Last-minute Getaways North, South, East and West of DC

WASHINGTON If you find you’re in need of one — or two — last-minute getaways before summer ends, D.C.-based travel writer and photographer Jess Moss has a few recommendations.

From a quiet beach town to an exciting city experience, you can access it all within a few hours from Washington, D.C.

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\nFind food, beer, nature and culture in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley\u00a0\n

One way to escape D.C.\u2019s suffocating summer humidity? Head west to take in some fresh air and scenic views in Virginia\u2019s Shenandoah Valley. \n

\u201cI think a lot of people in Washington are familiar with Skyline Drive, maybe Luray Caverns, but there are a ton of great places to explore in that area,\u201d said travel writer and photographer Jess Moss.\n

Beer lovers can taste their way through the Virginia Valley on the Shenandoah Beerworks Trail, which connects 13 breweries from Harrisonburg to Glasgow, while those seeking an outdoor adventure will find numerous hiking trails and campsites. \n

One town Moss highly recommends is Staunton, Virginia, which was named one of America\u2019s favorite mountain towns by Travel & Leisure. The downtown area is rich with restaurants, plus there are plenty of historical sites to visit and cultural experiences to check out, including the American Shakespeare Center\u2019s Blackfriars Playhouse. \n

Additionally, Moss says throughout August, Shenandoah National Park is celebrating its second annual Night Sky Festival with constellation tours and presentations from astronomy experts.\u00a0(AP\/Robert F. Bukaty)\n"},{"type":"photo","media":"


\nDiscover a charming beach town away from the crowds in Cape Charles, Virginia\u00a0\n

Delaware, Maryland and Virginia\u2019s beach towns are buzzing this time of year, but if you\u2019re in search of a more quiet aquatic getaway, Moss suggests Cape Charles on Virginia\u2019s Eastern Shore. \n

The destination is about three and a half hours from D.C., but well worth the drive once you\u2019re there. \n

\u201cIt\u2019s this really small, charming little town, there\u2019s some great Victorian architecture \u2026 but it really doesn\u2019t see the massive influx of crowds, so it\u2019s a great way to go and get some quiet time,\u201d Moss said. \n

Visitors can hang out on the beach at Kiptopeke State Park, or go biking, kayaking or paddleboarding. The Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center is also in town, which is a big draw for bird-watchers. \n

\u201cIt\u2019s really an unexpected place for people to go and spend some time on the bay or the shore and not be inundated with crazy beach crowds,\u201d Moss added. (Thinkstock)\u00a0\n"},{"type":"photo","media":"


\nTake in history and views along Maryland’s scenic Harriet Tubman Byway\u00a0\n

A new addition to Maryland\u2019s Eastern Shore is the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center, part of the 125-mile Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway. \n

The visitor center houses multimedia exhibits on Tubman\u2019s life, and the Byway highlights 36 sites related to Tubman and the Underground Railroad. \n

Along the self-guided route, visitors can stop at historic landmarks such as Tubman\u2019s childhood home and the site of her most daring rescues. There are also opportunities along the way to hike, bike, shop and dine. Moss suggests a stop at the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. (AP\/Patrick Semansky)\n"},{"type":"photo","media":"


\nHave an “of the moment” city adventure in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania\u00a0\n

For a city experience, Moss says, hands down, go to Pittsburgh.\n

“People looking for a city break maybe assume Philly or New York, and while those are wonderful and there\u2019s plenty to do there, I think Pittsburgh is perfect for a weekend escape,” she said.\u00a0\n

\u201cIt\u2019s having a moment right now. There\u2019s an amazing food scene there; it\u2019s a really great city with a great culture.”\u00a0\n

Since it’s still summer, Moss says make sure you get to a baseball game at PNC Park. There are plenty of historic sites to visit, as well as old warehouses that have been repurposed into new businesses.\n

“It\u2019s small, it\u2019s manageable, it\u2019s about four hours driving time from D.C., and it\u2019s a really pretty drive,” Moss added.\u00a0(Getty Images)\n"},{"type":"ad","media":"

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