City Break: DC Weekend Getaways

Tourists and locals alike know that the hectic pace of Washington, DC, can be exhausting at times. The good news is that with a central location burrowed between Virginia and Maryland, Washington has no shortage of convenient weekend getaways nearby to suit any travel personality. Within a few hours’ drive of DC, you can be sipping wine in Virginia’s horse country, hiking through Shenandoah National Park, sailing on the Chesapeake Bay, or basking on the beach in Delaware.

Whether you are in need of a rugged adventure, a soothing spa break or an art-filled escape, there’s bound to be a trip to match your mood in our favorite DC weekend escapes.  

Hike Old Rag and Sleep in a Yurt
Rose River Farm, yurt, Syria, Vriginia
Rose River Farm

Nature lovers can easily escape the concrete jungle with a short jaunt to Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park. One of the area’s most popular hikes, Old Rag is also the toughest, so attempt this 9-mile circuit with strenuous scrambles only if you are fit and a seasoned hiker. When you complete the 7- to 8-hour climb, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views. If Old Rag is too much, Whiteoak Canyon offers a loop hike that’s less than 5 miles. It travels along a rolling stream and is more appropriate for all skill levels.

Where to Stay: After a long day on your feet, treat yourself to rustic luxury with a night in a yurt at Rose River Farm. Beside breathtaking panoramic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, each of the 3 yurts has 17-foot ceilings, a full kitchen, 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. Round out the weekend with a fly-fishing lesson at the farm’s private pond, which is stocked with trout just for the cabins. 

  • 2130 Old Blue Ridge Turnpike
  • Syria, VA 22743 US
Take a Presidential Dip in Hot Springs, VA
Jefferson Pools, hot springs, Omni Homestead Resort, Virginia
Omni Hotels

When US presidents need a break from Washington, where do they go? Since the 18th century, 22 commanders in chief have vacationed at the Homestead, a luxury resort nestled in the Allegheny Mountains. Take a dip in the historic Jefferson Pools, the naturally heated mineral hot springs named after Thomas Jefferson, who vacationed here in 1818. Today, the resort lets you take it up a notch from Jefferson’s dip with more innovative spa treatments, including a river reflexology walk, as well as an aqua thermal suite with radiant-heat loungers and chilled cold cabins.

Where to Stay: You’ll want a full weekend at the Homestead to take advantage of everything this 45-acre property has to offer, including golf, archery, fly-fishing, horseback riding and falconry. And the elegantly decorated suites provide Southern-style touches of home with sunporches, fireplaces and cozy sitting nooks.  

  • 7696 Sam Snead Hwy
  • Hot Springs, VA 24445 US
Learn to Sail in St. Michaels, MD
Inn At Perry Cabin, sailboat, St. Michaels, Maryland
Belmond Management Limited

Leave the city hustle behind for a laid-back weekend on the water in St. Michaels, a tiny seaside town 50 miles southeast of Annapolis on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. With a maritime history that dates back to the mid-1600s and miles of idyllic coastline to explore nearby, there’s no better spot to learn how to sail. The Sailing Academy at the Inn at Perry Cabin offers a relaxed 2-day course for beginners. The Colonial hotel itself, located right on the banks of the Miles River, provides a convenient place to start your day on the water and end it with a gourmet dinner or a glass of wine by an outdoor fire.

Where to Stay: Long before the Inn at Perry Cabin made an appearance in the film Wedding Crashers, its waterfront site made history as one of the original English land grants in the early 1800s. Now, amenities such as spa treatments, a heated infinity pool and a waterfront seafood restaurant add just the right level of modern luxury to this rural retreat.

  • 308 Watkins Ln
  • St. Michaels, MD 21663 US
Sip and Swirl Your Way Through Wine Country
Barboursville Vineyards, wine country, Virginia
Barboursville Vineyards/Virginia Tourism Corporation

Just an hour from downtown DC, Middleburg, VA, beckons city dwellers in need of a more relaxed pace and, well, a glass or 2 of wine. With more than 250 wineries, Virginia is quickly getting national and international recognition in the wine industry. One of the largest wineries in the area, Chrysalis Vineyards, has a beautiful stone patio that’s nestled on a 400-acre estate with sweeping views of the surrounding Bull Run Mountains. There, you can enjoy tastings of wines made from Virginia’s native Norton grape. The less-crowded Aspen Dale Winery at the Barn offers a quieter retreat for tasting wines and mingling with farm animals.

Where to Stay: Set on 340 acres in Middleburg’s rolling countryside and featuring sweeping views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Salamander Resort & Spa opened in 2013. It has residential-like luxury rooms and suites, a state-of-the-art spa, a cooking studio that offers classes and wine dinners, and a full-service equestrian center.

  • 500 N Pendleton St
  • Middleburg, VA 20117 US
Sunbathe and Feast in Rehoboth Beach, DE
Rehoboth Beach, shoreline, Delaware
Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post/Getty Images

Rehoboth is a favorite beach getaway for Washingtonians looking to soak up some sun and enjoy gourmet dining and boutique shopping. This town embraces beachgoers of all types, from families to LGBT travelers. A trip to Rehoboth Beach wouldn’t be complete without sampling time-honored and kid-pleasing boardwalk eats such as Thrasher’s French Fries and Grotto Pizza. There are also plenty of finer dining establishments that will impress even DC-dwelling foodies, including a(Muse) and the Back Porch Café. And since there’s no sales tax in Delaware, Rehoboth Beach is a shopper’s paradise, with independent, high-end shops downtown and the outlet malls just a few miles away.

Where to Stay: You can’t miss this pink, Victorian-style, beachfront hotel right on the boardwalk. With antique furnishings, a traditional afternoon tea service, a heated indoor/outdoor pool, and a private, adults-only sundeck and spa, this luxe beach house mixes old and new with charming results. 

  • 2 Olive Ave and the Boardwalk
  • Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971 US
Break for Art in Baltimore
American Visionary Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland
Jack Hoffberger

Only an hour’s drive from Washington, DC, Baltimore is a convenient getaway for city culture vultures. From 19th-century French impressionist paintings at the Walters Art Museum to a 55-foot-tall, wind-powered sculpture at the American Visionary Art Museum, there’s a variety of eclectic pieces to see in Charm City. You can also channel your macabre side by visiting the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum, one of the best-preserved homes of the famous wordsmith and Baltimore resident. And after a day of museum-hopping, take in another Baltimore art form at the Brewer’s Art, a brewpub that’s known for its homemade, Belgian-style brew and hip vintage style.

Where to Stay: In the heart of downtown, Kimpton’s Hotel Monaco oozes with style and glamour in a 1906 Beaux Arts building that recalls its Gilded Age beginnings. Once the B&O Railroad headquarters, this boutique hotel is brimming with history and quirk, just like Charm City. 

  • 2 N Charles St
  • Baltimore, MD 21201 US
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