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Need a break from the city? Trying to make your summer plans? Not sure if you should go coastal or toward the mountains? Check out these popular driving-distance destinations around the DMV for your summer getaway!
Assateague Island National Seashore
Wild horses on the beach seems like something from a distant destination, but it’s actually off the Maryland coast! The last week in July is the best time to see the wild horses on Assateague Island, but you’re sure to see some no matter the timing of your trip. Immerse yourself in everything the park has to offer including camping (yes, on the beach), kayaking, hiking, horseback riding, biking, crabbing, swimming and ranger-guided programs. The unique wildlife on the island make this a beach experience not to miss!
Photo credit: Getty Images Joesboy
The Potomac River is a well-known landmark in the DC metro area, but it’s not often thought of as rushing down a steep, rocky channel. Great Falls National Park is the destination for exactly that! This beautiful, tucked-away waterfall is a treasure in Virginia and offers beautiful views, an 800-acre park and is only 15 miles from the Nation’s Capital!
Photo credit: Getty Images Douglas Rissing
Getty Images/iStockphoto/Douglas Rissing
Cape Henlopen State Park
Outdoor adventure seekers are sure to find seemingly endless activities at Cape Henlopen. Situated where the Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean, Cape Henlopen features water access, lighthouses, well-paved bike paths, camping, fishing, nature center and touch tank, and more. It also served as a World War II coastal defense site at Fort Miles, which now offers guided tours, “Trucking Through History” tours on a WWII-era troop transport truck and artillery demonstrations.
Photo credit: Getty Images ymn
Deep Creek Lake State Park
Deep Creek Lake is an active, resort-style destination with a wide variety of activities throughout the year including boating, fishing, hiking, rafting, skiing, and quick access to golf, spas, bowling and more. The area also has several nearby state parks, a beach and the tallest free-falling waterfall in Maryland! Vacation rentals, including cabins allow for comfortable extended stays at Maryland’s largest inland body of water.
Photo Credit: Getty Images rpernell
Shenandoah National Park
Shenandoah National Park is only 75 miles from Washington, D.C., but is filled with beautiful waterfalls, wildflowers, wildlife (including black bears!) and picturesque mountains. It includes over 200,000 acres of land and the well-known Skyline Drive which winds through the peaks of the mountains throughout the park. There are campgrounds available, but are on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Picture credit: Getty Images Troy Wojtaszek
Getty Images/iStockphoto/Troy Wojtaszek
Luray Caverns is open every day of the year and is the largest cavern in the eastern United States! Explore the part of our planet not often seen underground with well-lit, paved walkways guiding visitors through rooms 10-stories high filled with incredible stone formations. They recently made updates to their exhibit making it wheelchair and stroller-friendly for the entire family to enjoy. Tickets also include admission to the Car & Carriage Caravan Museum, Toy Town Junction and the Shenandoah Heritage Village.
Photo credit: Getty Images JacobH
Sugarloaf Mountain is a site 14 million years in the making with a rich military history. Formed as a result of eroding surrounding land, this park features incredible views, numerous plant and animal species, hiking trails, picnic spots and horseback riding trails. The park is open every day of the year with differing hours based on the season.
Photo credit: Getty Images izanoza
What was once a bustling colonial village is now a quaint town with charming history on the Chesapeake Bay. The quiet, relaxing pace is often appreciated by those visiting from the city. Stay a day, a weekend or longer- St. Michaels is a short drive with great food, numerous places to stay and opportunities to be on the water, whether fishing, boating or just watching the water from the shore.
Photo credit: Getty Images ymn