Back to Articles

aboutThings to do in Washington DC

Knock Your Socks Off With These Quaint, Relaxing Day-Trip Locations Near Washington D.C.  

by Brian Gate

Apr 19, 2018 - The White House, free historical and art museums, beautiful mansions, world-class restaurants, memorials and iconic landmarks in Washington D.C. are not to be missed but when you’re in District of Columbia and hoping to do what the locals do, organize a day trip out to some of the less touristy neighborhoods around Washington D.C. instead. Most sightseeing tours will take you around 'first-timer' sites like Lincoln Memorial, United States Capitol, National Mall, the Smithsonian Institution which includes 19 museums and 9 research, and cultural centers, Washington Monument, and the National Air and Space Museum.

Breaking away from the norm isn’t too big of a task nor is it a big deal. Most hidden gems of Washington D.C. are within a short charter bus ride away with most at the borders of either Virginia or Maryland. Getting on a rented charter bus with a group of like-minded people, however, is what makes a day trip gives it so much more vim and vigor! They’re great for families, ideal for romantic getaways and would make the perfect place for corporate events and retreats. You’ll find yourself with a deeper understanding of the locals and the traditional American culture after you’ve worked your way around some of these sites. Since the tourist attractions around Washington D.C. will be choked with visitors, by visiting the following sites, you don’t have to stretch yourself too thin.  

winery wine rack, explore wineries vineyards around Washington DC

1. Shenandoah National Park

Front Royal Entrance Station, 17157 Skyline Dr, Front Royal, VA 22630
Location : 1 hour and 20 minutes from Washington D.C. via I-66 E
If you're craving for some fresh mountain air, there’s no better place than Shenandoah National Park. Shenandoah Valley is sandwiched by the Blue Ridge Mountains and Allegheny Mountains. For your tour, it should start at the park’s north entrance where you’ll be making your way along Skyline Drive (it has 75 scenic overlooks along the way) towards Dark Hollow Trail, past a couple of scenic waterfalls in a park, and then enjoy panoramic views from the Stony Man Trail. For those feeling a little bit more adventurous, sign up for a horseback trail ride, or strap up for a kayaking expedition along Shenandoah River with the whole brood.

Where the little ones are concerned, they’ll get a kick out of stopping at Dinosaur Land right outside the park entrance. Dinosaur Land has been a top roadside attraction since it started operating 5 decades ago and it continues to educate visitors about the world of prehistoric past and life during the Mesozoic era. With everything from scenic drives to waterfalls, kid-friendly attractions to horseback riding tours, your day trip to Shenandoah National Park is sure to be a memorable one for every single person in your group!

2. Wine Tasting in Charlottesville

Location : slightly more than 2 hours from Washington D.C. via US-29 N and I-66 E

Monticello, for one, would be a starting point if you’re visiting Charlottesville, VA. The third President of the United States inherited the land from his father at the age of 26 and it became the primary plantation of the President who dug in his heels and played a role in designing and building Monticello. It’s been reported that there are no other buildings in the United States that reflect the personality of its owner such as Monticello. Charlottesville is also acknowledged by many as the birthplace of American Wine, boasting of the robust Monticello Wine Trail.

There are more than 30 wineries, including award-winning ones, to explore which includes Early Mountain Vineyards, Glass House Winery, Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards, Veritas Vineyard & Winery, Kilaurwen Winery and many more. Your options include renting a charter bus to take you around, getting on a bike or going on horseback...all against the backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

3. Brookside Gardens

Location : 45 minutes from Washington D.C. via MD-97 S and 16th St NW
1800 Glenallan Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20902
(301) 962-1400
It’s easy for you to find your own sweet spot in this gorgeous, award-winning garden which is located on the grounds of Wheaton Regional Park. Spanning 50 acres, you can stop by its aquatic garden, Japanese-style garden, rose garden and butterfly garden for Instagram-worthy pictures. The gardens are open every day and are open to the public; while admission is free, the participation in its events may require a modest fee. However, it is a known fact that it hosts some of the most spectacular nature-based events, tours, classes and exhibitions in the region, especially the ‘Garden of Lights’ exhibit during the holiday season.

It has 2 conservatories to explore to-date. Its attractions like the forested wetlands of Woodland Walk, a garden of yew hedges at Yew Garden, and a collection of spring bulbs and summer flowers at Trial Garden has something unique to proffer in their own right. Drop by its horticultural reference library if you’d like to learn about gardening and local wildlife or pop by the Brookside Visitors Center to check out what attractions are worthy of your time around the garden and park.

4. Blue Ridge Parkway

Runs from Virginia right through to Cherokee in North Carolina
470 miles drive
‘It should be on everyone’s bucket list, a drive to take on at least once in their lifetime’ - these comments are not uncommon amongst the online community. The longest national parkway in the country, it is nationally known for its striking beauty as it connects Shenandoah National Park to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Sprinkled along its 470 miles are 14 Visitors Centers and countless stores and attractions like Barter Theater, Mabry Mill Restaurant & Gift Shop, Craggy Gardens, Crabtree Falls, Linville Falls, Graveyard Fields, Hickory Nut Gap Farm, Peaks of Otter Winery, Old Hampton Store, Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson and Woodlands BBQ and the Museum of North Carolina Minerals.

Throughout the drive, nature will tempt you. With the speed limit of 45 mph strictly enforced and no big trucks are allowed, it is designed specifically for visitors who relish some time off to soak in some nature, pop by some convenience stores along the way, enjoy a quiet meal with their families and delight in the sweeping vistas of America’s most natural sights. Not to mention that there is a farmers market, delightful soul food, wine and beer, arts and culture, camping, waterfalls, fishing spots, and watersports to check out and sign up for along the way.

5. Gunpowder Falls State Park

7200 Graces Quarters Rd, Middle River, MD 21220
(410) 592-2897
Location : 1 hour 15 minutes drive from Washington D.C. via Baltimore-Washington Parkway
Your trip from Washington D.C. to the Gunpowder Falls State Park itself will be a sight-soaking one, on top of being a relaxing drive. Heading towards one of the largest state parks in the state of Maryland, you’ll be waiting with bated breath to enjoy 18,000 acres worth of wide open space made up of  6 distinct areas which include tidal wetlands, plunging slopes, forested areas, meadows and much, much more. Along the route, you'll be skimming past corners of Greenbelt Park off Route 193, NASA Visitor Center located on Soil Conservation Road, City of Greenbelt and the Greenbelt Museum, National Wildlife Visitor Center.

You can also orchestrate a freewheeling experience with your family and friends, taking your pick from the 120 miles worth of multi-purpose trails around the park. They are often used for hiking and horseback riding purposes as well as swimming and archery. Pop by the beachside before chowing down on local delicacies and then, if time permits, taking the rented charter bus to the neighboring amusement park and the full-service marina. The campsites, which are open during summer months, are available on a first-come-first-service basis so, if this tops your list of priorities, head over to their website or give them a call to book your spot ahead of time.

5. William Paca House and Garden

186 Prince George St, Annapolis, MD 21401
Location : 45 minutes drive from Washington D.C. via US-50 W
(410) 990-4543

If you don’t want to go too far from Washington D.C., hop on the rented charter bus and make your way to the historical Paca House and Garden instead! The magnificent mansion and its grounds are perfect for field trips with your students, a day-out with your over-energized kids, and is a must-visit site for those who love history.

The home was formerly known as Carvel Hall, as the tour guide will tell you, and the five-part Georgian mansion, which dates as far back as the 1760s, had its foundation restored and renovated time and time again in an effort to restore it back to its original condition. William Paca had a lot of say about the home’s architecture and design. On top of being one of the signatories of the Declaration of Independence, was also the governor of Maryland. Knowledgeable staff guides visitors around, showing off items, paintings and period furnishing belonging to the former Governor, and then taking them out to the spacious, manicured gardens for a walk-about. Group tours can be arranged in advance through their website and on the phone so, give them a call and give them a heads up to avoid disappointment.

Experience The Magical Gravitational Pull Of Washington, Maryland and Virginia’s Top Day Trip Attractions At Your Own Pace

Whether you’re into bucolic farmlands, challenging hiking terrains, interested in historic homes, or a foodie hunting down for a memorable chow down, there’s something for you not too far off from Washington D.C. After your day trip, the option is yours to continue the journey back to Washington D.C. in the D.C. charter bus, signing up for food, wine-tasting, bike or hop off for walking tours all around the historic nerve center of the country.

We Promise Personalized Experiences For All Our Washington D.C. Charter Bus Customers

We have vehicles like 49-57 Passenger coaches, 30 passenger mini buses, school buses, ADA Accessible vehicles, executive sprinter vans, 20 passenger party buses, 40 passenger party buses, 10-20 passenger limousines and exotic vehicles like Cadillac, Lincoln, Suburban, Navigator, Hummer, and Escalade in our fleet. If you have a specific type of vehicle you would like to rent, contact us and speak to our friendly customer service agents. It will take no longer than a few minutes! We can also help you customize the vehicle and the whole bus booking experience if your event is on a large scale so, wait no more and get in touch with us right now!