A city filled with beautiful monuments, memorials and historic sites, you may be surprised to learn that Washington DC also has its share of awesome outdoor attractions and activities. When you’re making your vacation itinerary for our nation’s capital, be sure to include these top outdoor activities.
Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens
Spanning 14 acres in the southeast area of DC, this national park is dedicated to the study and reproduction of aquatic plants. You’ll see 45 different ponds that are home to hundreds of thousands of water lilies, ferns and lotuses. And you’ll learn the fascinating history of this park that was the result of one man’s love and passion for water lilies. The historic ponds, water gardens and original green houses of Walter Shaw still exist and are a beautiful and interesting site to behold.
A visit here is nothing short of spectacular. See the gardens, bonsai, herb garden, flowering cherry trees and azaleas. This 444-acre park is located in the northeast part of DC and offers visitors a chance to view a variety of unique plants, flowers, aquatic plants, ferns, various historic buildings, a friendship garden, the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum and much more. The Arboretum offers guided moonlight walks and other fun events throughout the year.
Part of the Smithsonian Institution, the National Zoo is one of our country’s oldest zoos. Here, you can see more than 1800 animals from 300 different species. The most famous residents are the Giant Pandas, but you will also be enthralled with giraffes, gorillas, lions, tigers, elephants, flamingos, sea lions, seals, wolves, river otters and much much more. A fun way to spend the day is enjoying all 163 acres of this world-famous zoo.
National Gallery of Art
A part of the National Mall, the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden is an outdoor art museum that features many unique and beautiful works of art. There are seventeen works from the Gallery’s collection. There’s also a fountain, a café, an ice skating rink in the winter and various areas to sit and relish in the scenic surroundings.
DC DUCK Tour
A totally unique way to see the sights for people of all ages, a DC DUCK Tour takes place aboard a World War II amphibious vehicle. You’ll board this special bus that’s also a boat and see the most popular points of interest on land and by sea! The DUCK will transport you around the city streets and then plunge into the Potomac for a tour of the sights from the water.
Rock Creek Park
Take a relaxing hike along beautiful nature trails, there are 32 different trails in this lovely DC park! Also here is a planetarium, horse and bike trails, picnic areas and several recreational fields for playing soccer, football and other sports. Pack a lunch and enjoy the natural scenery.
DC Bike Tours
A variety of companies offer bike tours throughout the city that provide guests a way to enjoy the sights while also enjoying the fresh air and sunshine. There are guided and self-guided tours, daytime and evening options and many companies even rent bikes by the hour, day or week, so you can set your own pace.