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.
2. 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.
3. Great Falls, Virginia: The Virginia side of Great Falls is one of the best outdoor rock climbing locations in the DC area.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
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