Five Favorite Day Trips from DC

Five Favorites, Travel

Maybe you’re just in town for a few days or maybe you’re looking to avoid a tourist rush, but there’s plenty of quick trips worth taking that’ll get you outside the city. These are my five personal favorite day trips from DC:

Harpers Ferry

A friend recently visited from Indiana and wanted to cross West Virginia off her list of states unvisited. We initially planned a longer trip, but when we ran out of time, we looked a little closer to home. Harpers Ferry is a little town with history and nature galore. The town was home to John Brown’s rebellion but also has a great hike and plenty of tubing/rafting/kayaking opportunities. The hour and a half drive from the city was easy enough and parking was $15 for a spot through the National Park Service. We hiked the Maryland Heights Trail to the overlook and grabbed lunch in town.

Luray Caverns

If you’re looking to beat the heat, Luray Caverns is a fantastic option. To get there from the city is a beautiful drive through Virginia that’ll take you through Shenandoah. I’ve been in plenty of caves in my time (like four or five, okay? That’s a lot…) and Luray Caverns is amazing. Your guided walk through the caves is both scientifically fascinating and historically interesting. Plus the temperature inside always feels about 60 degrees.

Baltimore Aquarium

Maybe you’ve made one too many trips to the National Zoo and need to mix up your animal intake – take a drive up to Baltimore’s National Aquarium. The Inner Harbor has plenty of cool restaurants and the aquarium is amazing. I could stare at the jellyfish for hours, but there’s also other fish and critters to learn about. Bonus points: they’ve stopped their dolphin shows and are now focused even more on sustainability and the impact on local water systems.

Delaware Beaches

I’m not a huge beach person – too much sand, too many people, too high a chance for sunburn. But I love the sound of the ocean. Delaware has some lovely beaches within a 3 hour drive (if you’re lucky). Rehobeth and Bethany both have great beaches with plenty of food nearby. My personal favorite stop is Lewes Beach which is a little quieter and less busy but still just as cute. Another tip: visit off season – it won’t be a thousand degrees and packed in October or May but you’ll still get to hear the water.

Old Town Alexandria

Maybe you don’t have a car or maybe you only have a half day (or maybe you’re seriously inspired by my post about my favorite part of the Metro area), but Old Town Alexandria is worth the trip. Metro to the end of King Street and walk towards the water. After stopping in every cute shop and sampling ice cream, enjoy a wander along the water. You can either make the hike back to the Metro or hop on the free King Street Trolley.

What’s your favorite day trip from the city?

Wisteria Hysteria

london, Travel

London has been kind enough to give us some decently pleasant weather. The rain has stopped for now, the temperature is not too miserable yet, the sun has been shining brightly for the last few days, and the flowers are in bloom.

Because I am a master procrastinator, instead of studying for an exam, I decided to follow some blogs’ advice and take a wander to find the stunning Wisteria that has flooded my Instagram feed for the past few weeks.

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I planned out a route and decided I would take off on my adventure on Friday. The first stop was Abingdon Road, then down to Kynance Mews, then down to Elm Place, back up to Sumner Place. The map was designed to give me a loop, starting at one tube stop and ending at another, making it convenient for me to get there and back to work if need be. (Some of the later stops were left off for another day’s adventure. One of the perks of living in London, rather than just visiting.)

Thanks to procrastination and a work schedule designed for sleeping in, I pushed it off a day. So, on Saturday I woke up early (ish), went to a theatre on the most beautiful spring day to watch Avengers: Infinity War (I have so many feelings, let’s chat…), and then hopped on the tube at Tottenham Court Road to begin my walk through Kensington.

It started with a walk through Holland Park, which was packed with folks enjoying the nice weather. There were little baby moorhen chicks floating around in a pond that definitely entertained me for a good fifteen minutes. They were so fluffy. I had hoped to see some bluebells, but in avoiding the crowds, I missed the flowers. Oh well…

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I made it out of the park and grabbed a bite to eat at Waitrose, cooling down a bit and plotting out my wanders.

Wisteria was all over the place, more spectacular in some areas than others. The sun would hit a bunch and you could understand why people loved the vibrant purple colors. Drapped over a house or a fence, it seems to pop in London’s otherwise drab color scheme. Some of it was tucked down streets I would have otherwise overlooked and I definitely ran into a couple of folks with the same idea as me. The locals would give me a strange glance as I wandered down a dead end street or through an alleyway while staring at Google Maps, but at some point you know they’d all pulled out their phones to capture the same flowers as I was attempting to photograph.

I originally planned to tack on an adventure through Notting Hill on the end of my walk, but due to the pollen and general exhaustion and laziness, I made my way home, with plans to wander Notting Hill on another day.

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