Let It Snow! 8 Cozy Vacation Rentals near Winter Fun

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Pull out the snowsuits and get ready for these winter vacations that promise (mostly) snowbound adventures. From snowboarding in Davis, WV to skiing in Fairfield, Pa; you don’t have to go too far from DC to find the perfect winter getaway for the whole family. We even have a cozy destination that seats you and your family in a heated igloo. Pack your coats and hats, and keep reading to find your next Airbnb close to all the snow-filled fun.

Snowboard Together | Davis, WV

You can't beat the views from this Airbnb just a short drive from the snowboarding at Canaan Valley Resort. Aptly named Heaven's Views, you'll want to bundle up and watch a chilly sunset from the fully-equipped deck complete with a hot tub. Then, your crew can try out some snowboarding fun nearby. The resort offers adaptive lessons for people with all abilities.  

Sleeps: 8
Costs: $241/night
Online: airbnb.com

Ice Hockey Madness | Arlington, VA

The DMV's very own Washington Capitals open their practices to anyone ready to cheer them on. Just a short drive from the city and your hockey-loving team can watch ice hockey fun for free. After training, head to a 100-year-old farmhouse in the Penrose community of Arlington. The fenced-in backyard is the perfect spot to build a snowman. 

Sleeps: 10
Cost: $366/night
Online: airbnb.com

Snowshoeing Fun | McHenry, MD

On top of the WISP Mountain, try some snowshoeing fun! They say it is as easy as walking, and the Nordic Trails at WISP are spectacular. After a day in the snow, your whole crew can snuggle up around the outdoor fire or splash in the hot tub at this mountaintop cabin. You'll love the local hiking trails and proximity to Deep Creek Lake. 

Sleeps: 8
Cost: $410/night
Online: airbnb.com

Downtown Christmas Village |Baltimore, MD

Escape to Barre Circle, where this large home provides the perfect location to visit Downtown Baltimore's Christmas Village and all the city's winter fun. With parking for two cars, you can bring the whole family or plan to walk to all the downtown fun. In addition, it's the perfect place to stay and experience an authentic German Christmas market.  

Sleeps: 14
Costs: $286/night
Online: airbnb.com

Scenic Winter Views | Great Falls, VA

Get ready for a high-end living experience for the whole family. By day, you can get out and take in the spectacular waterfalls of the Potomac and Mather Gorge. On a chilly day, the falls look like a cascade of magical icicles. By night, curl up together on the cozy couch or in the kid-sized teepee and watch your favorite winter movie. 

Sleeps: 8
Cost: $165/night
Online: airbnb.com

Ski the Slopes | Fairfield, PA

You'll find the perfect home away from home in this Airbnb just three minutes from Liberty Mountain Resort and 90 minutes from DC. With room to spread out and a deck full of fun, everyone in the family will love staying in this rustic chalet. Then, head to the resort for fun on the slopes and ski lessons that start as young as age three.    

Sleeps: 10
Costs: $340/night
Online: airbnb.com

Sled Down the Perfect Hill | Washington, DC

When the snow starts to fall, grab your favorite friends and check in to this Airbnb with two separate living spaces. It's near one of the best sledding hills in the DMV; just ask a local. If your kiddos need to keep up with schoolwork in between sled rides, they'll have the perfect little spot to watch the snowfall and get in some homework, too.   

Sleeps: 10
Costs: $427/night
Online: airbnb.com

Treats in an Igloo | Manassas, VA

Cozy up and stay warm inside a heated igloo just a short drive from a gorgeous lakefront rental in Northern Virginia. Be sure to make reservations for this fun family experience because it's a hot winter spot. Order food and drinks, then head back to your home away from home. This Airbnb has something for everyone and a spectacular view from almost every window in the house. 

Sleeps: 8
Costs: $401/night
Online: airbnb.com

—Angelica Kajiwara

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How to Keep the Grandparents Entertained When Visiting DC

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The grandparents are finally back in town, yay! Thankfully, our favorite city offers tons of fun stops and sights that are perfect for all ages. We know our kiddos can quickly wear out our parents, so we’ve rounded up some great places with easy access and lots of benches for a quick rest. Keep reading to get started on your multigenerational day in Washington, DC.

photo: Urban Adventures Tours

Urban Adventures Tour

Skip the crowded hop-on-hop-off buses, and opt for a private tour around town aboard an electric vehicle. Customize a family adventure or choose from one of the group tours. Let your little ones stay up late to see the majestic monuments by night, or book a food tour your whole crew will find delicious.

718 7th St NW
Washington, DC
Online: urbanadventures.com

Washington National Cathedral

Check the calendar of events before you plan your visit. The cathedral offers almost daily prayer, musical events and services for your family. Many of their holiday events are simply magical. In addition, the cathedral provides accommodations for visitors with impaired hearing and limited mobility.

Just for Kids: Be sure to download the scavenger hunt guide before you head to the cathedral. It includes fun facts about on-site history and art. Then, make a game of it and see if you can find each one. The Children's Chapel is a must-see, too. The space was designed for a 6-year-old in mind

3101 Wisconsin Ave NW
Washington, DC
Online: cathedral.org

photo: ARTECHOUSE

ARTECHOUSE

Take art-loving grandparents alongside your tech-savvy kiddos to a super cool exhibit that combines both interests. Everyone can interact with the larger-than-life art installations and learn about the artists and the technology they use to create masterpieces. Exhibits change throughout the year, so check back often to see what's new for the whole family.

1238 Maryland Ave SW
Washington, DC
Online: artechouse.com

Lincoln Memorial

Many grandparents will remember Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech delivered from the steps of this incredible monument. While they may prefer to stay at the bottom of the steps or take the elevator located at the southeast corner of the building, your kids can learn a lot about our country's history while visiting this location. Plan your stop anytime during your family's itinerary, as the memorial is open 24/7.

2 Lincoln Memorial Cir NW
Washington, DC
Online: nps.gov

Mt. Vernon Estate

Let your grandparents set the pace at this historical site right on the Potomac River. Your little ones will love visiting the farm animals and exploring the outbuildings, while the older generation takes a short break on the wagon ride. Music lovers of all ages will enjoy the early American concert while they stroll the grounds together. 

Best Views: The Mount Vernon Trails stretches from Mt. Vernon Estate to Theodore Roosevelt Island. Take a short walk or hike any part of the 18-mile trail to enjoy the stunning views of the Potomac River and the city. 

3200 Mount Vernon Hwy
Alexandria, VA
Online:  mountvernon.org

National Museum of African American History and Culture

The founding director of this spectacular museum said, "The African American experience is the lens through which we understand what it is to be an American." That lens is on display throughout each thoughtful and impactful exhibit inside this architectural marvel. Get your timed entry passes before your head out to this free attraction. 

Nearby Eats: Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken is the perfect stop for breakfast, lunch and sweets. If your crew is ready for a crazy but delicious combo, go for the chicken doughnut sandwich. It's epic. 

1400 Constitution Ave NW
Washington, DC
Online: nmaahc.si.edu

Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

Take the family car to Northern Virginia, and get ready to enjoy a hangar full of planes, rockets and restoration projects on display for the whole family. Hop in a simulation to experience your flying adventure, or book a showing at the on-site IMAX theater. Don't bother packing lunch. There's a McDonald's on the top floor where everyone can grab lunch together. Stop at one of the many benches throughout the museum to take a quick rest.

Plan For Their Next Trip: Every June, the museum opens its doors and takes the aircraft outside. Visitors enjoy seeing over 50 aircraft of all kinds at the annual Become a Pilot Family Day and Aviation Display.

14390 Air and Space Museum Pkwy
Chantilly, VA
Online: airandspace.si.edu

—Angelica Kajiwara

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Home on the Grange: 6 Farms You Must Visit This Fall

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One of the best times to visit a working farm is in the fall when fields are rich with greens and hearty root vegetables ready for harvest. Take your kids on a journey from farm to table by visiting one of these local farms where you can spend the day milking cows, collecting eggs and snuggling up to adorable farm animals. Scroll down for our favorite places for an authentic farm experience near the DMV.

Temple Hall Farm - Leesburg, VA

Drive out to Loudoun County to visit a working farm with a great playground and tons of room to roam. Your little farmer will love running after the free-roaming peacock and chickens. Walk the park's interpretive hiking trail to learn about the area's native plants and animals. Feel free to stop one of the farmers to ask questions and learn about the farm's history.

15855 Limestone School Rd
Leesburg, VA
Online: novaparks.com

Oxon Hill Farm - Oxon Hill, MD

Stop by the Visitor Barn to pick up a Self-Guided Walking Tour guide. Your whole crew will love the farmyard full of cows, pigs, horses, sheep, goats, and chickens. Run by the National Park Service, this 19th-century farm offers kid-friendly farm fun, such as feeding chickens and old-fashioned hayrides.

6411 Oxon Hill Rd
Oxon Hill, MD
Online: nps.gov

photo: iStock

Green Meadows Petting Farm - Ijamsville, MD

Don't miss this sprawling farm with super friendly staff on hand to share all the fun facts about the animals. Your little ones will love the up-close petting opportunity inside the animal pens. You'll see llamas, horses, cows, cows, emus, ducks, turkeys, rabbits, turtles and more. Oh, and you won't want to miss the pig races!

10102 Fingerboard Rd
Ijamsville, MD
Online: greenmeadowsevents.com

Frying Pan Farm Park - Herndon, VA

Get out and get ready to run around this farm full of fun and wide-open spaces. Say hi to goats, sheep, chickens, pigs, horses, ducks, turkeys, and peacocks. After you finish your farm tour, hop on the merry-go-round or the slide at the playground. If your little ones need to run off even more energy, head to one of the beautiful hiking trails on the property.

2739 West Ox Rd
Herndon, VA
Online: fairfaxcounty.gov

Clark's Elioak Farm - Ellicott City, MD

Get ready to hold and feed some seriously adorable baby goats at this quirky farm. After you've had your fill of goats, a farmyard full of noisy animals awaits. This farm offers a ton of fun beyond the furry friends. Everyone will love the Enchanted Forest, fairy garden and mazes. Also, be sure to pet the resident sheepdog on your way out.

10500 Clarksville Pike
Ellicott City, MD
Online: clarklandfarm.com

photo: iStock

Worth the Drive: Tusculum Farm - Laytonsville, MD

Since 1747, this local gem has drawn families around the DMV to experience farm life and an authentic overnight farm stay. The kind hosts encourage visitors to make the farm a home away from home and participate in activities happening all around. Farmer Joel will take your whole crew on a tour to learn how the farm works today and hundreds of years ago.

4601 Damascus Rd
Gaithersburg, MD
Online: tusculumfarm.com

—Angelica Kajwara

featured photo: Toddlin’ Across America 

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11 Rentals That Are Perfect for Big Families and Groups

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You don’t have to go far to reunite with your family and friends. Don’t have the space to host a large group? Don’t worry! We found a bunch of big rental houses ready for your whole crew to enjoy together within a short drive of the DMV. From houses that can accommodate parties of 10 to 16 people, these oversized rentals have enough room to spread out for days. Keep reading for our list of top spots full of fun and lots of space.

photo: Airbnb

Farm Stay in Lancaster, PA

Ready to leave the city and check in to a gorgeous farmhouse in Amish Country? Wake up to a pond fluttering with ducks and geese ready for their breakfast. Watch the sunset over the fields and farmlands surrounding the property. 

Sleeps: 16
Cost: $463/night
Online: airbnb.com

photo: Airbnb

Waterfront Retreat in South Bowers Beach, DE

Skip the crowds, but don't miss the beach in this home, perfect families ready to put their toes in the sand. Your crew will love the (almost) private beach full of sun, swimming, shell collecting, walking and running, or volleyball. Hop on the local ferry to explore water together. 

Sleeps: 16
Cost: $550
Online: Airbnb.com

Rooftop Views in Baltimore, MD

Everyone will love the 360-degree views of downtown Baltimore from the expansive rooftop deck topping this rental. Take a short walk or drive to any one of the exciting attractions across the area. The private 3-car driveway makes this an excellent option for a multiple-family vacation.  

Sleeps: 12
Cost: $111/night
Online: Airbnb.com

photo: Airbnb

Castle in Arlington, VA

Spend your family getaway in a castle, just 20 minutes outside the city. You'll have gorgeous green space to spread out in, and it features a koi pond for your little ones to enjoy. Treat your stay like a staycation, and you'll be in the perfect location to see all the fun DC has to offer.

Sleeps: 10
Cost: $446/night
Online: Airbnb.com

Bayfront Views in Annapolis, MD

Expansive waterfront views and a dining table that seats 12 make this the perfect family-friendly rental. Add in the beach and deck overlooking the bay, and everyone will have something to enjoy together.

Sleeps: 13
Cost: $500/night
Online: Airbnb.com

photo: Airbnb

Lakeview Hideaway in Locust Grove, VA

A lake view and room for 22 people make this house the perfect place to spread out and enjoy the views. In addition, there is a game room in the basement where you can enjoy ping pong, foosball, and board games. Snuggle up on the deck and relax on the waterfront.

Sleeps: 16
Cost: $382/night
Online: Airbnb.com

photo: Airbnb

Modern Minimalist Getaway in Alexandria, VA

Enjoy the huge backyard behind this single-family detached home. Parking won't be an issue in the 3-car driveway. With the feel of a chic hotel, the fully-renovated house is still cozy, and the location can't be beaten. All the local fun is just a short drive from this rental.

Sleeps: 10
Cost: $340
Online: Airbnb.com

Ten Acres to Roam in Leesburg, VA

Space won't be a problem in this 5000 square foot home on 10 acres of green space. The big-screen movie studio and game room make for tons of indoor fun. Add a little privacy when you book the separate guest house. If you want even more room to spread out, hop on the Potomac River from the home's private water access.

Sleeps: 16
Cost: $719/night
Online: Airbnb.com

photo: Airbnb

Off-Grid Eco Retreat in Dickerson, MD

This off-grid eco solar house is surrounded by lush forest and a short walk from local hiking trails. You'll love Sugarloaf Mountain and Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard, both family-friendly spots the locals enjoy. Book this rental to experience authentic off-grid living. But, don't worry! The backup generator will keep the lights on.

Sleeps: 16
Cost: $940
Online: Airbnb.com

photo: Airbnb

Beachfront Bungalow in Colonial, VA

Start your mornings off right with the epic sunsets over the Potomac River. Then, grab one of the family games from the wall-sized game shelf. Next, head out to the beach to enjoy the sun and sand in this quaint waterfront town. Finally, finish your day curled up on the screen porch.

Sleeps: 11
Cost: $250/night
Online: Airbnb.com

—Angelica Kajiwara

featured image: iStock

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Some of life’s greatest lessons can’t be found in a textbook. Hit the open road and expose your little learner to new ideas. You don’t have to travel far to get an educational impact. Skip the hotel and head to one of these destinations just a day’s drive from Washington, DC. Scroll on for the best places to go to expand the minds of little scholars.

Oxon Hill, MD – 22 minutes

National Harbor is full of family-friendly fun, but there is an art history lesson in the making down by the Potomac River. The Awakening statue found its home by the water after leaving its first home in Hains Point. The giant 72-foot sculpture is one of many art installations that make up the town center's art scavenger hunt. Start by the five aluminum pieces perfect for climbing and sandy play on the little beach. Your future artist might even be able to try their hand at a sandcastle replica.  

Online: nationalharbor.com

photo: NASA Goddard/Tabatha Luskey

Greenbelt, MD – 23 minutes

You don't want to miss the model rocket launches and science demonstrations at the Goddard Space Flight Center. Now one of NASA's largest and most significant space research laboratories, the Visitor Center is full of spacecraft displays and other cool tech from space race history. With over six decades of history onsite, you'll all enjoy learning together. The best part, your crew can enjoy the Visitor Center for free!

Editor's Note: Due to COVID-19, the Visitor's Center is currently closed. We will update this story when it reopens. 

8800 Greenbelt Rd
Greenbelt, MD 20771

Online: nasa.gov

photo: Music Center at Strathmore

North Bethesda, MD – 30 minutes

Time for a little music and arts learning fun. Head to one of the Strathmore Kids programs. Performances throughout the year inspire little audience members to connect with and explore the creative world around them. Sensory-friendly programs invite Littles with sensory sensitivities to experience the magic of the arts in a comfortable environment.

5301 Tuckerman Ln.
North Bethesda, MD
301-581-5100

Online: strathmore.org

Towson, MD – 1 hour 13 minutes

Get out into nature and learn a ton about greenery and wildlife around you at Lake Roland Nature Center and Park. With programs such as Backyard Butterflies, Summer Snakes and Sturgeon Moon Canoe, your little ones will have so much fun; they'll forget they're learning along the way. You'll all enjoy the multiple trails for hiking, biking, running and strolling; a dog park; two picnic pavilions; a playground; and an area to launch canoes and kayaks. The park's southwest corner is a Serpentine Barrens, a rare ecosystem with tons of learning opportunities.

1000 Lakeside Dr
Baltimore, MD 21210

Online: lakeroland.org

Harper's Ferry, WV – 1 hour 13 minutes

Thomas Jefferson described the scene here as "worth a voyage across the Atlantic." Best known for John Brown's raid in 1859, the picturesque Harper's Ferry is full of history. The United States Armory and Arsenal transformed a sleepy town into an industrial center. The armory provided hundreds of jobs for residents. The B&O and Winchester & Potomac Railroads and the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal all stop here. There are fascinating transportation heritage lessons to be learned too. And, who doesn't love a great train whistle?   

Online: nps.gov/hafe

photo: National Park Service

Front Royal, VA – 1 hour 18 minutes

Just a little over an hour outside of Washington, D.C., Shenandoah National Park brims with scenic beauty for you and your little ones to explore together. Think waterfalls, vistas, and wildflower fields, some of which run right alongside or right into the Appalachian Trail. Much of this is protected lands for deer, songbirds, black bears, and other wildlife. Little ones of the fur baby variety are permitted on all but 20 miles or so of the park's 500-mile trail system, so pack a leash too!  

Front Royal, VA

Online: nps.gov

Gettysburg, PA – 1 hour 27 minutes

Devil's Den at the National Military Park in Gettysburg, PA, is the perfect spot if you are looking for a great place to try rock scrambling with your little ones. Rock scrambling is a great way to start your kids' obsession with rock climbing (but it is a lot safer). Aside from the rich history, it is a gorgeous landscape from every overlook. You'll need to stick close due to the high (but super fun) rocks and drop-offs.

1195 Baltimore Pike
Gettysburg, PA 17325

Online: nps.gov

photo: Visit Richmond VA

Richmond, VA - `1 hour 48 minutes

Celebrate African American history and culture all around Richmond and the surrounding regions. The American Civil War Museum is the first stop for exploring the American Civil War from all angles: Union and Confederate, enslaved and free African Americans, soldiers and civilians. The BHMVA preserves stories that inspire. Your curious historian can learn about the rich culture and moving histories of African American people in Virginia and their contributions to our country. This museum tells the whole story.

Online: visitrichmondva.com

Cambridge, MD – 1 hour 54 minutes

Visit Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, one of the largest breeding areas for bald eagles on the east coast, north of Florida. Sightings of bald eagles are a pretty spectacular way to spend the day together. Eagles soar and hint over the marsh or rest near their nests. It's a day trip like no other to see one-third of Maryland's tidal wetlands in one place. Don't miss this fantastic place referred to as the "Everglades of the North."

Cambridge, MD

Online: fws.gov

photo: LEGOLAND

Philadelphia, PA – 2 hours 29 minutes

The LEGOLAND Discovery Center is STEM fun for everyone. The Build & Test Zone lets your little engineer design their vehicle and take it to the ramps. A little trial and error result in the zooming car of their dreams. Stop by the Creative Workshop for a lesson from the resident Master Model Builder. Your budding builder can learn all the tips and tricks from the best in the business. Of course, no trip to LEGOLAND would be complete without a meet-and-greet with a few beloved Lego characters.  

500 W Germantown Pike
Plymouth Meeting, PA
267-245-9695

 Online: philadelphia.legolanddiscovery.com

Capron, VA – 2 hours 55 minutes

Hands-on learning is the way to go, and PandA Homestead is the best way to get everyone's hands into an Agriculture lesson. The sweetest family runs this working farm, and they love to show their guests around and get them involved in all the farm chores. Future farmers can feed goats, snuggle baby chicks and practice their best turkey calls. The owners know everything about the farm-to-table process because they sell eggs and meat raised on their farm. If your Little Foodie is starting to ask more about where their food comes from, then this is a must-do for the whole family.

23332 Felton Dr.
Capron, VA 23829
(434) 658-0516

 Online: pandahomestead.com

photo: Virginia State Parks

Worth the Drive: Natural Bridge, VA – 3 hours 9 minutes

Did you know there is a natural wonder in the DMV's backyard? Once owned by Thomas Jefferson, this national landmark turned popular tourist attraction, Natural Bridge, is a great trip to take when your budding geologist is ready for a real-life lesson. Before your family hits the road, do a little at-home erosion science experiment, then you'll be prepared to see the up-close-and-personal effects of erosion over time. Also, don't forget to explore the six miles of hiking trails, experience the caverns – all over 30 stories underground - and learn more about the native Monacan Indian tribe. 

Online: naturalbridgeva.com 

—Angelica Kajwara

featured photo: iStock

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What is a summer vacation without some serious family pool time? The local swimming hole is a great place to cool off, but if you’re ready to bring your summer splash time to the next level, check out these hotels with epic pools featuring shipwrecked pirate boats, oversized candy bars, floating Lego figures, sky-high waterslides and more. Get ready to dive in to a summer vacation your family won’t forget with one of these spectacular pools within a short drive of the DMV.

photo: Hershey Lodge

Hershey Lodge - Hershey, PA (2 hours 15 minutes)

Get a sugar rush at this 30,000 square foot pool at the sweetest place on earth. From a Twizzlers Twists water slide to a Reese's Water Walk that features, you guessed it, oversized peanut butter cups, the hotel pool at Hershey Lodge checks off every candy lover's list. Other features include a  zero-entry pool, a sand castle spray zone, a lighthouse tipping bucket and more. 

To Do Nearby: Book your tickets for Hersheypark. The park has something for everyone. From thrilling coasters to classic family rides to an entire water park, there are countless ways to ride the day away. Eat at The Chocolatier, the all-new, full-service restaurant, bar, and patio. The restaurant serves up family fare with a fun spin and hints of chocolate. 

Online: hersheylodge.com

Great Wolf Lodge - Williamsburg, VA (2 hours 37 minutes)

Explore all the levels of splashing fun in the best water fort treehouse you've ever seen—delight in the interactive water toys and kid-activated splash features. Then, escape via the Totem Tower body slides to start all over again. And listen for the bell; when it rings, the gigantic bucket on top is ready to tip. Finally, hop on the Alberta Falls water slide, which takes you right outside the building and back in again before your final drop into the plunge pool.

To Do Nearby: Colonial Williamsburg is the world's largest living history museum. The 301 acres feature iconic sites, working tradespeople, historic taverns, and two world-class art museums. Historic Jamestowne offers much to see and do too. A typical visit can last 2 to 3 hours, but those wishing to delve deeper into Jamestown's history can easily spend half a day or more exploring the island. See archaeology in action as the Jamestown Rediscovery team continues to excavate parts of the island.  

Online: greatwolf.com

photo: Hilton Suites Ocean City Oceanfront

Hilton Ocean City Oceanfront Suites - Ocean City, MD (2 hours 40 minutes)

Admire the gorgeous Atlantic Ocean views from this oceanfront pool and hotel. Your whole crew will love the zero-entry splash pad near the shipwreck. Splash down the water slide and skip around under the fountains. Start your day at the epic pool and end it under the sunset on the beach steps away. You'll have the best of both worlds at this hotel. 

To Do Nearby: Ocean City, MD, is full of family fun for everyone. At the hotel, you're only steps away from the town's boardwalk with a sky-high Ferris wheel and the best fries around. At the boardwalk's southern end, Trimper's Rides has hosted theme-park attractions for decades. In addition, the surrounding waters are active with kayaks and tour boats, some of which journey to the famous Assateague Island nearby. You might even see a wild pony on the beach. 

Online: hilton.com

photo: Kalahari Resorts

Kalahari - Poconos Mountains, PA (4 hours 3 minutes)

Plan a getaway you'll never forget at America's Largest Indoor Waterparks. You can try the very first (and only) Virtual Reality Waterslide in the United States. This VR waterslide brings a totally new dimension to waterpark fun. With multiple immersive experiences, your kiddos can throw on the headset and are instantly launched into a new realm as they ride down the waterslide.

To Do Nearby: Take the opportunity to check out NASCAR at Pocono Raceway. Go mountain biking or play paintball with your whole crew. The kids will love seeing the animals at the wild animal park. For a little slower pace, sightseeing on horseback or a scenic, historic train ride may be just what you all need right now.

Online: kalahariresorts.com

photo: Crystal Springs Resort

Crystal Springs Resort - Sussex County, NJ (4 hours 15 minutes)

The Biosphere is the first structure of its kind in the U.S. to incorporate advanced German Foiltec roofing material, allowing nearly 100% light transmission year-round. The retractable roof, which produces an extraordinary outdoor effect, is a genuinely unique feature in the Northeast. In addition, the exotic freeform pools are surrounded by lush tropical foliage, specially transported to be housed in the Biosphere. You won't want to miss the underground aquarium and a 140-foot water slide.

To Do Nearby: While you're in town, visit High Point State Park for a great family hike and a photo op in front of the monument. Stop by Windy Brow Farms to pick your own locally grown produce and get a taste of sweet farm life. Finally, take your little animal lover to Space Farms Zoo & Museum, a 100-acre zoo and museum complex full of furry friends to enjoy. 

Online: crystalgolfresort.com

LEGOLAND - Goshen, NY (4 hours 26 minutes)

Just an hour from NYC - this immersive and interactive pool is some seriously LEGO-tastic fun for everyone. Swim beside life-sized LEGO figures and splash in the LEGO-themed play areas everywhere you look. You won't want to miss the exciting resort rooms, too, with every theme from Pirates to NINJAGO. Your tiny brick builder will love living the LEGO life underwater.

To Do Nearby: Goshen, N.Y., is a quaint community steeped in rich pre-revolutionary and farming history. It's located in the heart of the beautiful Hudson Valley region, amid the foothills of the Catskills Mountains and approximately one hour from New York City. If you are ready to explore, Broadway is open again, and there are tons of family-friendly shows starting up in the heart of the city and all the attractions throughout the region.

Online: legoland.com

photo: Adventures on the Gorge

Adventures on the Gorge - Lansing, WV (5 hours 12 minutes)

Right on the rim of New River Gorge and in the heart of the newest National Park, Canyon Falls Pool is the perfect place for your next family getaway. Whether splashing in the kiddie waterpark, admiring the ornate waterfalls, or sunbathing on the deck overlooking the gorge, your whole crew will be occupied for hours. You can choose from cabins, glamping tents and rental properties on-site. You can even try your hand at tent or RV camping during your visit. 

To Do Nearby: A rugged, whitewater river flowing northward through deep canyons, the New River is among the oldest rivers on the continent. The New River Gorge National Park and Preserve encompasses over 70,000 acres of land along the New River, is rich in cultural and natural history, and offers many scenic and recreational opportunities. Book tons of nature-filled activities (starting at age 6) through Adventures on the Gorge.

Online: adventuresonthegorge.com

—Angelica Kajiwara

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9 Indoor Water Parks for Family Fun Near DC 

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The Ultimate Guide to Water Activities Near DC

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As summer heats up in a big way, we’re all ready for a little more time on the water. The DMV offers tons of options to get out and enjoy splashing and paddling around. It’s the perfect time to jump off the shore and into a sea-worthy adventure. From a pirate-themed tour of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor to a lazy float down the Potomac River, get ready to set sail with one of these fun-filled water activities.

Picnic on the Water

Pack up your picnic basket or grab a picnic to-go from a local restaurant, and you're ready to enjoy your meal on the water. Float DC offers rentals that are 100% electric, Scandinavian designed, picnic boats for up to 8 people. You won't want to miss this eco-friendly way to enjoy the beautiful waterways at The Wharf, DC. You don't need a guide for this one. Anyone over 21 years of age can captain their own boat.

Online: floatdc.com

A Pirate Adventure

If it is time to walk the plank, get to National Harbor for Urban Pirates cruises. Families should plan to arrive early for approximately 30 minutes of boarding activities, including pirate costuming and naming. In addition, the Boomerang Pirate Ship's Family Treasure Hunt cruise departing from Georgetown features a water cannon battle at sea.

Boomerang Pirate Ship- boomerangpirateship.com
Urban Pirates- urbanpirates.com

Land and Sea

Why settle for just one when you can explore both with your crew? First, sail along the river with Potomac Riverboat Company. Capture tons of family-friendly photos ops in front of the perfect memorial backdrops, including the Washington Monument and U.S. Capitol. Then, dock at George and Martha Washington's home, Mt. Vernon and spend a few hours exploring the historic house and property.

Online: cityexperiences.com

Hop on a Tube

There's no better way to beat the heat than to hop on an inner tube and float down the river. Young and old alike will love the flat water tubing experience. Tubes and river shuttles are provided, and you can even rent floating coolers so you can keep snacks and drinks alongside as you float down the river. Because we all know snacks are a must with little ones in tow.

Online: harpersferryadventurecenter.com

photo: iStock

Jump in a Kayak

Skip the heat altogether, and rent a kayak for a sunset-drenched paddle on the Potomac. The scenic beauty and wildlife are even more spectacular during the evening hours. No experience needed, just grab a paddle and plan to float peacefully down the gentle rapids. After you finish your sunset splash, you can stick around for a bonfire with your guides.

Online: rivertrail.com

Sail on a Schooner

Departing from the Gangplank Marina in SW Washington DC, DC Sail provides sailing opportunities on its 65-foot schooner, the American Spirit, including cherry blossom cruises, sunset sails, boating & baseball excursions, and July 4th fireworks cruises. The wheelchair-accessible boat is a floating classroom and adventure all wrapped into one. Make incredible memories aboard this unique and relaxing vessel.

Online: dcsail.com

Stand up on a Paddleboard

Stunning views of the Potomac River await National Harbor paddlers in Prince George's County. Go to Boating in DC's boathouse to rent a paddleboard by the hour. No experience is needed as they provide a quick lesson before you head out on the water. Rentals include a life jacket and paddle. Wait until sunset to see the Capital Wheel lighting up the sky.

Online: boatingindc.com

—Angelica Kajiwara

featured photo: Toddlin’ Across America

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DC’s Best Places to Picnic & Play

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It is time for a sweet summer picnic in the park, but finding that perfect patch of green space the whole family will enjoy can be tough. We’ve rounded up the best places to grab a basket, throw out a blanket and enjoy all the family fun. It’s time to pack up your picnic basket loaded with tasty treats and libations. Keep reading to find the DMV’s special places to spread out and dine alfresco (plus near-by DC restaurants offering picnics to-go!).

Theodore Roosevelt Island

We all need a day to cool our heels and absorb some of the plentiful presidential histories that surround the District. Roosevelt Island has over 90 acres bursting with short hikes that even the tiniest tyke can tackle. There is wildlife aplenty and a guest-starring statue of Roosevelt himself for the kiddos to take in. At the end let the fountain tickle their toes before heading home.

Pack your picnic: Order online from Miami’s smash-hit Southern eatery that just opened in DC this spring—perfect for a fried chicken craving. Yardbird dishes up large family-style boxes for takeout or even delivery to your favorite park. Combinations feed six and include 24 pieces of crisp chicken, mac and cheese, and warm biscuits or a backyard barbecue box that adds ribs, cracklings, and brisket to the poultry mix.

Roosevelt Island
George Washington Memorial Pkwy (Arlington, Va)
Northbound lanes between Roosevelt Bridge and Key Bridge
Online: nps.gov/this

Georgetown Waterfront Park

Who is ready for some summertime water views? We've got the perfect family-friendly spot for your whole crew to enjoy. Lay out your blanket along the Georgetown Waterfront Park overlooking the Potomac River or sit on the steps. More than just a beautiful green space, the park has a labyrinth, fountain and rain gardens (collects and holds rainwater and stormwater runoff). If people and boat watching are your things, then this is the place. You can scope ducks, cyclists, joggers, kids playing in the fountain, kayakers, rowing regattas, and larger boats too.

Pack your picnic: Order your picnic from Fairmont's Limitless Picnic To-Go Experience. The Georgetown Waterfront picnic basket includes all the fixin's and a sweet treat to top it off.  

Georgtown Waterfront Park
Wisconsin and K St. NW
Georgetown
Online:nps.gov

Burke Lake Park

It’s OK to dine and dash here. You need all the time you’ve got to take in the 218 acres. As part of the 888 acres Fairfax County Park, this lake offers fishing, boating, rowboats, a miniature train, a carousel, three playgrounds, a mini-golf course, a Frisbee golf course and an ice cream parlor in case you forget to bring dessert. Make it a big family and friends day and reserve the picnic spots with grills, which is between the lake and play areas.

Pack your picnic: Grab some unique picnic food on your way to the park at Senberry. This local spot specializes in superfoods, specifically some amazing Acai Bowls. You won't be disappointed! 

Burke Lake Park
7315 Ox Rd.
Fairfax Station, VA 
Online: fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/burkelakepark

photo: iStock

Hains Point

Peaceful and picturesque, this southern part of the East Potomac Park offers views of the Potomac River, Washington Channel and the Anacostia. Picnic tables are aplenty as well as public bathrooms, which is perfect for the newly potty-trained set. Spend the day on the playground, watching planes fly by and close out the day with a round of mini-golf.

Pack your picnic: Stop by Grazie Grazie on your way to the park. Just under a half-mile away, you can choose the perfect picnic fare from the Build Your Own sandwich menu. Don't forget to add their famous cannoli to the order.  

Hains Point
National Mall & Parks SW, Ohio Dr., SW
Online: recreation.gov

photo: iStock

Rock Creek Park

The National Zoo may be this park’s biggest draw, but you can munch among wildlife minus the cages too. Scan the foliage from your blanket for the three kinds of owls that live here and keep watch for the newest mammal to take up residence: coyotes. NPS rangers also take kids on free nature tours. There’s also a nature center, planetarium and the Horse Center, which offers pony rides. Park admission is free, but some activities require reservations. Eight picnic spots must be reserved for a fee, but you can also find free ones along the waterway and many have grills or fireplaces. Bonus: When nature calls, many picnic groves are near flushable toilets.

Pack your picnic: Bread Furst, just over a mile from the park, offers a delicious picnic basket spread for your whole crew to enjoy. They'll even include a delightful bottle of wine. 

Rock Creek Park
5200 Glover Rd. NW
Online: nps.gov/rocr/index.htm

photo: Anthony De Young via NPS

Meridian Hill Park

Grab a seat and open your picnic basket on one of many cozy benches. Munch by the largest cascading fountain in North America and take in the views. As part of the National Park Service, this 12-acre site also has a memorial to President James Buchanan and a weekly drum circle for dance enthusiasts. Children can bring their own handmade or commercial instruments to play along with the beats.

Pack a picnic: Dinner and a show are ready and waiting if you grab a picnic kit from Officina. Each basket includes a selection of our favorite salami, preserves, and snacks. Feeling extra? You can upgrade to the Dom Perignon picnic box. 

Meridian Hill Park
16th and Euclid St. NW
Columbia Heights
Online: nps.gov/mehi

The Yards

A favorite go-to for families of all sizes since its creation, located along the Anacostia River waterfront, Yards Park provides lots of activity. The great lawn, dog run, boardwalk, shaded overlook, and gardens are open to all. And, the Dancing Fountains are open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The fountain pours into a large canal (11 inches deep) where kids are free to wade, splash, and plunge.

Pack a picnic: Make a day of it by hitting up La Famosa. This all-day eatery brings soulful Puerto Rican cooking to the neighborhood. They even offer signature cocktails and virgin drinks to-go.  

The Yards
Water St. SE
Capitol Riverfront District
Online: theyardsdc.com

The Adventure Park at Sandy Spring Friends School

With a self-guided aerial forest, a high ropes course of 190-plus platforms in trees, 13 trails of varying difficulty, 29 zip lines, nearly 200 challenge bridges, a labyrinth, and the new Monkey Grove, which has 10 trees outfitted for climbing, it’s amazing this place has any room left for picnic tables. But it does! And that’s a good thing because you’ll need to refuel after all that climbing. Check the website for age and size restrictions for each activity, but in general, everything is open to kids 5 & up. Entry fees also vary by activity.

Pack a picnic: You'll need a filling meal after all that fun, and we found the perfect picnic carry-out. Founded in 1997, Sister’s Sandwiches and Such is a family-owned business that prides itself on quality ingredients and the unique and delicious food options that our customers have come to crave. The only thing missing is the basket. 

Sandy Springs Friends School
16701 Norwood Rd.
Sandy Spring, MD
Online: sandyspringadventurepark.org

US National Arboretum

With over 400 acres to explore the US National Arboretum is tons of outdoor fun with a little bit of history and education thrown in. Pick a spot to eat and then let your little ones play amid the old National Capitol Columns in the Ellipse Meadow. Work up an appetite while on a family hike to check out the gazebos and take in the trees from all 50 States.

Pack a picnic: Have your picnic delivered by the Neighborhood Restaurant Group’s home-delivery service. They'll pack up a variety of eye-catching bamboo baskets, whether you’re looking to snack on Red Apron charcuterie and cheeses, hit the park for brunch with a sweet or savory biscuit box, or enjoy lunch with sandwiches and all the fixings. For the full picnic experience, add an old-school checkered blanket to your order. 

US National Arboretum
3501 New York Ave. NE
Online: usna.usda.gov

Clark’s Elioak Farm

Eat among storybook images come to life in the Enchanted Forest. It’s home to Mother Goose, Cinderella’s pumpkin coach, a giant atop a beanstalk and more – all renovated from a now-defunct storybook park. Between bites at the large designated, covered picnic area, take a cow train or pony ride and check out the petting farm. Hayrides, pony and cow train rides are $2 apiece.

Pack a picnic: Stop by Little Market Cafe to order one of their signature sandwiches. The vegan menu options are delicious. Not a sandwich crew? Don't worry. They've got great pizza too. 

Clark's Elioak Farm
10500 Clarksville Pike
Ellicott City, MD
Online: clarklandfarm.com

Jonas Green Park

Throw open your picnic or beach blanket, and get ready for a waterfront picnic. This small park is located on the Severn River and features picnic areas, fishing, and a beach for free cartop boat launching. There are incredible views in every direction. The epic view of the Naval Academy across the river is breathtaking. The park closes at dusk, but the fishing pier is open 24/7, so grab your rod and stick around for a beautiful sunset.

Pack a picnic: It wouldn't be Annapolis without a picnic featuring Maryland Blue Crabs. Yes, the mess is worth it. Cantler's Riverside Inn is the perfect place to order a little crabby carryout. Ask for brown paper, and you'll have easy cleanup. 

Jones Green Park
2001 Baltimore Annapolis Blvd.
Annapolis, MD 
Online: aacounty.org

Great Falls Park

Dine by an incredible natural wonder at this beautiful park. Choose from a picnic table or tons of green space for your lunch spot. After you wrap up your meal, head out on one of many hiking trails perfect for even in the tiniest hiker. Or, find your way along one of the accessible paths to get a fantastic family photo op in front of the falls. The snack bar is still closed, but you can often find a local food truck in the parking lot.

Pack a picnic: If you'd rather order something on your way in, stop by Mookie's BBQ for delicious picnic options. 

Great Falls Park
9200 Old Dominion Dr.
McLean, VA
Online:nps.gov

Blue Ridge Center of Environmental Stewardship

The name makes it sound like a museum, but don’t let that stop you from visiting this gorgeous area. The small nature-based playground will keep little ones running and jumping for a while. The Farmstead Loop trail is easy and accessible for all ages (even a jogging stroller). Keep an eye and an ear out for the babbling brook just off the trail. Your crew will love splashing around and drying off on the bank while enjoying a picnic together.

Pack a picnic: On your way to the outskirts of Northern Virginia, stop by Fabbiolli Cellars, a locally-owned and operated winery (a great picnic spot for another day). In addition to a delicious selection of wine and cider, they have fresh-baked bread on-site and lots of picnic treats to choose from. 

Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship
11661 Harpers Ferry Rd.
Hillsboro, VA
Online:blueridgecenter.org

— Angelica Kajiwara, Victoria Mason and Stephanie Kanowitz

featured photo: iStock

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Who is ready for a road trip? With national parks, monuments, seashores, and more within driving distance of Washington, DC, you won’t have trouble finding the perfect family getaway destination. Check out these Airbnb finds, and book your next vacation in one of the most beautiful destinations around.

Shenandoah National Park

Just 75 miles from DC, your crew will fall in love with our local National Park. It is bursting with epic waterfalls, spectacular views, fields of wildflowers, and quiet wooded areas for a family picnic. With over 200,000 acres to explore, you'll likely see deer, songbirds, and black bears; oh my.

Airbnb nearby: You won't mind the half-hour drive to the park from this family vacation home when you start to enjoy the hot tub, outdoor movie theater and fun seasonal decor. And, you don't have to leave your fur baby at home! They're welcome to join; no pet fee required.

Assateague Island National Seashore

Explore sandy beaches, salt marshes, maritime forests and coastal bays. Oh, and you might even see some wild horses too. Your little ones can earn their Junior Ranger badge while you soak up some sun on the pristine beaches of this national seashore. Don't forget to try your hand at crabbing. It's one Assateague experience your kids won't soon forget. 

Airbnb Nearby: Scope out some panoramic views of Assateague Island, wild ponies and the lighthouse. Enjoy sunsets, crab, fish, swim, and kayak from the shared dock. Etta's Restaurant is next door, and kayak rentals are up the street. 

Great Falls Park

This park offers many opportunities to explore history and nature, all in a beautiful 800-acre park only 15 miles from the Nation's Capital. Another Junior Ranger spot, your little ones can learn about the Potawmack Canal and Matildaville's Ghost Town. You'll all love the spectacular waterfall views and local family-friendly hikes. 

Airbnb nearby: Your kids will love this rental, not only because it is 20 minutes from Great falls, but because it has a basement playroom full of toys! And if you need to sneak away to check an email or two, you're all set with the beautiful office space and free WiFi.

Raystown Lake

Here you will find boating, fishing, camping, hiking, swimming, and scenic beauty. This twisting lake, the largest entirely within Pennsylvania, extends 27 miles and covers 8,300 acres. If you want a unique lake experience, book a scuba tour with one of the local companies. 

Airbnb nearby: Head north to this retreat with a windy slide exit. Your little ones will love it! The family-friendly glamping site has everything your gang needs to get away and unplug. This family-owned spot provides unique luxury camping accommodations that combine traditional camping elements with some of the creature comforts we all want. 

Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge

National Park Week is the perfect time to visit Delaware Bay, just two hours away. Every spring, thousands of migrating shorebirds make their critical trip north. You can see them feeding by the thousands on the salt marsh mudflats along the wildlife drive at low tide. 

Airbnb Nearby: Add a farm stay to your adventure, and unwind at the Chalet on Blue Heron Farm. This rustic waterfront retreat on the Chester River's upper reaches is a peaceful and private getaway situated just 15 minutes from historic Chestertown. Enjoy epic views from the giant wrap-around deck overlooking the river and floor-to-ceiling windows.

photo: Allison Sutcliffe

Prince William Forest Park

Hikers, bikers and nature lovers rejoice! We've found the perfect place for your crew to explore. With over 900 plant species, your future botanist will have tons to identify and see throughout the lush forest. Plan to hike shorter trails with little legs in tow, including Piedmont Forest Trail and Laurel Loop Trail.

Airbnb Nearby: Are you ready to try glamping life with your family? This beautifully renovated travel trailer sleeps 6-8 people, and the hosts are happy to set it up for you at several local camping spots. You'll have everything you need for a great family camping trip without sleeping on the ground.  

National Parks Near Washington DC

If you're willing to make a longer trip out of it, there are plenty of national parks near Washington, DC that the kids will love. 

  • Bursting with epic waterfalls, spectacular views, fields of wildflowers, and quiet wooded areas for a family picnic, Shenandoah National Park is a great option for families. 

  • Assateague Island National Seashore has sandy beaches, salt marshes, maritime forests and coastal bays. Oh, and you might even see some wild horses too. 

  • Great Falls Park offers many opportunities to explore history and nature, all in a beautiful 800-acre park only 15 miles from the Nation's Capital.

Read about these spots and more

National Parks Near Boston

Head north to check out all that Boston and its surrounding states have to offer in terms of national parks. 

  • The Cape Cod National Seashore is an amazing spot to vacation, especially when the summer breezes are rolling in.

  • You can take a ferry from Boston to check out the Boston Harbor Islands State and National Parks. You can even go camping there! 

  • Acadia National Park is just north of Boston in the gorgeous state of Maine. Acadia offers families dozens of activities beyond hiking (though the hiking is both excellent and most often very family-friendly), which everyone will love. Pack your bikes for rides along the network of Carriage Roads, and blow their minds at Thunder Hole, a partially submerged cave that booms about an hour before high tide.

Check out all of our Boston and vicinity recommendations

—Angelica Kajiwara

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