Crossing the Beltway: D.C’s Top 10 Day Trips

Get outta town! These destinations range from a 30-minute drive to a three-hour trek.

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Assateague Island National Seashore, Md. -- 3.5 hours/158 miles
Wild ponies run free, and you can camp right on the beach, bonfires and all. Only downside? Mosquitos can be a bit ravenous here, but they let up as the summer goes on. Honest.
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Harper's Ferry, W.V. -- 90 minutes/90 miles
The well-preserved town is great for a history lesson, and nearby hiking paths meet up with the Appalachian Trail for amazing scenery. Investigate the historic cemetery if you have time.
Annapolis, Md. -- 40 minutes/58 miles
Along with a quaint downtown, Annapolis is home to a massive boating culture -- take a day cruise, visit the Maritime Museum or just explore the shops.
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Wildwood and Cape May, N.J. -- 3.5 hours/140 miles
If you're into serious boardwalk rides, you'll find them in Wildwood -- along with great waterparks and the best-ever Douglass Fudge. The neighboring Victorian town of Cape May hosts some serious real-estate eye candy.
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Sandy Point State Park, Annapolis, Md. -- 45 minutes/36 miles
It's an incredibly short trip to swim in the bay. The view of the bridge is gorgeous, and what's even better is knowing you don't have to drive over it to reach this destination.
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Busch Gardens and Colonial Williamsburg, Va. -- 3 hours/160 miles
Busch Gardens is home to five intense roller coasters, and it's won awards for being the country's most beautiful theme park. PLus, there are at least two Sonic drive-throughs en route. Just sayin'.
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Rehoboth and Bethany Beaches, Del. -- 3 hours/120 miles
It's the quickest way to get to the ocean from D.C., and although both towns are taken over by the party set by night, days are just right for sun and sand (and some occasional sausage and peppers.)
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Ocean City, Md. -- 3 hours/145 miles
Oh, come on... who can argue with the beach, boardwalk and rides? Sure, it's lacking the same tacky charm as the Jersey shore, but it's a lot closer -- and anyway, who wants to pack all that hair gel?
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White Oak Canyon and Cedar Run Trails, Etlan, Va. -- 2 hours/90 miles
We understand that a five-hour hike in summer weather isn't for everyone. But this loop has plenty of shade -- and plenty of waterfalls to cool off under. It's like a water park from nature.
Shenandoah River, Luray, Va. -- 3 hours/140 miles
Go rafting, tubing or kayaking along the wonderfully shady Shenandoah. Opt for flatwater or beginner whitewater -- either way, you'll have a fairly relaxing trip.
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