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Day Trips from Washington DC

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Cheltenham
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Day Trips from Washington DC

We are planning to visit Washington DC for two weeks next Spring. Is it possible to visit surrounding areas on day trips, by train or bus? We would not want to hire a car.

Do your local experts think that two weeks is too long?

We intend to then take the train to Charleston and spend some time there, before returning North to New York and flying back to the UK from Boston.

Any advice about places to visit in the Washington area would be welcome.

Thank you.

Washington DC...
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1. Re: Day Trips from Washington DC

Two weeks is certainly longer than almost anyone spends as a visitor. Of course I've been here for decades and I haven't been everywhere. Just laziness though, not lack of time.

There are certainly day trips that can be taken from DC. Baltimore is the most mentioned. And it can be done via train. Annapolis is another good one, but no train there. If you are late enough in the Spring, the all-day bus tours to some places will have started, like Gettysburg and the Virginia Civil War sites. Do you have any special interests? Are there children involved?

Cheltenham
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2. Re: Day Trips from Washington DC

Thank you for your reply. No,no children involved.

We like to visit Historical sites, museums,art galleries and enjoy the atmosphere of new places. I think there is a lot of History in the area around Washington, Chesapeake Bay, Williamsburg,Philadelphia

Are Amtrak trains quite frequent and reliable?

We would intend to rent an apartment for the time we were there. We have spent a month in Boston previously and found that very interesting. We did travel in local trains at that time, are there similar train services in Washington?

Thank you for your help.

Washington DC...
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3. Re: Day Trips from Washington DC

Compared to the little I know about Boston, Washington has very little train service. The exception is service north to NYC, which is very frequent. To the south into Virginia it is not that great. Nor does it cover very many suburbs. Just two lines and they mostly run to bring commuters into the city in the morning and take them back in the evening. Amtrak has some trains, but again are geared mostly for people heading further south, not for day trips.

Washington DC...
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4. Re: Day Trips from Washington DC

The Williamsburg, Jamestown, Yorktown area is very nice and quite interesting. But it is really too far for a decent day trip. Much better to go and spend a couple of nights. It is also easiest with a car, though you can do a lot without one. The train runs down there only once a day.

Gaithersburg
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5. Re: Day Trips from Washington DC

Besides Baltimore, you could, with an early start, take Amtrak to Philadelphia, unless it is already on your itinerary. Other options would be Fredericksburg, Virginia or even Richmond, both served by Amtrak. Of course, all routes heading north are more reliable.

If you do wish to spend a day in Baltimore, I suggest tapping the local resources in that forum.

Enjoy your visit - and the exchange rate.

La Plata, Maryland
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6. Re: Day Trips from Washington DC

- The MARC commuter train connects Washington DC (Union Station) (afternoons), with the city of Frederick Maryland, 45 miles away, whose town center has many gift shops and restaurants, as well as the National Museum of Civil War Medicine also in the town center. The trains return to Washington, mornings.

- The MARC commuter train also goes (afternoons) from Washington DC to the very picturesque town Harpers Ferry (West Virginia), 60 miles away, which is in a steep gorge surrounded by mountains and rivers and has strolling park rangers in 19th century costumes explaining about abolitionist John Brown's famous slave rebellion, adjacent to the train station. If you lack a car, lodge at the "Hilltop House" hotel near the town center.

- The Virginia Railway Express (VRE) will take you from Washington DC or Arlington to the city of Fredericksburg, Virginia (55 miles from Washington) which likeways has gift shops and restaurants in the historic town center.

- Weekday commuter busses operated by the Maryland Department of Transportaion, will take you from downtown Washington (afternoons only) to the charming historic colonial city Annapolis, Maryland, and return to Washington, mornings. Annapolis has many art galleries/shops, a yacht harbor, tours of the U.S. Naval Academy, etc.

La Plata, Maryland
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7. Re: Day Trips from Washington DC

Annapolis is only 35 miles from Washington DC, and is an excellent and charming city to visit. The Routes 922 and 950 commuter busses to/from Washington, stop in several places conveniently in the Annapolis town center, as well as at the town's edge. Click on http://www.mta.maryland/services

Maryland
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8. Re: Day Trips from Washington DC

" The Routes 922 and 950 commuter busses to/from Washington, stop in several places conveniently in the Annapolis town center, as well as at the town's edge. Click on http://www.mta.maryland/services "

Annapolis is a nice visit, but I don't think those commuter buses are going to be an option for a day trip - they run INTO Washington in the morning, and back to Annapolis and the Eastern Shore in the afternoon and evenings.

mtamaryland.com/services/…922_sched.cfm

Cheltenham
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9. Re: Day Trips from Washington DC

Thank you all so much for the information. The distances are so much greater in USA than here in Europe. We will have to give this trip some thought!!

Again, many thanks.

DC
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10. Re: Day Trips from Washington DC

Honestly, there is PLENTY to do in D.C. to keep you busy through two weeks even if you chose not to go anywhere on day trips! You'll be fine. Think about what you want out of the trip, and realize that some things require advanced ticketing. For most things that need advanced ticketing you can get it just a day or a few days in advance (Holocaust Museum, going up to the observation platform of the Washington Monument). But some require more long-term planning, such as if you want a tour of the Capitol building or White House -- probably have to arrange either through your Embassy here in DC.

But there are absolutely tons of museums here, you could spend days in the Smithsonians alone. Not to mention all the art galleries (don't forget the Phillips in Dupont, which has a photo exhibit). Then there are the independent museums such as the Spy Museum and the Newseum. Not to mention all the monuments there are to see.

And don't forget the night life!