Fun Spring Day Trips from DC for Families

All aboard at the B&O Railroad Museum! Photo courtesy of the museum
All aboard at the B&O Railroad Museum! Photo courtesy of the museum

With so many museums, playgrounds, indoor play spaces, and other kid-friendly attractions in and near DC, it’s easy to spend entire weekends in town without getting bored. But there is so much history, natural beauty, and fun to be found within a few hours' drive of the city. If your family needs a change of scenery, take one of these 10 day trips from DC this spring before the sweltering humidity of summer kicks in.

These spring day trips from DC include a variety of locations, from charming towns and historic sites to gorgeous gardens and family-friendly farms. For even more ideas for weekend getaways or day trips from DC, check out our family travel guide. Once you've picked your destination, all you'll need are some fun car games, plenty of snacks, and some road trip essentials to keep the car ride Are we there yet?-free.

Spring Day Trips from DC: Under an Hour's Drive


Take a family hike through the Webb Nature Sanctuary. Photo courtesy of novaparks.com

1. Clifton, VA

This city in Fairfax County may be small, but it's also brimming with charm and some fantastic restaurants. One of our favorite family-friendly wineries, Paradise Springs Winery, is nearby. There are also some beautiful places to hike and explore nature, including the Webb Nature Sanctuary and Hemlock Overlook Regional Park. Check out our list of the best things to do in Clifton, Virginia with kids.

2. Annapolis, MD

Maryland's capitol is a lovely destination full of history and fun on the water. If your kids are older, visit some of the many museums and historic homes in the city, such as the Museum of Historic Annapolis and the William Paca House. The US Naval Academy also has a museum open to the public. For little ones, the Chesapeake Children’s Museum is a fun place to learn about the environment and the bay. Families can also get out on the water and go kayaking, canoeing, sailing, or boating.

Related: 17 Spring Festivals near DC for Families

 
Take your pick of tulips at Burnside Farms. Photo courtesy of the farm

3. Burnside Farms — Nokesville, VA

Take a trip to the tulip fields of Holland just an hour away from DC at Burnside Farms. The farm's annual Festival of Spring is an explosion of tulips and daffodils, perfect for picking bouquets and taking family photos. Families can pack a picnic and kids can enjoy a wide range of fun farm activities, including a giant jumping pillow, wagon rides, and hundreds of authentic Dutch wooden shoes to stomp around in.

4. Kensington, MD

This Victorian-era town is best known for its downtown Antique Row, but it is also a wonderful place to spend the day with kids—especially in the spring. After you check out the antique shops, take a stroll to see the town's historic homes, visit some fun parks and playgrounds, and grab a bite at some delicious, kid-friendly restaurants. For more fun things to do, check out our guide to visiting Kensington, Maryland with kids.

Spring Day Trips from DC: One to Two Hours' Drive

 
The B&O Railroad Museum is just one of many kid-friendly locations in Baltimore. Photo courtesy of the museum

5. Baltimore, MD

They don’t call it Charm City for nothing—Baltimore is full of fun family activities. Visit the Inner Harbor and check out three different kid-friendly museums—the National Aquarium, the Maryland Science Center, and Port Discovery Children's Museum. There’s also the B&O Railroad Museum, the Maryland Zoo, and so much more. You can even cheer on the Baltimore Orioles. With so much to explore, Baltimore is one of those day trips from DC you'll definitely want to do more than once.

6. Ladew Topiary Gardens — Monkton, MD

This hidden treasure in Maryland is one of the best topiary gardens in the US with 22 acres of award-winning gardens, more than 100 topiaries, and a mile-long Nature Walk. Kids will love the native Butterfly House. The gardens are also located near Gunpowder Falls State Park, one of Maryland’s largest state parks with lots of areas for hiking, biking, and more.

7. The Eastern Shore of Maryland

The beautiful towns of St. Michaels, Easton, and Oxford, Maryland deserve a visit any time of year to enjoy boating, take in beautiful views of the Chesapeake Bay, visit historic sites, and enjoy some of the best seafood in the DC region. In the spring, families can check out the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum right on the harbor in St. Michael’s, then rent kayaks, sailboats, and canoes or take a boat tour.

Related: Spring Bucket List: The Best Things To Do in DC with Kids this Spring


Kids will love the Nature Nook at the Annemarie Sculpture Garden. Photo courtesy of the sculpture garden, Facebook

8. Solomons Island, MD

For a nearby getaway to the Chesapeake Bay, Solomons Island is a great place to visit for the day. The Annmarie Sculpture Garden is a beautiful nature preserve and museum that’s especially fun to visit in the spring and summer. Calvert Cliffs State Park is also nearby, where kids can find fossilized sharks’ teeth. After a day of outdoor exploration, relax at one of the many waterfront restaurants.

Spring Day Trips from DC: Over Two Hours' Drive

9. Charlottesville, VA

Charlottesville is a beautiful city full of history. Tour the University of Virginia and visit three presidential homes nearby: Monticello (home of Thomas Jefferson), Montpelier (home of James Madison), and Highland (home of James Monroe). Stroll along the Downtown Mall with lots of shops and family-friendly restaurants, and stop in at the Virginia Discovery Museum for hands-on exhibits young kids will enjoy. For parents, there are lots of kid-friendly wineries and breweries just outside Charlottesville.


Luray Caverns is a geologic wonder. Photo courtesy of Luray Caverns

10. Luray, VA

In the Shenandoah Valley, one must-see attraction for kids is the famous Luray Caverns, the largest caverns in the eastern US. In the spring and summer, be sure to check out the Garden Maze at Luray Caverns, the Mid-Atlantic’s largest hedge maze. A ticket to the caverns also includes admission to three nearby kid-friendly museums, the Car & Carriage Caravan Museum, Shenandoah Heritage Village, and Toy Town Junction.

Places featured in this article:


Annmarie Sculpture Garden and Arts Center
Flowers of Remembrance Day at Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington National Cemetery - 9:00 AM Pick
Strawberry Jubilee Fest
Great Country Farms - 9:00 AM Pick
FUTURES Field Day
Smithsonian Arts + Industries Building - 9:00 AM Pick
Maker Morning: Revelarte Celebration!
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden - 10:00 AM Pick
Neighborhood Guides
Activity Guides