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5 Weekend Getaways From DC With Kids | Family Vacation Critic

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All Ages

5 Weekend Getaways From DC With Kids

See recent posts by Amanda Geronikos

Just because the kids are back in school doesn”t mean you can”t take a mini-vacation, especially if you live in and around Washington D.C. Of course, Baltimore, Annapolis, Philadelphia, Williamsburg, and even New York City are popular choices for weekend getaways from the area, but these weekend getaways from DC – hand-picked by our staff – are equally worthy of a short trip (or longer), especially if you plan to escape the city scene with kids.

Written by Amanda Geronikos


Eastern Shore, Va.

Many people head to the Eastern Shore in Virginia, though the Eastern Shore in Maryland is equally fun for families. The area encompasses several towns, including popular Ocean City, but our favorite areas include small towns and wild ponies.

Must-See Attractions and Activities
Chesapeake City
Visit Charlestown Historic District in Chesapeake City to see beautiful, historic homes, along with the Decoy Museum; the Eastern Shore is famous for decoy carving.

Assateague Island National Seashore
This is your chance to see the famous wild ponies who frequent the area"s quiet beaches, along with Assateague Light at Assateague Island National Seashore.

Harriet Tubman led slaves to freedom along the Underground Railroad, and you can visit her museum, the Harriet Tubman Museum in Cambridge, along with the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge.

Kid-Approved Restaurants
Market Street Inn
This restaurant, located in Salisbury, has a nice outdoor deck with a prime view of the river, plus excellent pub food and seafood. Try the French onion soup!

Dough Roller
This pizza joint has four locations in Ocean City, Maryland, and no matter which one you visit, you"ll be rewarded with delicious pies and a separate kids" menu.

Assateague Crab House
Often overlooked, this restaurant serves delicious seafood (try the crab cakes) and a kids" menu, and take-out service is also available.

Hotel Picks
Budget: Sleep Inn Grasonville
Moderate: The Tidewater Inn
Luxury: Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay

Bucks County, Pa.

Depending on traffic, a trip to Bucks County will take you three to four hours, making it the perfect weekend getaway from DC with kids. Once there, you"ll be rewarded with quintessential country views so beautiful, they"re worthy of a visit alone. The area also offers a perfect mix of storied history with modern culture in the form of an old-time railroad, one-of-a-kind amusement park and more.

Must-See Attractions and Activities
Ringing Rocks County Park
Bring a hammer and hit the rocks at Ringing Rocks County Park; true to the name, the rocks actually ring when struck. Afterward, go for a hike and enjoy a picnic lunch.

Sesame Place
On Sesame Street, you"ll find the show"s beloved characters, plus a waterpark, array of rides, eats, parades, shows and Cookie"s Monster Land at Sesame Place.

Pennsbury Manor
At the beautifully reconstructed estate of William Penn, Pennsbury Manor, you"ll step back in time via tours and demonstrations led by period-clad guides. Visit at the holidays for special events.

Kid-Approved Restaurants
Buttonwood Grill
Situated in Peddler"s Village, this restaurant offers the best burger in Bucks County, plus a great outdoor seating area (along with plenty of indoor seating).

Langhorne Coffee House
This corner café serves breakfast and lunch in an eclectically casual setting. Options include Bedrock Cakes (Fruity Pebbles on French toast)… and that"s not even part of the kids' menu.

Dilly"s Corner
Bring cash and don"t be surprised to wait in line for the no-frills food at Dilly"s Corner; think burgers, hot dogs, shakes and fries.

Hotel Picks
Budget: Days Inn Horsham/Philadelphia
Moderate: SpringHill Suites Philadelphia Langhorne
Luxury: Golden Plough Inn at Peddler"s Village

Shenandoah Valley, Va.

Make this your next family weekend getaway from DC -- won"t even take you an hour and a half to get out of the city and into Shenandoah Valley, where natural wonders await families on the move, and are particularly pretty during the fall.

Must-See Attractions and Activities
Luray Caverns
Explore ancient caverns via guided tours before heading to Toy Town Junction, The Garden Maze, Rope Adventure Park and Luray Valley Museum for more fun at Luray Caverns.

Presidential Homes
Visit Monticello, the former home of President Thomas Jefferson; Montpelier, the former home of James Madison; and Ash-Lawn Highland, where James Monroe once lived.

Shenandoah National Park
Hike (by day or night; Twilight Tours are available), horseback ride or simply coast along Skyline Drive to see beautiful waterfalls, views and sunsets at Shenandoah National Park.

Kid-Approved Restaurants
Gathering Grounds
Just over a mile from Luray Caverns, this café serves delicious soups, salads and sandwiches. Breakfast, pastries and an espresso bar are also on tap.

Blue Mountain Brewery
Parents will love the beer (Sour Cherry Lager, anyone?) and pub food, while kids will enjoy a menu of their own, complete with macaroni and cheese and pizza.

Bodo"s Bagel Bakery Shop
If you"re going to Charlottesville, you better be going to Bodo"s. The bagels -- made from scratch -- are always fresh. Breakfast and lunch sandwiches are served, too.

Hotel Picks
Budget: Hillside Motel
Moderate: Skyland Resort
Luxury: Omni Charlottesville Hotel Oct. 11, 2014: Oktoberfest at Bryce Resort
Oct. 11-12, 2014: Apple-Grape Harvest Festival

Lancaster, Pa.

Just over two hours from Washington, D.C., Lancaster offers city-dwellers a chance to experience the country -- Pennsylvania Dutch Country, that is. Families can witness just how simply locals live, and will especially enjoy their home cooking.

Must-See Attractions and Activities
The Amish Village
Complete with a working farm, schoolhouse, general store and blacksmith shop, this is a replica of the real deal. Tours to real Amish homes are available, too at The Amish Village.

Cherry Crest Adventure Farm
Jump on a giant pillow, visit a petting zoo, ride down a sliding board, hop on a wagon ride and -- best of all -- navigate an adventure maze by day or night at Cherry Crest Adventure Farm.

Dutch Wonderland
Dutch Wonderland caters to the youngest set with tame rides, fun entertainment and holiday events through December.

Kid-Approved Restaurants
Plain and Fancy Farm
Sit with other families to enjoy endless portions of home-cooked food. Drinks, appetizers, entrees and desserts are included in one price per person.

DJ"s Taste of the 50s
This is a classic, 50s-style diner with burgers, fries and shakes on offer. An outdoor seating area and friendly, costumed servers add to the fun.

Loxley"s Restaurant
Want to eat in a treehouse? You can at Loxley"s, which offers flatbreads, sandwiches, salads, burgers and more, along with a loyalty program just for kids.

Hotel Picks
Budget: Red Caboose Motel
Moderate: Fulton Steamboat Inn
Luxury: BEST WESTERN PREMIER Eden Resort & Suites

Gettysburg, Pa.

Less than two hours from Washington, D.C. and with just as much history on hand, Gettysburg is perhaps the most obvious choice for a weekend getaway from DC with kids. Plus, the region in which it"s located -- Adams County -- offers a plethora of orchards, farms and vineyards, where you can pick your own fruit (and, this one"s for you parents: taste wine).

Must-See Attractions and Activities
Land of Little Horses Farm Park
Take a hayride, watch a show (look for the pig who plays the piano), and play with and care for (bathe and brush) the miniature horses who"ve made the Land of Little Horses Farm Park famous.

Mister Ed"s Elephant Museum
Just outside of Gettysburg is Mister Ed's Elephant Museum. This whimsical spot is one part museum (a small collection of all things elephant), another part candy store (try the watermelon fudge).

Ghosts of Gettysburg
The kid-friendly Ghosts of Gettysburg tour, led by costumed guides, takes visitors near five or six haunted destinations (you won"t actually go inside any of the locations). Ghost sightings (and photographic evidence) have been reported on this haunted tour, one of the best we've experienced in our travels.

Kid-Approved Restaurants
Mr. G"s Ice Cream
Not only is Mr. G"s notoriously haunted, it also offers the best ice cream in Gettysburg (expect to wait in line). Plus, the prices are right.

Hickory Bridge Farm
There"s no menu at Hickory Bridge Farm; instead, sit down to enjoy a hearty meal, family-style, at one price per person.

Pike Restaurant & Lounge
There"s nothing fancy about it, but this restaurant is practically located on the battlefields, and offers easy-to-please entrees, such as burgers and wings.

Hotel Picks
Budget: Quality Inn at General Lee"s Headquarters
Moderate: The Lodges at Gettysburg
Luxury: The Gettysburg Hotel

Our team of parents and travel experts chooses each product and service we recommend. Anything you purchase through links on our site may earn us a commission.

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