Traveling Between BWI Airport and Washington, DC

BWI Airport
Greg Pease / Getty Images

BWI Airport is located about 45 miles north of Washington, DC and 10 miles south of the Baltimore Inner Harbor. The Washington, DC area is served by three different airports. Learn about each one and the routes offered by airlines serving each to decide which you will use. If you plan to take a car or taxi to DC, it's generally more expensive to travel to/from BWI than National or Dulles Airports, but flights are often less expensive to Baltimore and traffic is generally easier to navigate. BWI airport is a major hub for Southwest Airlines.

The following guide provides transportation options from the Baltimore airport to DC and the surrounding area. 

Shuttles and Car Services

In order to manage traffic on the terminal roadway, BWI Airport has created specific pick-up zones for hotel shuttles and off-airport parking shuttles. Zones 1 and 3 are designated for hotel shuttles. Zone 2 is for off-airport parking shuttles and Zone 4 is used by both hotels and off-airport parking companies.

  • SuperShuttle: Available 24 hours a day, this shuttle provides door to door shared rides within the Baltimore Washington metropolitan area. Call 800-BLUEVAN.
  • The Airport Shuttle: Offers door to door reservation service throughout the State of Maryland. Call 800-776-0323.
  • BayRunner Shuttle: Daily shuttle service is provided between BWI Maryland's Eastern Shore and the western mountains. Call 855-BAY-RUNR.
  • ExecuCar: The luxury sedan, owned by SuperShuttle, provides service to and from BWI airport and BWI Amtrak throughout the state of Maryland, Washington DC, and Virginia. Call 800-410-4444.

App-Based Transportation (Uber and Lyft)

Passengers using these services are advised to arrange for their ride directly or through its app, ask to be dropped off at the publicly accessible curb closest to the airline’s ticket counter, arrange to be picked up from the baggage claim area.

  • Uber: The company offers a low-cost transportation alternative to travelers who use a mobile application on a smartphone to submit a trip request. Uber drivers use their own cars and pricing is similar to that of a taxi.  Payment is handled exclusively through Uber and not with the driver personally.
  • Lyft: The app-based transportation can be super affordable by giving you the opportunity to share a ride. This is a great alternative from the airport as there are often lots of people going the same direction. Rides must be arranged in advance.

    Trains to the Washington DC Area

    • Amtrak provides direct rail service to Union Station in Downtown Washington DC. The BWI Rail Station is just a few miles from the airport and free shuttles are available. For Amtrak schedules and information call 800-USA-RAIL
    • MARC Trains also depart from the BWI Rail Station and run to Union Station in Washington, DC and New Carrollton, Seabrook and Bowie in Prince George’s County. Free shuttles are available from the airport terminal. For information and MARC schedules call 800-325-RAIL.

    Taxis

    BWI Airport Taxi is the exclusive supplier of taxi transportation services to BWI Airport. The taxi stand is located on the Lower Level outside the baggage claim area. The estimated rate to Washington, DC is $63. For your return to BWI, I would recommend that you reserve a seat on a shuttle or with a car service as listed above.

    Rental Cars

    A variety of car rental companies serve BWI Airport. Keep in mind that if you are staying in Downtown Washington DC you may not need a car and parking can be expensive. 

    • Avis: 800-230-4898
    • Alamo: 888-826-6893
    • Budget: 800-218-7992
    • Dollar: 800-800-5252
    • Enterprise: 800-325-8007
    • Hertz: 800-654-4173
    • National: 877-222-9058
    • Thrifty: 800-541-7044

    Bus

    BWI Express Metrobus departs every 40 minutes for the Greenbelt Metro Station. For more information call 202-637-7000. There are two bus stops. One is located on the lower level of the International Pier and the other stop is located on the lower level of Concourse A/B.

    Parking at BWI Airport

    Free shuttle buses are provided to transport passengers from the parking lots to the airport.

    • Hourly Parking: Located directly across the street from the terminal (an easy walk). The first half hour of parking is free, Rates are $2 each half-hour thereafter, up to a maximum of $22 per day.
    • Daily Garage: Located at MD 170 and Elm Road. Rates are $3 per half hour for the first hour and $3 per hour thereafter, with a maximum of $12 a day.
    • Express Service Parking (ESP): Located on Elm Road. Rates are $4 per hour or a maximum of $10 per day.
    • Long Term Parking: Located on MD 170. Rates are $8 per day.
    • Discount Parking: There are several off-site parking lots that provide discounted parking rates and shuttle service to the airport. You may find significant savings. Visit their websites: Econopark Express, The Parking Spot, Preflight Parking, and FastPark.
    • Cell Phone Waiting Area: If you are picking up a passenger, you can wait in your car until your arriving party calls you on your cell phone to let you know that the plane has arrived. The lot is located next to BWI Marshall’s Daily Garage at Terminal Road and Scott Drive (one block off of MD 170). Take exit 1-A off of I-195, turn right onto Terminal Road and look for the Cell Phone Lot on your left.

      Got an early morning flight? You may want to consider staying overnight at a hotel near the airport.