When it comes to epic adventures, DC’s metro might not be the first destination on your bucket list. But you’d be surprised.
With rock climbing, skiing, paragliding, bike riding, and sailing within an hour of the District, it’s easy to find a rewarding weekend adventure. Pack a bag, possibly a helmet, and check out this list of epic adventures to take near DC!
State-to-state bike trip? No problem! Try biking to Maryland from Georgetown. Yep, that’s 184 miles between DC and Cumberland, Maryland on the scenic C&O Canal Trail. While several will complete the trip in a single day (it’s quite difficult), most will want to camp or B&B along the way. Warning: after the first 20 miles, you’ll need a sturdy hybrid or mountain bike to take on this unpaved route. Oh, and the Great Allegheny Passage Trail makes it possible to continue the 330 traffic-free miles all the way to Pittsburgh, PA (serious bikers only, please).
Kiteboarding isn’t just for the tropics! It’s in our backyard… well, almost. Dewey Beach offers a great beginner site, and while the three-hour drive to Delaware might sound long, it’s worth it for a truly epic experience! East of Maui Surf Shop offers lessons for all levels. Consider yourself an advanced kiteboarder? Get in a quick board sesh 50 minutes east of DC at Beverly Triton Beach Park, where you’re sure to catch wind and waves on the Chesapeake Bay.
Between Virginia, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Maryland, there are several excellent ski resorts just a few hours from the District. However, if you’re looking for a full day of adventure, you’d best pack up the ski gear and drive the 4.5 hours to Snowshoe in West Virginia. The mountain resort offers 257 acres with 60 trails, 1,500 ft. drop, and five terrain parks.
Whether you’re looking for a challenging hike or an easy jaunt through the woods, there are several waterfalls to explore near the District. But, if you can pick just one, we’d have to recommend taking the Old Misery Trail to cross Maryland’s tallest waterfall, Cunningham Falls, off your bucket list. That’s 78 feet of breathtaking waterfall, just a few hours outside of a DC.
While the Potomac might be calm enough for sailing in Georgetown, just up river in Little Falls—a half-mile west of the Chain Bridge—you’ll find Class 2/3 whitewater. Potomac Paddlesports offers lessons for those who are new to the idea of “rolling”, but experienced kayakers are free to paddle as they please — put in at Lock 5 and take out at Lock 6. Take note: you’ll often see professional kayakers training on slalom course above Lock 5.
Skydive Orange is less than a two-hour drive from the city for all of you adrenaline junkies. While this isn’t the closest dropzone to DC, it is one of the largest on the East Coast and has a reputation as one of the nation’s most well-established skydiving centers. You’ll jump at 13,500 feet (higher than any other DC or Virginia skydiving center) and enjoy a scenic canopy ride overlooking beautiful historic homes, countryside, and the Blue Ridge Mountains — not to mention the many vineyards of Orange County (post-jump celebration, maybe?).
Looking for a weekend escape? Drive two hours to Shenandoah National Park and experience one of the mid-Atlantic region’s most popular hikes: Old Rag. The 9.1-mile hike might sound easy, but the rock scramble to the 3,291-foot summit is what makes it a worthwhile feat. Fitt Tip: Arrive early — the scenic views and fun workout draw a large crowd on the weekends!
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