While there is so much to see and do within the nation’s capital, many folks don’t realize that there is also an abundance of very unique and interesting things to do just outside of Washington, D.C. Here’s a list of 10 top attractions you’ll definitely want to include on your travel itinerary.
Arlington National Cemetery
A stirring, moving and unforgettable experience awaits you at this military cemetery that serves as an everlasting tribute to those who given the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Among the more than 600 acres of rolling hillsides, memorial trees and natural beauty, over 400,000 service men and women, veterans and their families have been laid to rest. As an active cemetery, Arlington hosts several funerals per week. It is also home to well-known tombs and monuments including the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the John F. Kennedy Memorial. Explore on your own or take a guided tour with Arlington National Cemetery Tours. You can also learn more about the many sites within the cemetery with this interactive Arlington map
National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial
This touching memorial was built to remember the men, women and children who were killed during the September 11 attack on the Pentagon. The tribute features 184 steel and granite benches that are framed by a memorial pool, symbolizing each of the people who lost their life on that fateful day. Each of the victims’ names and ages are inscribed in the memorial. Their names are arranged in chronological order, beginning with the youngest victim, three-year-old Dana Falkenberg, and ending with the oldest, 71-year-old John D. Yamnicky, who was a Navy veteran.
Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail
Located less than 5 miles from Washington, D.C.in Arlington, Virginia, this beautiful trail follows paths that were explored by President George Washington. Visitors are welcome to walk or bike their way along the trail. A great way to enjoy the natural scenery, the course includes numerous side trails and of course, breathtaking views of the river.
George Washington’s Mount Vernon
Serving as the estate that George and Martha Washington called home, Mount Vernon is located about 18 miles out of the city. As a visitor, you’ll have the opportunity to tour the mansion, view intriguing exhibits, see Washington’s Tomb and enjoy the gorgeous gardens. The 50-acre Mount Vernon gives you a close-up look at what 18th century plantation life was like.
Great Falls Park
Located on 800 acres along the banks of the Potomac River, this public park offers an abundance of activity and exploration for those who love the outdoors. Here, you’ll witness nature at its most majestic, and have the opportunity to view three falls and the river as it winds its way around jagged and steep rocks. Whether you wish to hike, fish, rock climb or simply stand on an overlook and view the falls and the river, you’re in for an unforgettable experience.
The National Harbor offers a multitude of entertainment and enjoyment for all who visit Washington, D.C. Here, 150 stores, 30 restaurants and the Capital Wheel ensure that you’ll never run out of things to do. Ride on the 180-foot-high Ferris wheel where you’ll have an amazing view of the entire city, including the White House, the National Mall and Arlington National Cemetery. Rent a paddleboard, kayak or pedal boat and explore the harbor from the water or climb aboard Urban Pirates for an adventurous cruise filled with songs, games, water cannons, treasure and of course, pirates. Adult and family cruises are available.
Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
A companion facility to the National Air & Space Museum in the National Mall, the expansive showcase near Dulles Airport boasts 2 massive airplane hangars displaying over 20,000 space and aviation artifacts from the past century of exploration. Some of the most popular things to do include the Airbus IMAX® Theater, The Bell X-1 Aircraft, Flight Simulators, Observation Tower, and rotating restoration projects.
George Washington Masonic National Memorial
Dedicated to the memory of our first president, this monument stands in Alexandria, Virginia, just a short distance from Washington, D.C. A National Historic Landmark, the memorial features a museum, a research center and library, a performing arts center and concert hall. It also serves as a meeting destination for local and visiting Masonic organizations. Guided tours are offered daily.
U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial
Although you’ll be viewing numerous memorials on and around the National Mall, this special memorial located in Arlington, Virginia is a definite must see. This statue features six United States soldiers raising the flag during World War II. It’s dedicated to the memory of all the fallen heroes who fought for our freedom.
A unique experience, the DEA Museum is dedicated to teaching the public about the history of drugs and drug law enforcement in the United States and how the DEA has served the public throughout its history. A tour includes a look at intriguing exhibits that include law enforcement badges worn by the earliest narcotics agents, photographs, objects and documents of those who were involved in battling drugs and drug trafficking. Also located here are several exhibits that strive to teach about the drug world, the dangers and truths about addiction and more.
Top 10 attractions