Oh my goodness you guys. I feel like every day this past week has been Travel Tuesday on my Social Media and I’ve honestly been loving it! A lot of schools near me were on Spring Break last week, and everyone I know had their kids jetting off to sunny destinations and beach locals. I’ve loved seeing everyone’s pictures, but also been SO COMPLETELY JEALOUS.
Ugh. I want to go to the beach! Being an adult is the worst.
But seriously. Keep the pictures coming people… I’m living through you 😉
This Travel Tuesday we’re heading back to DC! Welllllll sort of. I’ll explain more about that in a bit. If you missed the first post in this travel series, click here!
Every time Trev and I start planning a vacation, we like to check out the Wyndham Vacation Resorts locations. Trev’s parents are a part of Club Wyndham, and they generously let us use points to stay at any of the resorts whenever we want. While we knew we wanted to go to DC, we were a little discouraged to find that the closest resort wasn’t in DC at all, but in a place called National Harbor, Maryland.
I was really skeptical about this. I told Trev I wasn’t sure if we should stay so far away. It seemed like we would be seeing more of the highway than the sights of DC. He looked into the resort and was hell bent on staying there. He kept saying “Babe. This place is going to be amazing. Trust me.” So I did. And we went ahead and booked the resort. And can I just say…
Best. Decision. Ever.
National Harbor, Maryland is situated on the banks of The Potomac river, about 10 miles south of the heart of Washington DC. (Right across the river from Old Town Alexandria.) This 350 acre resort area contains shopping, dining, hotels, and entertainment all within walking distance of each other. Is it commercialized? Yup. Is it shiny and new? Definitely. Is it a bit of a pain in the butt to get into DC? Sort of. But what National Harbor lacks in history and proximity to the city is more than a 1000 times made up for with the world class restaurants, arts and sunsets over The Potomac.
So why here? I can already see those gears turning. I can see you thinking… you just said it’s not close to DC. Why are you telling me to stay here?! Because. Your family will love it, and so will you. DC is amazing. But the busyness of city life just isn’t for everyone. At National Harbor, you’ll find a much more laid back approach to day to day life, and you’ll get more of that “vacation” feel that everyone searches for while they’re away from home. If you don’t want to explore city streets one day, you can rent a paddle board. If you don’t want to wait in a line down 3 city blocks in the 90 degree DC heat, you can wait while gazing out at The Potomac and listening to music coming from the stage just down the road. This place is family friendly, and a breath of fresh air after spending a day wandering the crowded streets of DC.
The Distance isn’t necessarily a Downside. Okay. I know… if I were reading this I’d still be thinking “but it’s too far away from DC.” Trust me. I was worried about this the entire time we planned our trip. But you know I would NEVER lie to you. The distance between National Harbor and DC isn’t necessarily a downside. Yes, you spend a little bit more time traveling between the two places. But it gives you a chance to decompress and rest your legs from a long day of exploring, before a long night of playing riverside. There are quite a few metro stations near National Harbor that make transit into the city a breeze. The hardest part is getting to these metro stations. If you’re traveling with a car, you’re set and have nothing to worry about. We would wake up in the morning, and drive 5 minutes to the nearest metro station. We’d hop on the metro, and be right where we wanted in a half hour or less. And that metro ride was honestly great. It gave us time to finish up our breakfast and wake up a bit before our day of exploring.
Do I have you convinced yet? If not… keep reading. I promise, but the end of this post, I’ll have you booking a room in Maryland.
Where to Stay. There are a bunch of hotels that would make great options. (Lookin’ at you Gaylord National!) You can find an entire list here. But I’m going to share a little bit about our hotel with you. The Wyndham Vacation Resort at National Harbor is HANDS DOWN the best one we’ve been to yet. You guys. This place was AMAZING. Think indoor pool, outdoor pool, outdoor children’s pool, bellhops, grocery delivery, and free wifi, this place has everything you need for a perfect stay in (or near) our nation’s capitol.
Where to Eat. Okay. There are so many restaurants in National Harbor that you would have to stay an entire month to eat dinner at each one. We tried so many new foods while we were there, and everything we had was delicious. Although, my crab cake from the Crab Cake Cafe had to have been my favorite! (Fresh crab in Maryland… duh.) If you’re traveling with kids, be sure to check out Cadillac Ranch, Granite City is amazing no matter what city you’re in, and the drinks at Public House are awesome. But our favorite tradition was getting ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s every night after dinner (it’s vacation… okay!) and walking the docks while the sunset behind the Capitol Wheel.
What to Do. National Harbor prides itself on not being a destination… but an experience. And there is no better way to experience National Harbor than with a ride on the Capital Wheel. Head to one of the many events that National Harbor is offering, (you can find an event calendar here!) catch a movie on the Plaza Screen, ride on the carousel, take in some art, and paddle board or kayak on The Potomac. And don’t forget to take set aside some time for some serious shopping.
And if that isn’t convincing enough… enjoy this picture of the sunset at National Harbor. You’re welcome.
So what do you think? Would you stay out of DC city limits to enjoy a little time on the river? I pinky promise… you won’t regret it! Learn more about National Harbor, and start planning your vacation here!
Have a happy Tuesday my loves!