Top 15 Weekend Getaways Near Washington, DC

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    Best Places to Visit Near Washington DC

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    The Washington, DC capital region offers a wonderful variety of weekend getaway destinations. Within a few hours drive you can visit big cities, small towns, beaches and mountains and enjoy a wide range of activities from shopping to golf to exploring historical sites to relaxing on the beach.

    Whatever your idea of fun is, you can find lots of opportunities to relax at these getaway locations near Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia. Explore this list and see visiting guides for some of the region's top attractions and "must see" places.

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    Annapolis, Maryland

    Annapolis, MD Aerial View
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    Annapolis is a great place to visit and makes an ideal weekend getaway. Visitors can stroll along the city dock and enjoy shopping, dining and the beautiful scenery of the state capital of Maryland and the sailing capital of America. Take a sightseeing cruise or walking tour and learn about the history of this beautiful seaport. Annapolis is the home of the United States Naval Academy and St. John's College, the third oldest institution of higher education in the United States. To learn more about the area, see my Visitor's Guide to Annapolis.

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    Baltimore, Maryland

    Baltimore skyline and Inner Harbor
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    Baltimore is one of the major seaports in the United States and there are many things to do in this nearby city. Top attractions in Baltimore include the Inner Harbor, National Aquarium, Maryland Science Center, Fort McHenry, Camden Yards and Fells Point. The city has great opportunities for shopping, dining and live entertainment. Visitors of all ages will find a variety of fun and interesting activities year-round. To learn more about the area, see a guide to the Top 10 Things to Do in Baltimore. 

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    Eastern Shore - Maryland and Virginia

    Marina at Chesapeake Beach, Western Shore of Chesapeake Bay, Maryland, USA
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    The "Eastern Shore", the eastern side of the Chesapeake Bay, is characterized by historic towns, beaches and beautiful natural areas. These areas are especially popular getaway destinations during the summer months. Visit Chestertown, St Michaels, Cambridge, Ocean City or Assateague Island in Maryland or Chincoteague Island, Tangier Island, Onancock and Cape Charles in Virginia. See also my top picks of the Best Beaches Near Washington, DC.

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    Colonial Williamsburg

    Colonial Williamsburg
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    Step back in time and visit Colonial Williamsburg, the world’s largest living history museum, encompassing 301-acres of restored, reconstructed, and historically furnished buildings. Learn about the history of colonial America in an interactive setting. Williamsburg is a part of the Historic Triangle of Virginia that includes historic sites,  amusement parks, shopping, and fine dining. For more information, see my Visitor's Guide to Williamsburg.

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    Old Town Alexandria

    Old Town Alexandria
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    Alexandria is a quaint historic town and a fun place to explore. Located just six miles south of downtown Washington, DC, you can easily combine a visit with some time in the nation's capital. Old Town Alexandria, is the third oldest historic district in the United States and contains more than 4,200 historic buildings dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries. Some of the top attractions include the Torpedo Factory Art Center, the George Washington Masonic Memorial, and Fort Ward Museum and Park. There are plenty of great restaurants and unique places to shop. Read more about Alexandria.

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    Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

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    This important historic site attracts visitors from all over the country to participate in a wide variety of activities including walking and driving tours, campfire programs, living history demonstrations, Junior Ranger programs and specialized group tours. A new Museum and Visitor Center and Cyclorama Gallery opened in 2008. The historic town is a year-round destination with a wide range of attractions and events and is even becoming a well-established culinary and agritourism region. For more information about the area, see my Visitor's Guide to Gettysburg

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    Deep Creek Lake - Garrett County, Maryland

    Deep Creek
    ••• Deep Creek. Rachel Cooper

    Mountains, rivers and lakes offer a wide selection of activities from active outdoor adventures to just plain relaxing. Enjoy hiking, bicycling, picnicking, boating, fishing, camping, swimming, and horseback riding in warmer weather and skiing, snowboarding, snowtubing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling during the winter months. For more information, see my Visitor's Guide to Deep Creek Lake

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    New York City

    Union Square
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    New York City is an exciting place to visit. Go to a Broadway show, see the Empire State Building, Central Park, the Statue of Liberty, the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the September 11th Memorial and Museum. Enjoy dining and shopping and take some time to explore some of the unique neighborhoods of the largest city in the U.S. Take a guided city tour and see some of the lesser-known attractions. See information on bus service from DC to NYC. 

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    Shenandoah National Park

    Shenandoah National Park
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    Shenandoah National Park is located in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Explore the forests, streams, waterfalls while enjoying a wide range of recreational activities, such as hiking, fishing, camping, bicycling, wildlife viewing and more. For more information, see my Visitor's Guide to Shenandoah National Park

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    Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

    Harpers Ferry
    ••• Harpers Ferry. Courtesy of West Virginia Division of Tourism

    Within an hours drive, you can get away from city life and enjoy a variety of cultural, historical and recreational attraction in the mountains of West Virginia. Learn about Civil War history at Harpers Ferry National Historic Park and enjoy outdoor recreation in the state parks such as hiking, bicycling, boating, golfing, skiing and snow sports, Whitewater rafting, fishing, and hunting. Read more about Harpers Ferry.

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    Brandywine Valley

    Longwood Gardens
    ••• Longwood Gardens. Courtesy of Chester County Conference and Visitors Bureau

    Discover unique museums and gardens just north of Wilmington, Delaware. Longwood Gardens is a year-round treasure with 1,050 acres of gardens, woodlands, and meadows. Key attractions focus on the history of the Dupont estates including the Hagley Museum, Nemours Mansion and Gardens, and Winterthur Museum. For more information, see my Visitors Guide to the Brandywine Valley

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    Southern Maryland

    Calvert Marine Museum
    ••• Calvert Marine Museum. Rachel Cooper

    "Southern Maryland” includes Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s Counties and a thousand miles of shoreline along the Chesapeake Bay and the Patuxent River. The region is probably one of the most undiscovered in the Washington DC area and has a lot to offer for weekend visitors. Explore the small towns, state and national parks, historic sites, unique shops and waterfront restaurants. Enjoy recreational activities such as hiking, biking, boating, fishing and crabbing. For more information, see my Visitor's Guide to Southern Maryland.

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    Fredericksburg, Virginia

    ••• Kenmore. Rachel Cooper

    Fredericksburg, Virginia is a great weekend getaway destination and offers a wide variety of things to do. The charming Virginia town, set along the Rappahannock River, contains 350 original 18th and 19th century buildings and is home to many living history museums, restaurants, shops, and art galleries. For more information, see Explore Fredericksburg, VA: Top 10 Things to See and Do

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    Winchester, Virginia

    Winchester, VA
    ••• Winchester, VA. Rachel Cooper

    Located in the Shenandoah Valley region of Virginia, Winchester, is a small town with charming shops, unique restaurants, historic landmarks and a wide variety of recreation opportunities. The town is just 72 miles northwest of Washington DC and 22 miles north of Shenandoah National Park. Old Town Winchester hosts great festivals throughout the year and is an interesting place to visit. Top attractions include The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, Stonewall Jackson's Headquarters Museum, Old Court House Civil War Museum and more. For more information, see my Visitor's Guide to Winchester.

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    Hershey, Pennsylvania

    ••• Hersheypark. Courtesy of Hersheypark

    Hershey, Pennsylvania is located about 2 hours north of the Washington, DC area and makes an easy weekend getaway and is especially popular with families. Hersheypark is the main attraction and features more than 60 rides and attractions, including roller coasters, kiddie rides, water attractions, live entertainment, games, food and shops. Additional attractions in the area include Hershey’s Chocolate World, ZooAmerica Wildlife Park, Hershey Gardens and more. For more information, see my Visitor's Guide to Hersheypark