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Best Weekend Getaways In The Washington DC Area

July 13, 2013 8:00 AM

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Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Summertime often brings the itch to get away. While the city has a lot to offer in fun summertime activities, sometimes the most fun is to just get out of the city even for a short weekend trip. Luckily, the greater DC area offers a variety options when the itch to get away strikes. Many weekend getaways can be enjoyed in less than a three-hour drive from the city without owning a ski chalet. These prime locations offer activities for all personalities from outdoor play to theater to shopping and more.

Gettysburg National Park
89 Steinwehr Ave.
Gettysburg, PA 17325
(717) 334-0035
www.nps.gov

Gettysburg holds an irrevocable place at the heart of American history. For the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg this year, take your weekend summer getaway to this iconic historical landmark in just under a two-hour drive. Today there are many ways to enjoy the town of Gettysburg including historical reenactments, flea markets, agricultural demonstrations, family programs, guided tours, theater and more. While Gettysburg is a solemn place to recognize the loss of so many lives in the Civil War, today it is also a place for lively, fun exploration of history. With comedy acts, diversity programs, art exhibits and special family events, Gettysburg’s 150th Anniversary promises to be a very interesting summer.

Harpers Ferry
171 Shoreline Drive
Harpers Ferry, WV 25425
(304) 535-6244
www.nps.gov

Harpers Ferry is a picturesque historic town offering something for everyone. A little over an hour and a half drive out of Washington brings you to the beautiful countryside of West Virginia. With whitewater rafting, historic ghost tours, zip-lining, scenic trails, flea markets, DIY crafting workshops and museums, Harpers Ferry is brimming with getaway vacation activities. History comes alive in the summertime activities of this West Virginia town, especially with Civil War and Appalachian lesser-known stories. Try “O’ Be Joyfull Historical Tours & Entertainment” to brush-up on American historical knowledge in a fun and engaging way through performance and period-accurate music. Harpers Ferry is equally enticing for outdoor activities as it is for history. Try “River Riders” for all kinds of watersport activities including rafting, tubing, kayaking, canoeing and more.

Luray Caverns
101 Cave Hill Road
Luray, VA 22835
(540) 743-6551
www.luraycaverns.com

About a two-hour drive outside of DC, a natural wonder older than human history compels the curious traveler to take a closer look. A natural beauty of wondrous proportions, Luray Caverns beckons the adventurous vacationer to walk amongst her pristine cavernous mystery. Visitors marvel at the crystal-clear, perfectly still pools of water that are exact mirrors reflecting the majesty of the caverns’ spikes. Tour guides stop you to listen to “The Great Stalacpipe Organ,” which, with little manmade help, is mostly true music of nature. Hiking the many acres of natural amazement, visitors are surrounded by the most beautifully angular rocks and naturally forming artistic shapes imaginable. Complete with a full-scale garden maze, car museum, golf resort and shops, Luray Caverns has something for everyone.

Related: Best Summer Camps or Workshops for Teens Around DC

Sandy Point State Park
1100 E. College Parkway
Annapolis, MD 21409
(410) 974-2149
www.dnr.state.md.us

Open daily 6 a.m. to sunset and less than an hour outside of DC in historical Annapolis, Maryland, Sandy Point State Park offers the perfect getaway spot to picnic, enjoy the fresh air and even take a swim or lay out on the beach. The iconic Chesapeake Bay provides cool tidal waters and plenty of sand along the beach. A favorite spot for avid picnickers, the park provides plenty of gazeboes, picnic benches and grassy areas for summertime lounging. Enjoy recreational activities including bird-watching, fishing, crabbing, boating and hiking.

Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park
16519 Lappans Road
Williamsport, MD 21795
(301) 223-7117
www.campjellystone.comThat iconic childhood mascot Yogi Bear invites DC-area residents to enjoy his real-life camping experience at Jellystone Park in northern Maryland, a short 90-minute drive outside DC. Jellystone Park has been a prime getaway vacation spot for families and youth groups for decades. Featuring a full-scale water park, swimming pool, mini-golf, pedal cart track, laser tag arena, outdoor theater and acres of traditional camping space, the park is fun for all ages and great for families. With overnight arrangements for every preference, including everything from fully equipped air-conditioned cabins to RV and tenting campgrounds, Jellystone is welcoming to all. The family-friendly park even does themed weekends throughout the summer for even more fun for the whole family, including contests, games, arts and crafts and more. Stay onsite to be immersed in all the fun.Related: Best City Escapes from Washington DC

Kayleigh Bryant is a D.C. native, traveler, foodie, artist and frequent museum visitor. Her lifelong fascination with art has moved her to explore the themes, techniques and media artists have employed to express their ideas. Kayleigh has earned a Master of Arts degree in Museum Studies and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.
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