Washington DC is known as our nation’s capital, rich in historic locations and incredible museums. But there are plenty in Virginia alone within an hour to three-hour drive.
It’s easy to pick up your rental car in the city or at the airport and return to your hotel in the evening for these day trips from Washington DC. Highways 95 and 66 make the drive easy.
Distance from Washington DC: 1.5 hours
Head north to the quaint town of Winchester, best known as the former home of country music legend Patsy Cline. Her white house is now a museum of her life.
It’s also one of many historic homes in town, including Abram’s Delight Museum, a stone home from 1754. The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley interprets this area with art galleries, Japanese-inspired gardens, and antiques. There are also hikes nearby.
Winchester has dozens of restaurants covering every type of food. NIKs (or Neighborhood Italian Kitchen) serves casual Italian fare like pizza and sandwiches. Sweet Nola’s offers laid-back Louisianian dishes like gumbo.
Distance from Washington DC: 2 hours
Named for a town of the same name in France, Luray is the quintessential mountain town, with a large historic district with buildings dating back to the 1700s.
Start at the famous Luray Caverns, which were discovered in 1878. There are also three associated museums. Then head to Shenandoah National Park’s Skyline Drive, one of the country’s most scenic drives that connects to the Blue Ridge Parkway. You can also enjoy day hikes along the Appalachian Trail at Thornton Gap.
Dine out at one of Luray’s restaurants. The Speakeasy at The Mimslyn Inn has classic soups, sandwiches, and dinner entrees along with a full wine list. Moonshadows is set in an old house with patio dining and a globally inspired menu.
Distance from Washington DC: ~ 2 hours
The capital city of Richmond is a mix of old and new, with antebellum homes and modern art museums. Start your visit in the Museum District, which is home to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and Virginia Museum of History & Culture.
The Edgar Allan Poe Museum discusses the author’s life in the city while the Virginia Holocaust Museum educates visitors on a tragic time in world history. The Valentine and Maymont are two historic homes-turned-museums.
Dine out in Richmond’s incredible restaurant scene, including at award-winners like L’opossum. Perly’s offers Jewish deli dishes like bagels and lox alongside craft cocktails. The Roosevelt in Church Hill is known for its drink menu.
- Richmond Craft Brewery and Distillery Tour
- Richmond’s Street Art Segway Tour
- Richmond: Arts District 3 Hours Guided Walking Food Tour
- Sightseeing Tour of Richmond
- Mountain Bike Adventures in RVA
- Hollywood Cemetery Electric Car Tour in Richmond
- Richmond’s Revolutionary Spirit History Tour
- Richmond Rails and Sails History Tour
- Richmond Uncivil Wards History Tour
Distance from Washington DC: 2.5 hours
Williamsburg, Virginia is a popular getaway for history buffs who want to learn more about the early days of America. Colonial Williamsburg is one of the biggest draws, along with the family-friendly theme park Busch Gardens.
But there’s also plenty for grownups to see. Williamsburg Winery is a stunning vineyard with an onsite restaurant and inn. The Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum are incredible looks into the founding of Virginia.
Chow down with waterfront views and craft beer at Water Street Grille in Yorktown. In Williamsburg, Lokal Cafe serves vegetarian fare while Amber Ox Public House has an onsite brewery.
- Colonial Williamsburg Admission
- Jamestown Settlement and American Revolution Museum 7 Day Pass
- Williamsburg Walking Food Tour
- Busch Gardens Williamsburg Admission Ticket
- Williamsburg Craft Alcohol Tasting Tour
- Jamestown Island Bike & Winery Tour
- The Original Ghosts of Williamsburg Tour
- Colonial Williamsburg Overnight Tour from DC
Distance from Washington DC: ~ 3 hours
Hampton and its surrounding communities offer coastal getaways from Washington DC. Learn about this region’s aeronautical history at the Virginia Air and Space Museum and the legacy of piracy at the Hampton History Museum.
Fort Monroe was a Civil War fort-turned-historic site where the first slave ship arrived in Virginia. The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center has over 800,000 gallons of displays, including fresh and saltwater species.
Enjoy the plentiful fresh seafood in this area. The Deadrise has harbor views while The Vanguard was previously an armory and music venue, now a restaurant and distillery. Doumar’s Cones & Barbecue is a roadside barbecue restaurant dating back to 1904.
- Skip the Line: Virginia Living Museum Admission Ticket
- Norfolk: Passport to Fun City Sightseeing & Discount Card
- Best of Norfolk Guided E-Bike Tour
- District Art Tour and Craft Beer Tasting in Virginia Beach
- Miss Hampton II Boat Tour
- Wetland Zip Tour
- Small-Group Dolphin Kayak Eco-Tour
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