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Day Trippin'; Where to Go, What to Do around Metro DC | Families

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Day Trippin'; Where to Go, What to Do around Metro DC
Day Trippin'; Where to Go, What to Do around Metro DC

What is your idea of a perfect spring day? Sipping vino on the Potomac? Sightseeing with map in hand at historic landmarks? Riding adrenaline-pulsing roller coasters? All of these are available here in the mid-Atlantic region within an hour (or two) from home. Decide what mood you're in, fill 'er up and hit the road with a friend, alone or with the whole family in tow.

IF YOU LIKE ADVENTURE
If being lifted up 205 feet in the air, momentarily suspended over the ground below and then plunged 90 degrees straight down towards the ground at speeds faster than 70 miles per hour sounds like your idea of a fun way to spend an afternoon, head straight to Busch Gardens in Williamsburg and ride "Griffon." Named for a mythical beast with the strength of a lion and the speed of an eagle, this roller coaster has been described by avid riders as, "the sickest coaster out there." (156 miles from Washington D.C.) If water sports are more your thing, try the latest water sports craze - kite boarding (also known as kite surfing) in Ocean City, Maryland. Spend a day learning kite safety, control and launching/landing skills. Before you go, rent the documentary, "Into the Air; a Kite boarding Experience" and watch the best of the best show off their moves. (150 miles from Washington D.C.).

IF YOU LIKE TO SIGHTSEE
You don't have to go far to experience some of the richest history in the nation. If you haven't done so before, try a Hop On/Off Washington D.C. Bus Tour. The tour lasts approximately 2.5 hours and you can hop on and off throughout the day at such stops as Union Station, The US Capitol, Chinatown, Ford's Theatre, Arlington National Cemetery, Georgetown (where you can sip a beverage on the waterfront), Embassy Row, Washington National Cathedral (which has one of the best gift shops in town), National Zoo, National Air and Space Museum and many other popular tourist destinations. If you're of sound mind and body (and over the age of 16), consider seeing many of these same sites via a personal transportation device - a Segway. (City Center Washington D.C.)
Another option for taking in the D.C. sites is a riverboat cruise. There are a variety of themed cruises such as, "Monuments by Moonlight," fireworks cruises, fondue dessert cruises, pirate cruises (for children young and old) and even, "canine cruises" where you can bring your four-legged friends along for the ride. History buffs are sure to appreciate the Mount Vernon cruise that leaves from Alexandria Harbor and sails along the Potomac River to the most popular historic estate in America - George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens.

IF YOU LIKE TO RELAX
To escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life, head west to Shenandoah National Park which consists of almost 200,000 acres of parklands, including 500 miles of trails (101 of which are part of the Appalachian Trail). If your idea of relaxation is pitching a tent whenever and wherever you like, the park allows backcountry camping with a (free) permit. For a five-star experience, check into The Homestead mountain resort and take a dip in the very same natural mineral water hot springs that Thomas Jefferson once described as being "of the finest merit." (217 miles from Washington D.C.)

If you like the idea of combining a little adventure, a bit of sightseeing and a whole lot of "aaaaah" relaxation, consider signing up for the General's Wine and History Trail. Ten winemakers came together in recent years to create this tour of Virginia varieties including Burgundy, Bordeaux, Rhone styles, Methode Champenoise sparkling wines and other local favorites. Before you leave home, print out a 'passport' that includes a vineyard trail map, winery descriptions and historical overviews of what happened on and near the land where the grapes now grow. (30-60 miles from Washington D.C.)

If your adventure, sightseeing or relaxation travels take you on a longer road trip North or South, pick up a copy of Stan and Sandra Posner's book, "Drive I-95: Exit by Exit Info, Maps, History and Triviaā€¯ to locate the best food, fun and facilities along the Interstate 95 corridor.

Christina (Chris) Croll is a freelance writer and mother two. To see what she is working on, and to suggest topics for future articles, visit chriscroll.com.

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