Possible Day Trips From Washington DC (Including Coastal Trips) Possible Day Trips From Washington DC (Including Coastal Trips)

Possible Day Trips From Washington DC (Including Coastal Trips)

America is vast. People who don’t live in the States often forget. A drive from the Atlantic coast of Maine to the Pacific coast of California would be over 3000 miles, that’s a load of time spent behind the wheel.

Washington has a different story. No 3000-mile drives here, as there are loads of cities and locations within an hour or two that make for good days out, family activities, or history and Civil War educational tours.

Spending time in the East of the US it is clear that there are a huge number of smaller towns and cities that people may not have heard of, spread across more states. There are more than double the number of states on the East Coast with a coastline compared to the West Coast, where the states are bigger.

Washington is not directly on the East Coast, but there are plenty of coastal places within reach in just a day.


Annapolis is the capital city of Maryland. You may know it from the 2006 film of the same name, or you might never have heard of it. Either way, it’s a charming and historic place right on the Chesapeake Bay.

Visitors are rarely short of fun things to do in Annapolis and can explore its vibrant downtown area, filled with boutique shops, art galleries, and seafood restaurants (it is on the coast after all). The city’s waterfront promenade offers opportunities for scenic walks, boat tours, and water activities such as sailing and paddle boarding.

Harpers Ferry

Harpers Ferry played a key role in the Civil War. If you like history and you like hiking, be sure to spend a day here. The central tour can be a way to explore all about the war, and there are loads of other activities. The Potomac passes through and there are even some watersports.

The usual nightlife spots and entertainment are in the town so you’re not short of things to do. It’s the National park that draws so many people to Harpers Ferry, though. Lovers of military history and the great outdoors, take note.


US cities are often quite far apart, but Baltimore is an easy ride from Washington, DC. Spend a day there and enjoy the fashionable area of Fells Point.

You can also visit a load of different museums in Baltimore, and local businesses like restaurants and breweries.

Sports fans will often visit during the season and head to a game. Federal Hill is where both big teams play in the city, so it is easy to take in football or baseball. This is a nice area, too, with bars and plenty to do.

Take a Coastal Drive

Jump in the hire car and get over to the East Coast. Beaches aren’t necessarily what the East is known for. People think of American coastlines and may think of Malibu, but the East has a lot to offer. Being near the coast can be relaxing as well as fun.

From Washington, you can be on the coast in under an hour. Chesapeake Beach is one example, but this might not be your ice cream and day of tanning sort of location. Instead, I really recommend driving around the coast taking in some of the sights, including national parks, ranches, and lush greenery not far from the beaches themselves.


Frederick is a charming and fun town within easy reach of Washington. Fewer than 100,000 people live here but it is surrounded by awesome parks and full of museums and culture.

The National Museum of Civil War Medicine is one of the highlights. You might not assume this would be an enthralling day out, but it is incredibly well-reviewed and really interesting. It really shows how far the country has come in terms of medical breakthroughs.

George Washington’s Mount Vernon

Washington’s name isn’t exactly a mystery – if you’re staying in the city named after the great George Washington, you might already hold an interest in history. American history has a lot to do with this local area, and if you’re interested in the founding fathers, Mount Vernon is a must-see.

George and wife Martha lived in the building that is also set in 180 acres of beautiful surroundings. These days, it has been turned into a museum for tourists and locals to enjoy.

The good news? It’s only around 13 miles outside of Washington so it doesn’t take a long time to fit in this activity and you can easily head onward to one of the other cool days out on our list.


America is full of iconic places to visit – Washington, DC, is known all over the world and you won’t run out of things to do if you’re there for a week or two. 20 million or more people head to the capital every year as tourists.

That said, it is good to have some day trips up your sleeve, and seeing as many of these eastern cities and locations as possible just makes sense for tourists.