Washington D.C.

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Washington makes a superb base for exploring nearby historic sites, from the Founding Fathers' birthplaces to bloody Civil War battlefields. Old Town Alexandria (reachable via metro or driving routes 1 or 395) and George & Martha Washington's home, Mount Vernon, can be combined in a delightful day trip if you're driving. If you don't have your own wheels, Alexandria can be reached by metro (King Street on the blue and yellow lines) while Mount Vernon is also accessible by a 90-minute Spirit of Washington II Potomac River cruise.

Day Trips from Washington D.C.

Alexandria

Prior to moving downriver to Mount Vernon, George Washington lived across the Potomac in Alexandria (15-20 minutes by car or metro). This port once rivaled New York in importance and includes wetlands, mansions, and forts.

seven miles South, VA, www.visitalexandriava.com/
Tags: family | culture | history | day trip

Harpers Ferry

It's about an hour and a half to drive or ride on the train (Amtrak's Capitol Limited and the MARC commuter rail both serve the region) to Harpers Ferry National Historic Park from Washington, but the trip is worth it. The area, which is tucked in between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers, is naturally beautiful and historically rich - it was here that federal troops surrendered during the Civil War.

Visitor’s Center at 485 Filmore St. (about 70 miles, from D.C.; 1.5 hours by car or train), West Virginia, WV, 304-535-6029, www.nps.gov/hafe
Tags: family | outdoors | culture | history | day trip

Mount Vernon

Tour the shoemaker's shop, stables, spinning room, and coach house on Washington's imposing former estate. Stop by George and Martha's graves before you go.

15 miles South, 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Pkwy, VA, 703-780-2000, www.mountvernon.org
Tags: family | editor pick | culture | history | day trip

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