Family Vacation Ideas in Washington DC, Virginia, West Virginia

Suggestions for families, in this part of the Mid-Atlantic US, between New England and the Southeast states.

01 of 08

Washington DC

National Museum of Natural History, photo courtesy of the Smithsonian.
National Museum of Natural History, just one of the Smithsonian museums.

Fantastic sightseeing, (including many free Smithsonian museums), Cherry Blossom Festival... Washington DC is a great place to visit with kids. And it can be affordable, too.

02 of 08

Virginia: Colonial Williamsburg

photo courtesy of Colonial Williamsburg site
Photo courtesy of Colonial Williamsburg site.

Take a family trip to "Living History": not only can you stroll through beautifully restored areas, history comes to life as actors and volunteers depict the Revolutionary period in America. Watch blacksmiths, saddlemakers, wigmakers; ride in horse-drawn carriages; listen to patriots talk about revolution... Add on to your trip: Jamestown and Yorktown, nearby settlements in the "Historic Triangle"; and to up the fun factor, Water Country USA water park and Busch Gardens Williamsburg theme park.

03 of 08

Busch Gardens Williamsburg, and Water Country USA

Griffon, the world's first floorless diving coaster. Photo courtesy of Busch Gardens Williamsburg.
Griffon, the world's first floorless diving coaster. Photo courtesy of Busch Gardens Williamsburg.

Our Guide for Theme Parks praises the coasters at this theme park, including the "first floorless diving coaster"; he also gives kudos to the park's live shows. This theme park has plenty for little kids also, including Sesame Street Forest of Fun with rides and water play zone. The park's theme is Europe, and the new-in-2010 Europe in the Air soars over famous landmarks.
Busch Gardens also operates the large water park Water Country USA, a few miles away.

04 of 08

Virginia: The Homestead

Virginia family trip ideas - Photo courtesy of The Homestead.
Photo courtesy of The Homestead.

This four-season Virginia mountain resort on 3000 acres has been host to "Presidents, Princes, and sports enthusiasts" since it's founding in 1766. Summer activities include horseback riding, sporting clays, fly fishing, falconry, mountain biking; look for "all activities included" packages. Winter has snow sports on-site: skiing on nine downhill runs, ice skating, snowshoeing, x-country skiing, snow-tubing, sleigh rides. Programs for kids and teens, and seasonal celebrations, too.

Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08

Virginia Beach

This popular East Coast vacation spot is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay. Miles of beaches, with lively areas and quiet getaways. Virginia Beach itself is a good-sized town, with oceanfront hotels, easy-on-the-budget lodging, amusement park, water park, and other attractions. A three-mile Boardwalk has family-friendly events and festivals, late spring through summer. Music happens on four oceanfront stages; a bike path runs beside the Boardwalk.

06 of 08

Virginia: Shenandoah National Park

Our Guide for Budget Travel recommends the beautiful Shenandoah Mountains: visitors can camp and enjoy million-dollar views.

07 of 08

White Water River Rafting in West Virginia

White water river rafting in Virginia - Photo © by George E. Sayour,'s Paddling Guide.
Photo © by George E. Sayour,'s Paddling Guide.

River rafting is an exciting activity for families, and West Virginia is a prime area for whitewater adventures. Rivers are classed for intensity; pick the right Class of river for rafting, and even young kids can enjoy the ride. Families can even opt out entirely from any "white water"; most river rafting companies offer a calm river float, often with an opportunity for a dip in the river. Remember, though, that river conditions vary dramatically as the summer progresses!

08 of 08

More Mid-Atlantic Family Getaway Ideas

Photo courtesy of Great Wolf Lodge.
Photo courtesy of Great Wolf Lodge.

New York State and Pennsylvania and sometimes also considered to be Mid-Atlantic states: check out family vacation ideas in Pennsylvania, including Hershey PA, Sesame Place, family resorts, and more. Meanwhile, New York State offers Lake George, the Catskills, an all inclusive family ranch, some outstanding resorts -- and New York City, of course, a wonderful city to visit with kids.

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