown Settlement is a living history museum that uses video, excellent exhibits, and living history to educate guests about the founding of Jamestown and what life was like there.

Just a stone’s throw from Jamestown Settlement is Historic Jamestowne, the actual home of the first permanent English colony in America on the James River. It is possible to visit both sites in one day.

Yorktown, Virginia

Exterior of the brick Museum of the American Revolution at Yorktown, Virginia.

Distance from Washington, DC: 165 miles

Approximate drive time: 2 hours, 40 minutes

You really should consider adding a day trip visiting Yorktown to your itinerary. Historic Yorktown was the site of the last major battle of the American Revolution.

It was also where General Lord Cornwallis’ forces surrendered to George Washington (Cornwallis couldn’t actually manage to drag himself to Surrender Field that day). 

And as it goes in the musical Hamilton, the world turned upside down. 

If you’re planning a trip to Yorktown, I suggest starting your day at the American Revolution Museum. This will give you some valuable context before heading out to explore the battlefield.

You could easily spend nearly one full day at Yorktown Battlefield alone. 

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Final thoughts on day trips from Washington, DC

Washington, DC, is a great place to visit, but sometimes you just need to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

If you’re looking for a quick day trip that will still give you plenty to do, consider one of the options in this article.

From historical sites to hiking and beaches, there’s something for everyone within just a few hours’ drive of DC.

So pack up the car and hit the road. Your perfect day trip adventure awaits!

Do you have a favorite day trip from Washington, DC? Let me know in the comments.

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