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Affordable Day Trips To Take In The DMV

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at George Mason University chapter.

Summer is literally right around the corner, and as collegiettes in the DMV, we still have, and will hopefully continue to have some spring weather (meaning cooler, without as many bugs) for our first few days/weeks (fingers crossed!) of summer vacation. Whether it is to treat yourself to a day out, really take in the fresh scent of nature or to have one last hoorah with your fellow collegiettes before leaving, check out this list of very affordable day trips in the DMV you can go on.

Town Centers

Town centers make for great day trips because they combine food, shopping, stunning architecture and scenery, all into one. While we are all, as Mason students, used to local ones like the Mosaic District, there are plenty of other town centers in NoVa and in Maryland. Reston Town Center, The Little City Falls Church and Virginia Square in Arlington are close by. Maryland offers Rio, Pike and Rose, Bethesda Row and Rockville Town Center. These places especially are great because there is a big emphasis on aesthetic. This will make eating at one of the restaurants or the walk to their movie theaters more enjoyable. And of course, all trips need some cute pictures to remember by. While these are shopping centers, buying things are really optional. Most of these places have outdoor seating or lawns where you can enjoy some homemade food or have a nice picnic with friends. Reston Town Center also often has musical performances to end off the night. Just be prepared to walk and enjoy the weather, have fun scouting the shops and come with food or money to splurge on nice restaurants.

Image via Federal Realty

DC… of course

There are many things that DC has to offer and we are so grateful for that. In fact, there are so many things that you can split all of it up into a few day trips. The museums will definitely take you one whole day. If you want to spend a little extra on food, the National Gallery of Art has its stunning Garden Cafe that will let you experience the art of the museum setting as well as engulf yourself into a lusciously green, Hellenic dining experience. Walking between the museums is really lovely and will allow you to see the beauty DC has and if you want to cover all of DC in one day, the National Mall is all in walking distance as well. If you want to tackle the monuments another day, there are more than enough to fill up your day. The White House, Capital Building, Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials are infamous, but the World War memorials, as well as the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. statue, are truly hidden gems. They have lovely fountains by them, and you can really walk and interact with the memorial, setting them apart from other memorials. There are also a bunch of food trucks in DC so you can get your fill inexpensively and quickly. Make sure to stay until the night so on the drive back you can really see the beautiful skyline and Tidal Basin.

Image via The Odyssey Online


While this could be in the DC or Town Center portions of the article, Georgetown really offers something more. It’s way bigger than a town center, given that you could walk for a few hours and still be surrounded by stores and restaurants. It also includes older buildings, but not really memorials or monuments. Georgetown has a few older, iconic buildings and houses that you should make sure to see and take pictures of, like the PNC Bank. If you just want a day out, the bustling city life, variety of specialized shops, from Georgetown Cupcakes to cute cafes to clothing stores like H&M, are sure to take up your time and give you a lot to do.

Image via The Crazy Tourist

Annapolis and the National Harbor

While these are a little farther away, they are so worth it and really offer a lot of new and different things to do. Being right by the water, you can really take it all in and enjoy views you might not have before. The National Harbor allows for aquatic shows, rides on their Ferris Wheel, visiting the MGM, enjoying their spectacular sunset, dining at countless places and just strolling through the lovely area. I can’t capture the whole experience here, but their website comes really close. Annapolis is a little more lowkey but still stunning and by the water nonetheless. Picnics, restaurants, strolling and taking pictures with historical buildings are a great idea with friends and ending off the day with a waterfront sunset sounds like a great idea.

Image via Washington.org


Lastly, vineyards would make for a perfect day trip with your gal pals. The drive out would be a mini road trip with great people, the vineyard itself would provide breathtaking scenery and wine tasting would add to the bonding. It’s also a perfect excuse to pack a cozy picnic and dress up. If you can, make sure to stay until the sunset and enjoy it surrounded by nature. Try to choose a cooler day so you can bear staying outdoors all day. There are a bunch of ones in NoVa listed here, where you can check out the prices and location, look at their pictures to make sure the aesthetic matches yours and look for some that are near other picture perfect places as well, to make sure you have your day packed. If you’re down to traveling a little more, to get a little more scenery, check out the best vineyards in Virginia here. While these typically need tickets, they are between 10 to 15 dollars and offer discounts for groups.

Image via Pexels

There you have it: quick, easy, cheap, and stunning day trips around the DMV to last you all summer. These are all outdoor because what better way to enjoy summer than being completely surrounded by it? Make a date with yourself, a loved one or your girl gang with no sweat, collegiettes!

Annie Oaks

George Mason University '22

A legal studies major with a knack for writing and fashion.
George Mason Contributor (GMU)

George Mason University '50

Want to get involved, or have a story idea we should write about? Email us! hc.georgemason@hercampus.com