Beyond being the nation’s capital, Washington D.C. and the surrounding area is loaded with history about the birth of the USA. With so many places to see and things to do, we have devoted an entire page on the blog to share information about DC, and provide links to help you plan your trip!
DC is served by a number of major highways, so you won’t have trouble arriving by car. The thing to keep in mind is finding parking in the city. If you are staying in a hotel, be sure to check if they offer parking. Driving around DC is not always necessary, nor convenient. You may be better off leaving your car at the hotel and using public transport during your visit.
If you plan on flying in, then there are 3 different airports to choose from.
Reagan National Airport is so close, it’s practically in the middle of the action in DC. Flying in and out of this airport gives you beautiful birds eye views of the monuments around town. This airport is also most convenient to town and is connected by the underground metro. However, it has a small runway so it is limited in the type of aircraft and flights available. During rush hours, it can be tough to get to due to traffic & congestion — so plan accordingly.
Washington Dulles is 26 miles out of town, but it can still take 40 minutes to get there — even in non rush-hour traffic. It is not yet connected to town by metro train, but you can find shuttle services and taxis easily between the airport and town. Just be sure you allot plenty of time.
Baltimore-Washington International (better known as BWI) is located in Baltimore, Maryland. There are many cheap flights available to and from this airport, particularly because this is a big hub for Southwest Airlines. However, it is a bit further from town. Shuttles and taxis are quite expensive, but there are Amtrak and MARC train service that will take you right into Union Station in the heart of DC. Click here to visit the BWI transportation website.
One of our favorite ways to get around DC is the metro. They have a great bus network, as well as underground rail which convenient gets you all around town. Click here to visit the DC metro website to look up maps and prices.
** NOTE: You do NOT want to rent a car in DC. There is no need, plus it is a pain to drive around in traffic and an even bigger pain (and expense) to park the car. If you fly into town, just use the metro.
Of course, DC is all about the monuments and important historical sights. Major monuments include the US Capitol, the White House, the Library of Congress, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial.
There are a number of amazing, and very important, museums all around DC. In particular, the Smithsonian is the world’s largest research center and museum. 16 Smithsonian museums are located in DC, with 11 along the main area of the National Mall — which spans from the Lincoln Memorial to the US Capital.
One of the reason’s that DC is a great vacation destination are all the free (or nearly free) activities for visitors. In fact, many of the museums around town are free!
Speaking of FREE things to do around DC, have you ever heard of “Geocaching?” With millions of caches hidden around the world, it’s basically one big treasure hunt.
This is a FREE and fun activity for your family while you travel. To learn more, visit our Travel Caching page here.
** There are MANY geocaching trails and “GeoTours” all around Washington D.C. Often, they will combine history and take you to some of the most popular (and even some off-the-beaten path) destinations around town. Geocaching is a great way to sight see!
Many of the things that you will want to see and do are located in a central area of DC. You will find accommodations ranging from budget hostels, practical hotels, and luxury hotels. It all depends on your budget.
As far as location, you will want to be close to the action. So we recommend hotels in the central area of DC, or those that are linked with public transportation — especially the underground metro. This will make it super easy for you to get to and from your hotel.
** Click on the banner below to browse current deals on Washington DC hotels!