Spring is the perfect time for outdoor activities—and Washington has a lot to offer. Rent a bike and ride to Mount Vernon, take a walk along the Potamac, ride a horse in Rock Creek Park, or rent a kayak and paddle the river. Here’s our guide to some great outdoor activities in Washington.
RIDE TO MOUNT VERNON
Rent a bike at Big Wheel Bikes in Old Town Alexandria and ride the Mount Vernon Trail to George Washington’s estate at Mount Vernon. The trail follows the Potomac’s Virginia shoreline, so there are also plenty of sights and pretty views along the way.
Big Wheel Bikes
2 Prince St., Alexandria
Monday through Friday 11 AM to 7 PM, Saturday 10 to 6, Sun 11 to 6
Bike rentals $35 a day
BIKE TO GRAVELLY POINT
Washington Sailing Marina, where you can rent bikes as well as boats, is located on the Potomac next to the Mount Vernon Trail. Take a leisurely bike ride from here to Old Town, or go in the opposite direction and stop by Gravelly Point for a picnic to watch planes coming into and going from Reagan National Airport.
Washington Sailing Marina
1 Marina Dr., Alexandria (off George Washington Memorial Pkwy.)
Bike rentals from $16.50 a day
KAYAKING ON THE POTOMAC
Take a peaceful rowing trip and enjoy the panoramic view of DC from the river. There are several locations in the Washington area for renting kayaks and canoes as well as bikes. Depending on where you want your adventure to start, you can find the right location.
Fletcher’s Boat House
Fletcher’s Boat House is located on the Potomac River at the C&O Canal National Historical Park.
4940 Canal Rd., NW
7 AM to 7 PM
Kayak and canoe rentals $35 a day; bicycle rentals $25 a day
Jack’s Boat House
This boat-rental facility, located beneath Key Bridge, rents kayaks, canoes, and rowboats for boating on the Potamac. Go south on the river for a view over the monuments, or go north for a quieter trip.
3500 K St., NW
Rentals $35 a day
Thompson Boat Center
At the Thompson Boat Center you can rent kayaks, canoes, and bikes.
2900 Virginia Ave., NW
8 AM to 6 PM
Kayak rentals $24 to $30 a day; canoes $22 a day; bikes $15 to $25 a day
A DAY IN THE PARK
Rock Creek Park
Leave the city behind and spend a day in Rock Creek Park, which offers a range of outdoor activities. Besides bike rentals and hiking paths, you can go horseback riding, visit the Nature Center, or take advantage of picnic areas. For more information about activities, go to nps.gov/rocr.
Rock Creek Park visitor information: 202-895-6070
For horseback riding, go to rockcreekhorsecenter.com
Trail horseback rides $35 for one hour
ART INDOORS AND OUT
Want to visit a museum but the weather is lovely? Stay outside and go to the National Gallery of Art’s Sculpture Garden. It’s located on the Mall, so if it starts to rain, there are several Smithsonian museums to choose from.
National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden
Constitution Ave. between Seventh and Ninth sts., NW
Monday through Saturday 10 to 5
Sunday 11 to 6
BRUNCH ON THE POTOMAC
Relax with a two-hour brunch cruise on the Potomac. Enjoy live entertainment and experience the monuments of DC from a floating dining room.
Odyssey Washington DC
For reservations, call 866-306-2469
Saturdays and Sundays
From $58.90 a person