13 Weekend Getaways From DC for New Residents

Updated on April 6th, 2023

Reading Time: 8 minutes

If you’re thinking about buying a house in Washington, DC or considering renting an apartment in one of DC’s many neighborhoods, you’re probably familiar with the treasure trove of iconic landmarks and cultural attractions the city offers. However, the constant hustle and bustle of this vibrant city can leave even the most energetic person feeling drained. That’s when a weekend getaway from DC becomes the perfect antidote. Luckily, living in Washington, DC allows for a world of adventure just a short drive away.

Escape to the charming towns of Virginia and Maryland, where history, nature, and relaxation come together to create a rejuvenating experience. Or venture further afield to Pennsylvania, where you can explore the stunning natural beauty of the Pocono Mountains and enjoy outdoor activities galore.

1. New York City, New York

Estimated travel time: 4 hours and 40 minutes by car

A trip from Washington, DC to New York City offers a wealth of attractions and experiences. Visitors can explore iconic landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building, stroll through Central Park, and visit renowned museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The city is also known for its world-class dining and shopping scenes, with options ranging from street food to luxury boutiques. 

No visit is complete without seeing a Broadway show, and the vibrant theater scene offers something for everyone. New York City is a melting pot of cultures, with diverse neighborhoods such as Little Italy, Chinatown, and Harlem to explore. With easy transportation options such as trains and buses, the trip from Washington, DC. to New York City is a great weekend getaway option that offers something for every type of traveler.

2. Ocean City, New Jersey

Estimated travel time: 4 hours

Ocean City, NJ offers a refreshing coastal escape that’s perfect for a weekend getaway. The beach town is known for its miles of white sandy beaches, amusement parks, and a boardwalk with an array of shops and eateries. Visitors can enjoy swimming, sunbathing, and water sports, as well as activities like mini-golf and go-karts. For those who prefer a more laid-back vacation, there are plenty of opportunities to relax and unwind, from strolling along the beach to enjoying a sunset over the ocean. 

Ocean City, NJ

3. Old Town Alexandria, Virginia

Estimated travel time: 30 minutes

Old Town Alexandria, VA is a charming and historic escape. The quaint town is situated along the Potomac River and features cobblestone streets, 18th-century architecture, and a picturesque waterfront. Visitors can explore landmarks such as the George Washington Masonic National Memorial and the Carlyle House Historic Park, as well as browse the many boutique shops and art galleries. Old Town Alexandria is also known for its dining scene, with an array of restaurants ranging from casual to fine dining, as well as craft breweries and wineries. 

For those who love the outdoors, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the scenic waterfront and take a leisurely stroll or bike ride along the Mount Vernon Trail. Old Town Alexandria is a great destination for those wanting to spend their weekend in a peaceful and charming respite from the busy city.

4. Boston, Massachusetts

Estimated travel time: 8 hours

A trip to Boston, MA. is a must-do for anyone interested in American history, culture, and architecture. As two of the oldest and most influential cities in the United States, both Washington and Boston have played significant roles in the country’s development. Boston is home to many of the nation’s most iconic landmarks, including the Freedom Trail, which takes visitors on a 2.5-mile walk through historic sites such as the Massachusetts State House, the Old North Church, and Paul Revere’s house. In addition to its rich history, Boston is a vibrant and bustling city known for its seafood, shopping, and arts scene, making it an ideal destination for a weekend getaway. 

The city’s charming neighborhoods, such as Beacon Hill and the North End, are perfect for strolling and exploring, while its world-class museums, such as the Museum of Fine Arts and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, are not to be missed. Furthermore, the city’s proximity to other New England destinations, such as Salem and Cape Cod, makes it an excellent starting point for further exploration of the region.

Faneuil Hall rooftops covered in snow during the winter season in Boston. Faneuil Hall Also known as Quincy Market is located near the waterfront and Government Center, in Boston, Massachusetts, has been a marketplace and a meeting hall since 1743. Boston is the largest city in New England, the capital of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

5. Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

Estimated travel time: 1 hour and 30 minutes

Harpers Ferry is situated at the joining of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers and is known for its Civil War history, with landmarks such as John Brown’s Fort and the site of the Battle of Harpers Ferry. Visitors can also explore the picturesque downtown area, with its antique shops, galleries, and cafes. 

Outdoor enthusiasts will love the opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, and water sports, with scenic trails such as the Appalachian Trail and the C&O Canal Towpath nearby. Harpers Ferry is also a popular destination for whitewater rafting, with the rapids of the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers offering an exhilarating adventure. With its proximity to Washington, DC, Harpers Ferry is an easy and convenient weekend getaway option, offering a unique blend of history, outdoor recreation, and scenic beauty.

Harpers Ferry is a historic town in Jefferson County, West Virginia, United States, in the lower Shenandoah Valley.

6. Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Estimated travel time: 2 hours and 10 minutes

A trip from Washington, DC, to Gettysburg, PA, offers a fascinating and historic escape that’s perfect for a weekend getaway. The town is located just a few hours north of DC and is renowned for its role in the American Civil War, with the famous Battle of Gettysburg taking place there in 1863. Visitors can explore the Gettysburg National Military Park and Museum, where they can learn about the battle and its significance in American history. The town also features charming shops, cafes, and restaurants, as well as a vibrant arts and culture scene with live music and theater performances throughout the year. Outdoor enthusiasts will love the scenic beauty of the surrounding countryside, with opportunities for hiking, biking, and horseback riding in the nearby Catoctin Mountains. 

Picketts Charge came across these fields, 11th New York Infantry monument and the Bryan barn, American Civil War, Gettysburg National Military Park, Pennsylvania, PA, USA.

7. Goodstone Inn & Restaurant in Middleburg, Virginia

Estimated travel time: 1 hour and 15 minutes

Goodstone Inn & Restaurant is a luxurious country house resort located in Middleburg, VA, just over an hour’s drive from Washington, DC. This charming retreat is perfect for a romantic getaway or a relaxing weekend away from the city. The resort’s picturesque setting boasts 265 acres of rolling hills, horse pastures, and gardens, providing a serene escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. The beautifully decorated rooms and suites, complete with fireplaces and antique furnishings, offer a cozy and intimate ambiance, making guests feel right at home. The resort’s restaurant, featuring a farm-to-table menu with ingredients sourced from the property’s own gardens and local farms, provides an exceptional culinary experience. 

Additionally, Goodstone Inn offers a variety of outdoor activities, such as hiking, horseback riding, and cycling, allowing guests to immerse themselves in the tranquil countryside surroundings. With its idyllic location, elegant accommodations, exceptional dining, and outdoor activities, Goodstone Inn & Restaurant is the perfect weekend retreat for anyone seeking a peaceful and luxurious escape from the city.

8. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Estimated travel time: 3 hours and 20 minutes

Philadelphia, PA is just a few hours north of DC and is known as the birthplace of the U.S., with landmarks such as Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were both signed. Visitors can explore the many museums and cultural institutions, such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Barnes Foundation, which house world-renowned collections of art and artifacts. 

The city is also famous for its food scene, with iconic dishes such as cheesesteak and soft pretzels, as well as a thriving craft beer culture. Outdoor enthusiasts can explore the city’s many parks, including Fairmount Park, which is one of the largest urban parks in the country. With its rich history, cultural offerings, and vibrant energy, Philadelphia is a great option for a weekend getaway from Washington, DC.

Philadelphia’s skyline in autumn

9. Annapolis, Maryland

Estimated travel time: 1 hour

Annapolis, MD is a charming and relaxing escape that’s perfect for a weekend getaway. The city is just a short drive away from DC and is located on the Chesapeake Bay, offering stunning waterfront views and access to outdoor activities such as boating, kayaking, and fishing. Annapolis is also known for its rich history, with attractions such as the U.S. Naval Academy and the Maryland State House, which served as the nation’s first peacetime capitol. Visitors can explore the city’s quaint streets and historic homes, or relax at one of the many cafes and restaurants offering fresh seafood and Chesapeake Bay cuisine. Annapolis also has a vibrant arts and culture scene, with live music and theater performances throughout the year. 

Annapolis is the capital of the U.S. state of Maryland, as well as the county seat of Anne Arundel County.

10. The Greenbrier, West Virginia

Estimated travel time: 4 hours by car

The Greenbrier resort in West Virginia offers a luxurious and relaxing escape that’s perfect for a weekend getaway. Located just a few hours’ drive from DC, The Greenbrier is a world-renowned resort that’s been attracting visitors since the 18th century. The resort’s 11,000 acres offer a wide range of activities, including golfing on championship courses, hiking in the surrounding mountains, and relaxing at the world-class spa. Visitors can also enjoy fine dining at one of the resort’s many restaurants, or indulge in some shopping at the on-site boutiques. The Greenbrier is also rich in history, with ties to presidents and royalty, and visitors can explore the resort’s many historic buildings and artifacts. With its luxurious amenities, stunning natural surroundings, and rich history, the Greenbrier is a great option for a weekend getaway from Washington, DC.

11. Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Estimated travel time: 2 hours

Rehoboth Beach, DE has a laid back atmosphere with picturesque surroundings, and endless activities. It’s located just two hours away from the city, Rehoboth Beach is a charming seaside town with a vibrant boardwalk, pristine beaches, and a lively dining scene. The town is also known for its unique boutiques, antique shops, and art galleries, making it a great destination for a weekend getaway. Visitors can stroll along the boardwalk, enjoy fresh seafood at one of the many restaurants, or soak up the sun on the beach. For those interested in outdoor activities, there are plenty of options, including hiking, kayaking, and fishing. Rehoboth Beach is also home to several parks and nature reserves, providing visitors with a chance to explore the area’s natural beauty. 

Early morning (sunrise) scene of WWII observation towers on beach near Gordon's Pone in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.

12. Cape Hatteras, North Carolina

Estimated travel time: 3 hours

A trip from Washington, DC, to Cape Hatteras, NC, is an ideal escape for those seeking adventure and natural beauty. Located about five hours away from the city, Cape Hatteras is a picturesque barrier island that boasts stunning beaches, sand dunes, and rolling waves. Visitors can take part in a variety of outdoor activities such as surfing, kayaking, fishing, and bird watching. Cape Hatteras is also home to the iconic black and white striped lighthouse, which provides visitors with panoramic views of the island and the Atlantic Ocean. In addition to its natural beauty, Cape Hatteras is also known for its fresh seafood, making it a great destination for foodies. 

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

13. Whitetail Resort, located in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania

Estimated travel time: 2 hours and 20 minutes

Whitetail Resort, located in Mercersburg, PA, is a popular ski and snowboarding destination that is easily accessible from Washington, DC. Just over an hour away from the city, the resort offers a variety of trails for skiers and snowboarders of all levels, making it a great option for beginners and experts alike. The resort also boasts top-notch amenities, including a modern lodge, a full-service ski and snowboard rental shop, and multiple dining options. 

Additionally, Whitetail Resort offers activities beyond skiing, such as snow tubing and zip-lining, making it a perfect weekend getaway for families or groups of friends. The scenic surroundings and fresh mountain air make for a relaxing and rejuvenating experience away from the hustle and bustle of the city. With its proximity to Washington, DC and its abundance of winter activities, Whitetail Resort is an ideal destination for a quick and exciting weekend getaway.

If you are represented by an agent, this is not a solicitation of your business. This article is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for professional advice from a medical provider, licensed attorney, financial advisor, or tax professional. Consumers should independently verify any agency or service mentioned will meet their needs. Learn more about our Editorial Guidelines here.

Julia Weaver

Julia is a part of the content marketing team and enjoys writing about real estate and design trends. Her dream home be a charming beachside home with lots of light.

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