7 FAB DESTINATIONS a Quick Road Trip from Washington
The countryside surrounding Washington is just as historic and beautiful as the city itself, although a bit more relaxing. When you’re craving adventure or a retreat from the DC bustle, you can hop in the car to discover charming beach towns, historic villages and a world class wine region, all three hours or less from the capital. This list features our seven favorite destinations for a fab day trip (or overnight!) that includes yummy southern food, elegant fine dining and scenic mountain trails to keep you active—enjoy!
Monticello Wine Trail
DISTANCE FROM DC: 100 MILES
Welcome to the birthplace of American wine. It all started over 200 years ago, when Thomas Jefferson brought in an Italian winemaker to help manifest his vision for a world class wine region in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. We expect TJ would be pleased to know that today Virginia is home to over 200 wineries and plenty of internationally award-winning bottles of wine. To sample the best the region has to offer, go for a tour along the Monticello wine trail. You can check out Jefferson’s historic hilltop property and explore the gorgeous Virginia country side while sipping a fine southern-grown Cabernet.
Sometimes you just need a beach day—and this one is considered one of the best in the country.Less than two hours from DC, Rehoboth is a charming seaside town known for its friendly locals, quirky boutiques and colorful cottages. Spend the day under a blue umbrella on Rehoboth’s pristine sands, or stroll along the all-wood boardwalk for an old-fashioned American experience. Try local foodie favorites like Fisher’s Popcorn or a homemade scoop at the Ice Cream Store. And stay for the sunset, but don’t do it without scallops at the Shorebreak Lodge.
There’s simply something romantic about Anapolis. This historic harbor city is at once regal and relaxed, being both the capital of Maryland and the sailing capital of America. On a sunny day here, you might enjoy watching the sailboats from the famous Annapolis City Dock. Go a step further and take a private boat tour of the Chesapeake Bay for a glimpse of the US Naval Academy and the stunning city skyline. Back on dry land, the history and architecture nuts among us might love a guided tour of the city’s impressive landmark buildings. End the day with a show at the Ram’s Head on State, a venue that’s been voted one of the top music clubs of its size in the world.
If what you crave on your break from the DC bustle is a luxurious wellness retreat, look no further than the Salamander. This high-end resort has been named one of Forbes’ Hot 20 Travel Destinations and is beloved for its idyllic countryside setting and classic southern elegance. Explore 340 acres in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains along the estate’s many hiking paths and bike trails, or visit the Equestrian Center and set off on horseback. Then nourish your body at the spa and hang out in your own poolside cabana before enjoying a sophisticated locally-sourced dinner at Harriman’s.
Known as the Hamptons of the Chesapeake, in this idyllic small town all roads lead to water. For a day on the bay, charter a Lady Patty Yacht or go kayaking. Back in town, you can rent a bicycle at the marina and explore St. Michael’s historic red brick streets lined with beautiful Victorian homes that will transport you back in time. Antique hunters might like to browse the shops on Talbot Street, while foodies should keep an eye out for the local specialty, blue crab. When it comes to dinner, booking a table at the Inn at Easton is a must. And if your trip turns into an overnight, make your way to the Five Gables Inn, a chic bed and breakfast complete with an indoor pool, steam room and sauna.
Surrounded by the lush farms of the Shenandoah Valley, this sweet southern town is known for its fabulous local food scene. You might come just to try the biscuit from the Bonnie Blue Southern Bakery, or have a freshly-fried apple cider donut from the Virginia Farm Market. After an indulgent breakfast, stroll the gardens at the Museum of the Shenandoah or go for a hike along parts of the Appalachian trail. Back in town, sights to see include George Washington’s former office and Patsy Cline’s childhood home—both preserved in a museum-like fashion. If shopping and strolling are more your speed, peruse the boutiques at the outdoor Old Town Mall. When you’re ready for a martini, try local favorite the Village Square, serving farm-fresh American cuisine all day long.
The first town in America to carry the name Washington, this five-by-two block village in the Blue Ridge Mountains was surveyed and laid out by our first President himself over 250 years ago. Thanks to such historic origins, this tiny country town has plenty of cultural delights to be enjoyed, like Five Star fine dining at the Inn at Little Washington, renowned musical performances at the Theatre at Washington, plus fabulous boutiques and galleries catering to a crowd of elite DC weekenders. You can spend the day wining, dining and cycling on a Tour D’Epicure or go hiking in White Oak Canyon to see the sun set over the Shenandoah Valley.