5 Short Summer Vacation Road Trip Ideas


One of the best things about living in the DC area is how easy it is to go on a spontaneous, short road trip. These are some of our favorite last minute getaways, especially for the summertime! The drive time (without traffic) is calculated from where else but the Capitol Building. And check out these tips for car travel with kids!

1. Visit Annapolis, MD

A short 45 minute drive away is the cobblestone street capital of Maryland, home to the United States Naval Academy, and on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay.  Annapolis is a great day trip or weekend trip option.

Where to Stay:
Annapolis Waterfront Hotel (their onsite dining option is great for Brunch with Kids!) or Historic Inns of Annapolis are great options, and the Westin is a great option if you want access to an indoor pool.
What to Eat:
Fresh crabs from the Chesapeake!  Boatyard Bar & Grill is a local favorite or make a reservation at McGarvey’s.
Make it extra special:
Book tickets for the family-friendly Pirate Adventures cruise.  $22/person and 6 sail times to select from.  Reserve early!  Also don’t forget about the downtown playground and the Annapolis Maritime Museum – it is free to visit.

2. Visit Middleburg, VA

Only 1 hour drive away, this brick sidewalks, horse-country town (think fox hunt not cowboy) is a great escape from the city.

Check out the Middleburg recommendations in a previous DC Moms Blog post!

3. Visit Solomons Island, MD

About 1.5 hours drive south, Solomons Island is known “from the White House to the Light house”, as Pennsylvania avenue turns into Route 4 in Maryland.  This very small island (hence making it easy to explore with kids) is on the Patuxent River, right where it empties into the Chesapeake Bay.  You can catch a great sunset from their Riverwalk (boardwalk).  The Calvert Marine Museum is always a huge hit with the kids!

Where to stay:
Located less than 10 minutes away from the island, the Hilton Garden Inn has an indoor and outdoor pool and is within walking distance to local favorite Ruddy Duck Brewery & Pub.  Slightly closer to the island, the waterfront Holiday Inn includes a large outdoor pool and a Marina.
What to eat:
Fresh seafood is in abundance on Solomons Island.  The best kid friendly restaurants are Stoney’s Kingfishers and The Lighthouse Restaurant & Dock Bar.  Don’t forget about the ice cream shops: The Ice Cream Place and Cone Island Ice Cream Shoppe.
Make it extra special:
Rent Kayaks from Bunky’s Charter Boats.  There are 1, 2, 3, and 24 hour rental options available.  They also offer paddle boards!

4. Visit St. Michael’s, MD

1.5 hour drive East across the Bay Bridge (bring your EZ pass!), St. Michael’s has been recognized by Forbes and Coastal Living as a great place for a getaway.

Check out St. Michael’s recommendations in another previous DC Area Moms’ article!

5. Visit Harper’s Ferry, WV

Less than a 1.5 hour drive, historic Harper’s Ferry provides gorgeous views of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers and the Blue Ridge Mountains.  What’s interesting is that the town is actually a national park, providing hiking trails throughout the historic town or across the river to the C&O Canal.  Yep, the same one in Georgetown.  The Appalachian Trail also runs right through the town.

Where to stay:
The Clarion Inn has an indoor pool with poolside rooms.
What to eat:
Candy!  True Treats Historic Candy store is known for being the most interesting candy store in America. The Anvil Restaurant is a great option for a bite to eat and they have outdoor seating.
Make it extra special:
Take Amtrak from Union Station to Harper’s Ferry on the Capitol Limited 29. A train leaves every day at 4:05 pm and returns at 11:30 am. NOTE: the Shenandoah side is calm, making it easy to play in the water, whereas the Potomac side is full of rapids.

Do you have any favorite quick summer road trips? Please share them in the comments!

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Adrienne Barge
Adrienne was born and raised in Houston, Texas. Even though she is a proud 6th generation Texan, she is thrilled to call Alexandria, Virginia home for the last 10 years. Adrienne enjoys exercising the left part of her brain working for the Federal government, and the right part of her brain on her blog Brunching With Kids.  She is a mom to a smart & beautiful 9-year-old daughter, and kind & rugged 5-year-old son.  Her husband works at a local hospital in Virginia. The entire family loves exploring all aspects of this amazing area, especially anything outside and/or along the Potomac River.  Major likes: a good cup of coffee, fire pit, fried okra, and outdoor happy hours.  Major dislikes: Laziness, a messy house, and mansplaining.