It would be fair to say that DC isn’t exactly known for having an abundance of outdoor activities. The majority of people I know consider it “outdoorsy” to enjoy cocktails on a yacht on the Georgetown waterfront. But there are actually quite a few places to get outside and be active within driving distance of DC. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Shenandoah National Park: Shenandoah is my favorite place to get outside in the area. If I’m feeling tired or my ankle is bothering me, I can drive along Skyline Drive and stop to take photos. If I want to get a good workout, I can spend the day hiking Old Rag. If I want an easy hike with a good view, I can hike Hawksbill. Shenandoah offers so much to do and it’s only an hour and a half from DC.
- Great Falls, Maryland: Great Falls Maryland is a great place to hike. You can challenge yourself with the Billy Goat Trail, or take it easy and enjoy the view of the falls from the overlook.
- Great Falls, Virginia: The Virginia side of Great Falls is one of the best outdoor rock climbing locations in the DC area.
- Annapolis Rocks: Want one of those epic standing-on-a-rock photos with an unbeatable view and an easy hike? Head to Annapolis Rocks, Maryland. And if you’re into rock climbing, do some sport climbing too.
- Sugarloaf Mountain: I’ve been going to Sugarloaf since I was young. It’s not too far from DC and there are really great views. If you like wine, head to one of the local wineries after you hike.
- Shenandoah Rocks / Nelson Rocks: Want to climb? Drive to West Virginia. Check out Shenandoah Rocks for sport climbing or Nelson Rocks for a via ferrata climb.
- Blue Ridge Mountains near Roanoke: It’s a 3.5 hour drive from DC, but Roanoke is a nature lover’s paradise. It has without a doubt some of the best hiking in the area, like the beautiful McAfee Knob.