As the coronavirus pandemic continues here in the US and around the world, signs of normalcy are beginning to emerge and businesses are beginning to reopen. I believe the entire vacation ecosystem will evolve over time. However, if you are considering staying closer to home in Washington, DC but still venturing out for a little fresh air (and change of scenery), then consider a destination from this list of 13 all within a three-hour drive of Washington, DC.
For those who checked out my “3 Hours From Manhattan” post, you may see some overlap.
As always, please remember to obey local health guidelines, practice social distancing and take necessary precautions to keep you and others around you safe as you hit the open road! (Drive times according to Google Maps - subject to traffic, weather, etc.)
Annapolis - MD - 34 Miles - 45 min Drive
If you’re looking for the perfect getaway, drive no further than 45 minutes to the beautiful city of Annapolis. Maryland’s capital city is set on the Chesapeake Bay and from that Bay comes some of the best seafood in the country. Grab a table outside on the deck at Cantler’s and hammer away on some delicious Maryland crabs. Once you’re fueled up and ready to rock/walk, check out Annapolis’ historic district. 18th century brick homes and churches are found throughout the city. Walk around City Dock and enjoy shopping, dining and entertainment along the bay. And when you get hungry again, grab that hammer and crab away! For more on Maryland...
Richmond - VA - 108 Miles – 2 hour Drive
The capital of Virginia, Richmond is among America’s oldest major cities. Declare “Give me liberty or give me death” at St. John's Church in the very place where Patrick Henry spoke these words which led to the Revolutionary War in 1775. Richmond is full of Revolutionary and Civil War history including historical sites such as The White House of the Confederacy, home of Confederate President Jefferson Davis during the Civil War. Take guided tours of the Richmond Street Arts scene, historic Church Hill and the famous Hollywood Cemetery - an outdoor museum that spans hundreds of acres. Art lovers must stop by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) and when the walking is done, step back into modern day at one of Richmond’s more than 30 craft breweries. For more on Richmond...
Spruce Knob-Seneca Rock National Recreation Area – WV - 179 Miles - 3 hour Drive
Feeling adventurous? Head to Spruce Knob-Seneca Rock National Recreation Area’s 100,000 acres for some of the best rock climbing on the east coast. Hike the 900-foot tall Seneca Rock. If you were looking to stay overnight, bring the family camping in the Seneca Shadows or Big Bend Campgrounds for some amazing hiking, fishing and outdoor rec. Or visit the Spruce Knob Tower – an observation tower at West Virginia’s highest peak. Spruce Knob-Seneca Rock National Recreation Area is a perfect, serene escape from the day to day rush of the Capital. For more on West Virginia...
Philadelphia - PA - 140 Miles - 2 hr, 30 min Drive
The City of Brotherly love is one you’ll certainly fall in love with. Full of rich history, an amazing music and art scene, as well as some of the best restaurants and bars in the northeast, Philly really does have it all. Check out the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, where the Constitution and Declaration of Independence were signed. Then head down to South Street for some shopping and drinks. Philly cheesesteaks are great - but don't leave without trying a roast pork hero at DiNic’s Roast Pork in the Reading Terminal Market. For more on Pennsylvania...
Hershey - PA - 133 Miles - 2 hr, 10 min Drive
Hershey, Pennsylvania, the home of the Hershey Chocolate Company, bills itself as "The Sweetest Place on Earth," and I’m not here to argue with them. The city was built on chocolate, as were the great majority of its attractions. It’s not just for kids - the Hotel Hershey is one of the most stunning resorts in the northeast, and it's just down the road from the fabulous Troeg’s Brewery. Though let's be honest - the bars you come here for are made of chocolate. Visit Hershey's Chocolate World for a virtual tour of the Hershey factory, and Hersheypark ups the excitement with Hershey-themed roller coasters, water slides and more. For more on Pennsylvania...
Rehoboth Beach and Bethany Beach - DE - 123 Miles - 2 hr, 30 min Drive
This one square mile community is located in the mid-Atlantic and is the largest beach resort in the State of Delaware. Known as the “Nation’s Summer Capital”, Rehoboth attracts visitors with the Rehoboth Beach boardwalk - stretching more than one mile along Rehoboth Beach. This famous boardwalk is lined with shops, restaurants and other amusements. Rehoboth Beach and Delaware Seashore State Park provide miles of coastline for all to enjoy at a safe distance. And with over 90 restaurants and eateries in the area, you’ll have no problem finding something for you. I recommend you stop into Revelation Brewery for one of their 11 craft brewed drafts before heading back to the city. For more on Delaware...
Colonial Beach - VA - 62 Miles - 1 hr, 24 min Drive
Voted number one beach in the state, Colonial Beach has been known as the “Playground of the Potomac” since 1892. Less crowded than Virginia Beach or Ocean City, Colonial Beach is home to the second-largest beachfront in Virginia. Visit the George Washington Birthplace National Monument, or head to Westmoreland State Park’s great riverfront beaches, hiking trails, and boat rentals on over 1,300 acres. For more on Virginia...
Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park – MD - 106 Miles - 1 hr, 58 min Drive
Known as “The Grand Old Ditch”, the park has become a hub of outdoor recreational activity, with biking, bird watching and even mule drawn barge rides. The canal follows the route of the Potomac River for 184.5 miles from Washington, D.C. to Cumberland, Maryland. It operated from 1828-1924 and hundreds of its original structure still exist. Sail down the canal and observe locks, lock houses and aqueducts from almost 200 years ago while you soak in the natural beauty on this truly unique weekend family trip! For more on Maryland...
Dover - DE - 95 Miles - 1 hr, 52 min Drive
The capital of Delaware - Dover is a surprisingly exciting town for a state that is considered anything but, well... exciting. It’s home to NASCAR at the Dover International Speedway, harness racing at Dover Downs, 10 nationally recognized museums, art galleries and more. Stroll downtown on Green and Loockerman Streets and check out the historic Colonial and Victorian buildings, plus specialty book, candle and jewelry stores. It's ideal for shopping or a bite to eat. For more on Delaware...
Baltimore - MD - 41 Miles – 1 hour Drive
This town is WAY more than just what you see on The Wire. The Inner Harbor is a festive area with street entertainers, open-air concerts, fireworks, parades and more. Fells Point, the oldest section of Baltimore, reminiscent of an old English village, complete with pubs and cobblestone streets. Attractions like the National Aquarium, the American Visionary Art Museum and the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum are great for all ages. And let's not forget pound and pound of delicious fresh crab meat. Charm City is worth the drive. For more on Maryland...
Ocean City - MD - 142 Miles - 2 hr, 45 min Drive
Looking to play a little beach blanket bingo? Well Ocean City, Maryland has 10 miles of some of the most beautiful shore line in the country. And I’m not just saying that – Trip Advisor named Ocean City one of America’s Top 10 beach destinations! Hit the surf, then stroll their amazing three-mile boardwalk (also voted one of America’s best). The boardwalk takes visitors back in time with great beach shopping, bike riding, arcades and family amusements. Take the family out for a taste of the way life used to be. Side note: Life tastes a lot like funnel cake! For more on Maryland...
Shenandoah National Park - VA - 93 Miles - 1 hr, 40 min Drive
Shenandoah National Park extends along the Blue Ridge Mountains for over 100 miles. The scenic Skyline Drive runs the length of the park and the 105-mile drive is a great way to see much of the park’s stunning natural beauty. Networks of trails including a section of the Appalachian Trail run throughout. Visit the breathtaking peaks at Hawksbill and Old Rag mountains. If you’re lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of an elusive black bear. If you and your family are the outdoors type, grab your gear and prepare for an amazing camping vacation at SNP’s 4 camp grounds. While here, check out Luray Caverns, a cavern system discovery in 1878. In addition to Luray Caverns, the nearby Car and Carriage Caravan Museum, Shenandoah Heritage Village, and Toy Town Junction are all included with your Luray Caverns admission ticket. (Don’t worry, you can thank me later!) For more on Virginia...
Harpers Ferry - WV - 67 Miles – 1 hr, 25 min Drive
Harpers Ferry is a small town with BIG history. The site of Harper’s Rebellion, it’s home to multiple historic sites, including John Brown’s Fort and White Hall Tavern. Walk in the steps of historic figures like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Brown, "Stonewall" Jackson, Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass, who left their mark on this small West Virginia town. Harpers Ferry National Historical Park has everything you want from hiking parts of the Appalachian Trail, to walking across the Potomac on the Goodloe E. Byron Memorial Pedestrian Walkway. This area mixes beautiful outdoor rec, with centuries of American history for a road trip vacation unlike most others. For more on West Virginia...
I am on a mission to get you traveling more often. As the host of the Emmy award- winning, nationally syndicated television television for PBS and the Create channel, "Beyond Your Backyard," I travel (on average) 25 weeks per year. I am very grateful for the opportunity to meet cool people, experience new places, eat delicious food and work with the best production crew in the world. Hopefully, through this blog, you will join me on my travels and be reminded just how exciting it is to be alive!
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