Located along the scenic banks of the Potomac River, National Harbor offers visitors a respite from city crowds and bustle, with all the activities and options of a metropolitan getaway. Just a short drive from DC proper, including from all three local airports and AMTRAK, this waterfront destination offers a diverse selection of dining, hotel, entertainment and outdoor options. Here’s a sample itinerary for a spring day at the Harbor:
- 8:45AM: Start your day with a European continental breakfast at AC Kitchen, where visitors can enjoy a selection of croissants, charcuterie, fruits, cereals and hot dishes before embarking on their day.
- 10AM: Bask in the spring weather on a walk in Piscataway National Park. Nature lovers can enjoy unique vistas of the Potomac river and biodiversity unique to the Tidal Basin. Explore the park’s easily accessible trails on your own, or return later in the day to experience local flora and fauna through a seasonal workshop or guided hike led by The Accokeek Foundation. You can also immerse in cultural history at National Colonial Farm. See here for a full schedule of events, updated regularly.
- 12PM: After a morning outdoors, you’ll be hungry for a bite to eat. Look no further than National Harbor’s Waterfront District! With 40 restaurants to choose from, even kids with the pickiest of appetites will be spoiled for choice. Grab a pizza or pasta at Fiorella, or enjoy popular fusion delicacies at Grace’s Mandarin. For a lively dining experience that kids will love, Bobby McKey’s Dueling Piano Bar hosts Kid’s Day and Teens with Beats events on a monthly basis. For $22 per person, visitors can request their favorite songs be performed by the live band, enjoy a buffet, and choose from a selection of non-alcoholic drinks.
- 2PM: With full bellies, enjoy a leisurely stroll along the riverbank. With some of the earliest cherry blossom blooms in the region, spring break is the perfect time to see the Harbor awash in pink. You can enjoy beautiful views of the Harbor’s 200 blossoming Okame cherry trees by foot or by water taxi.
- 2:45PM: One of National Harbor’s classic attractions is the Capital Wheel. Visitors ride this observation wheel to enjoy stunning views of the Potomac and DC’s monuments from 180-feet in the air. Afterwards, kids (and parents too!) can enjoy unlimited rides on the Harbor’s 36-foot Carousel, which features horses, pandas, tigers and other beloved animals. Combination tickets for both attractions are available to families for $15.50 per child.
- 4:15PM: Seeking some retail therapy? Just a few minutes by car from the main waterfront is Tanger Outlets. Shop til’ you drop and take advantage of the discounted prices and seasonal deals.
- 6PM: Enjoy the best sunset in the Northeast! Lay out a picnic blanket on the lawn and enjoy the view with loved ones, or experience golden hour from the Capital Wheel. Adults can also enjoy outdoor cocktails at Flight Deck, which offers breathtaking views across the water, ideal for a sunset drink. If you happen to be in town on April 5th, National Harbor will host a water lantern release right at sunset as part of the DC Water Lantern Festival. The glimmer of dozens of illuminated lanterns on the Potomac at sunset will offer an unforgettable visual experience (not to mention a great photo op).
- 7:30PM: Enjoy a hearty dinner at one of the Harbor’s restaurants. For a fine dining experience, you may want to consider Bond 45, Ginger, or Old Hickory Steakhouse. For more casual comfort foods, try Osteria Costa, Granite City Food & Brewery, or SUCCOTASH.
- 9:45PM: Feel like the night’s still young? Try your luck at one of the MGM Casino’s 46 poker tables or choose between 3,100 slot machines on the largest gaming floor in the region. Head over to the Gaylord National, where you can sip a finely crafted cocktail with views of the hotel’s stunning glass atrium at the Belvedere Lobby Bar or dance the night away at Pose Rooftop Lounge.
Home to hotels and activities catering to all budgets and interests, visitors are free to craft the spring break they want, enjoying springtime at its finest with all the convenience and creature comforts of a big city break, without the big city hassle.
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How to Plan a Fun Camping Trip the Whole Family Will Love
As the spring and summer months draw closer, it is understandable that families are wanting to begin planning their yearly camping trips. Camping can be a great way to bond with your family and remove yourself from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. However, for those new to taking their family camping, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.
Although sitting by an open campfire sounds relaxing, it’s certainly not going to keep the kids entertained for very long. Thus, it is important to plan out some activities before making the trip. Make sure to choose activities that the whole family can have fun with. Some of these may include an easy hike, swimming, or even ATV riding if there is a company around that offers that type of service. An ATV is fun for recreational trail use, and it’s something the whole family will enjoy.
If you’re on your own, then a couple of cans of beans and some ground meat can do the trick. However, feeding yourself and your entire family are two different challenges. So, before heading out to your camping site, make sure that you have planned out what foods are going to be prepared during the time there. S’mores can be a fun snack for the children to have at night, but it’s certainly not a substitute for real food. You may consider taking items that are small but can be cooked in large quantities, such as eggs, rice, or cans of food. You can still throw in a couple of junk food treats, such as chips and dip.
Research Campground Amenities
Although you might like roughing it in the woods, your family might not. Thus, it is important to research your campground site’s amenities before settling on a location. If your children are 8 and under, they might not want to handle their business deep in the woods. Seek campsites with clean and safe bathroom areas. Other amenities to look out for are shower areas, swimming pools with lifeguards, and on-site security.
Taking your family on a camping trip can be one of the best ways to build memories with them. However, there are a few things you should consider before making the long trip down to the woods. Utilize the tips listed above in order to make sure that your trip goes off without a hitch.
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