DC is a world-class city that has pretty much everything to offer, and we spend pretty much all of our time covering the coolest of the cool here in the district.
But despite the endless things to do in DC, sometimes you need to get out of the city to take a break from your daily grind or regular weekend routine.
Luckily, there are just about as many awesome places to escape for a day trip near DC as there are exciting things to do in the city itself.
Check out 4 of our favorite day trips that are a short drive from DC below, and make sure to share your next getaway with us by tagging #FrayLife in your social posts!
1. Frederick, MD
Distance: 1 hour drive from D.C.
With a vibrant arts scene, a growing craft brewery industry, and some of the coolest local hot spots, Frederick should jump to the top of your list of places to visit on your next day trip.
Frederick is home to the famous Voltaggio Brothers. Stop by Volt for a fine dining experience or Family Meal for a (slightly) less expensive option, both owned by brother Bryan Voltaggio. Other local downtown favorites include Hootch and Banter, Brewer’s Alley, and Firestone’s Culinary Tavern.
#FrayLife Tip: Firestone’s pastrami sandwich is to die for!
Craft breweries are all the rage in Frederick. Buy a $10 ticket for the Frederick Brew Bus and you’ll stop at some great locations like Olde Mother Brewing, Rockwell Brewery, Attaboy Beer, and even the famous Flying Dog.
Frederick isn’t short of distillery options either! McClintock Distilling, Dragon Distillery, and Tenth Ward Distilling Company all reside in Frederick, so you might need to turn your day trip into an overnight stay so you can sample them all.
Head to Frederick on Thursday evenings for Alive @ Five concerts on the creek. There’s almost always something going on in Frederick, regardless of the time of year, but especially in the summer.
#FrayLife Tip: Check brewery websites to see what food trucks will be there on the day you go.
2. Annapolis, MD
Distance: 50 minute drive from D.C.
Annapolis, the State Capitol of Maryland, boasts beautiful views of the Chesapeake Bay and a vibrant Downtown Area known for its restaurants, shopping, and nightlife. Annapolis has a variety of fun historical tours and an eclectic mix of food and drink options that will be sure to pack your day full of fun.
Iron Rooster is a popular local brunch location – breakfast is served all day! Make sure to get their famous Housemade Roostarts (homemade poptarts) – flavors vary by day.
Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls is another delicious option. Fill your roll with melt-in-your-mouth lobster, bacon, and even shrimp!
For a hidden local favorite, look for the little doorway with a fox’s head which will take you down into the Fox’s Den. Their gourmet pizzas are a yummy treat!
Davis’ Pub and Chick and Ruth’s Delly are two other local favorites that have garnered national attention (thanks in large part to Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives). No matter what you’re craving, you’ll most likely find it in downtown Annapolis.
Annapolis has no shortage of drink options! Try out Chesapeake Brewing Company for local craft beer, Dry 85 for an exciting selection of whiskeys, or pop into Red Red Wine for (you guessed it) a variety of wine options! Rams Head Tavern is housed in a building that dates back to colonial times and is home to the famous International Beer Club. On Sunday Funday, head to Vida Taco Bar for their delicious $6 Vida Margaritas.
Annapolis is known for its beautiful views, so bring your camera! Main Street is the place to be for some boutique shopping options or head to the water and hop on a boat tour to explore the harbor! Annapolis is also home to the U.S. Naval Academy, which is worth the trip all by itself. There’s a museum on campus and tours are offered, but check the website before going to see what the current ID requirements are.
#FrayLife Tip: Head to Annapolis on a warmer day. Being right on the water, it can get chilly!
3. Leesburg, VA
Distance: 52 minutes to 1 hour from D.C. – depending on whether you take toll roads
Close by to outlets and wineries, and with breweries popping up at a quick pace, Leesburg is an excellent spot to try both now and later.
Who knew grilled cheese could be so exciting? Stop into Bites for some fancy grilled cheeses. Feeling more like Mexican food? Señor Ramon is the best in Leesburg. Locals rave over South Street Under, where you can choose from an assortment of yummy sandwiches and soups.
In the heart of downtown Leesburg you can try a taste of Belgium. Head to Delirium Cafe’s only U.S. location for a unique taste of Europe. Feeling more like German beer? The owner of Black Hoof Brewing uses water science to give their beer an authentic German lager taste. Crooked Run Brewing offers more pale ale selections and Wild Hare Cidery lets you drink as Ben Franklin did, with pre-prohibition style ciders.
The Leesburg Corner Premium Outlets are a short drive from the historic downtown if you’re looking to do a little shopping. If you want to spend time further outside downtown you’ll find many exciting wineries (Tarara Vineyard and Stone Tower Winery to name a few) as well as even more breweries (Vanish Brewery’s fresh smoked BBQ is a must!)
#FrayLife Tip: Bring a designated driver (maybe treat them to an outlet shopping spree first) and make a day out of hopping between all of Leesburg’s breweries!
4. National Harbor, MD
Distance: 18-minute drive from D.C.
National Harbor is so close to D.C. that it’s sometimes easy to forget, but you’re missing out if you overlook it! Sure, National Harbor has the MGM Hotel and Casino, but it’s also home to some exciting nightlife options as well as some outdoor fun, making it an excellent day trip option.
National Harbor has a ton of exciting hot spots, some offering unique entertainment. At Bobby McKey’s Dueling Piano Bar you can give your song requests to the pianists who’s talent will be sure to amaze you. Need somewhere to practice your line dancing or want to try a mechanical bull? Check out Cadillac Ranch. Make sure to try some of their signature cocktails while you’re there!
The statues and murals are a must-see (and Instagram) as you walk the streets of National Harbor. Wander through the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center and see their 19 story glass atrium. The Capital Wheel is also a must-do to catch Virginia, D.C., and Maryland sights from the air. Feeling lucky? Of course, you can stop in at the MGM Casino and try your hand at a variety of slots and table games.
#FrayLife Tip: Purchase a souvenir glass from the Flight Deck bar at the Capital Wheel to take your drink on board!
Do you have an awesome day trip planned for this summer that belongs on our list? Leave us a comment below OR tag us in all of your day trip fun using #FrayLife on social media!
Want to get out of DC for the day without leaving the city? Escape to our favorite of DC’s hundreds of city parks.
View More Articles By Ashlee Smith
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