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Day trip from DC

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Day trip from DC

We are visiting in September and are contemplating an afternoon trip outside of DC. We are thinking about going to the Fredricksburg area. How far of a drive is it and is it worth the drive? Any other suggestions on things outside of DC. We love historical things. Any input is much appreciated.

Las Cruces, New...
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11. Re: Day trip from DC

Good idea! Here's the link for info on Manassas Battlefield Park:

Manassas National Battlefield Park (National Park Service)

Official National Park Service website for the American Civil War's Battles of First and Second Manassas (also called Bull Run.) www.nps.gov/mana/

Also, depending on how much time you want to spend outside of DC, Leesburg, VA has its charms: www.leesburgva.com/visitors/

If you like horses, there's an 1,200-acre estate up that way:


Dallas, TX
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12. Re: Day trip from DC

If you want to do a half day, I would suggest Great Falls - about 30-45 minutes away in VA. You'll see some of the grandest homes on the scenic drive, and it's a beautiful park where you can really strech your legs and see some great waterfalls.

I would also second the vote for Annapolis, or just go across the river to Old Town Alexandria. Lived in both and love them completely!!!

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13. Re: Day trip from DC

Two other options I thought of:

1) if you have kids, you could do Kings Dominion, which is an amusement park about 15 miles north of Richmond just off of I-95. It's about a 1 hr. 15 minute drive.

2) Skyline drive in the Shenandoah Valley. It's beautiful in the fall, which also means it's crowded, but it's great for driving through, hiking, picnicking, etc. About 1.5 hours west of DC.

Sterling, VA
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14. Re: Day trip from DC

If you like potato chips, then I recommend taking a trip to the Route 11 Potato Chip factory in Middletown, VA. You can go to their webpage: http://www.rt11.com. The factory is open to customers Monday-Saturday 9 a.m to 5 p.m. If you go on a weekday, you can see the chips being made. While it's not a full factory tour, you can watch through a window. Also, you can buy freshly made chips. You give your order to the person in the shop, then they go back and bring out some fresh chips for you. They have a great selection and are delicious. We went on a Saturday so we didn't get to see them made but still came home with lots of chips!

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15. Re: Day trip from DC

Didn't see either of my choices mentioned, so thought I'd pipe in if not too late........

Mount Vernon is a can't miss sight about 1/2 hour away (tour buses available) and for a longer trip (about 1 1/2 hours each way) I'd say the Williamsburg Virginia area is a great visit if you have a car. Both places are historic and set up very well for visitors and will be enjoyed by the whole family.

Alexandria, VA
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16. Re: Day trip from DC

Sorry to have come to this posting so late, but I do feel compelled to respond to a couple of the previous comments:

Especially as you mentioned an "afternoon" trip, not even a full day, you should consider the Old Town section of Alexandria, Va., just across and 6 miles down the Potomac, 30 minutes by Metro (don't need a car, and would be better off without one, as parking can be tight). The town was founded in 1749 and has many, many late 18th/early19th century buildings -- historic houses you can go through, beautiful tree-lined 18th century residential streets, two lovely 18th century churches, a late 18th century firehouse, an 18th century tavern with a ballroom so elegant it was taken to the NY Metropolitan Museum of Art (leaving a reproduction in its place, but that's another story), waterfront parks, etc., etc.

Fredericksburg has gotten a bad rap here. The original 18th century portion of town, which you do not even come close to when driving through on I-95 or even Route 1, has a similar feel as Old Town Alexandria (it's actually a little older than Alexandria), with the same types of places to tour. It's about 1 hour + out of DC by car, and there's even a commuter train down and back called Virginia Railway Express if your schedule is right.

Williamsburg is immense, would take a couple of days at least to see the bulk of, and I'm afraid the drive is more like 3 hours from DC than the 1-1/2 mentioned by another poster. Remember also, it's almost entirely a reconstruction, with very few original buildings.

An hour away from DC by car is Annapolis, which actually was John D. Rockefeller's first choice for a colonial-period museum town before he bought Williamsburg lock, stock, and barrel (literally) (he was turned down flat by the citizens, who didn't want to be mummified into a museum). Annapolis, even today, has far more 18th century buildings (the real thing, not imitations) than still stood in Williamsrburg in the 1930's when John D. took it over. And it also has the US Naval Academy to tour, plus a lively waterfront on the Severn River that's still got some original local color.

Any of these would be my choice, even after considering the numerous imaginative suggestions you've previously received.