National Parks of the Capital Region

Explore these 10 U.S. National Parks and National Scenic Trails while visiting the Capital Region of Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia.

Waterfall in Virginia
One of the many waterfalls in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
Lincoln Memorial, National Mall, Washington, DC
The National Mall and Memorial Parks includes the following icons: Washington Monument, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, World War II Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
Great Falls Park, Virginia
Great Falls National Park
Wild horses on Assateague Island off the coast of Maryland
Wild horses in the surf at Assateaugue Island National Seashore, Maryland (courtesy of Worcester County)
McAfee Knob, Roanoke, Virginia
Hiking along the Appalachian National Scenic Trail in Virginia
Rock Creek Park, Washington, DC
Washington, DC's Rock Creek Park - one of America’s largest and oldest city parks
Waterfall in Virginia
Lincoln Memorial, National Mall, Washington, DC
Great Falls Park, Virginia
Wild horses on Assateague Island off the coast of Maryland
McAfee Knob, Roanoke, Virginia
Rock Creek Park, Washington, DC

The Capital Region is home to many national parks where visitors can experience America’s story, marvel at natural wonders and have fun. Here are 10 recommendations for parks to explore on your next holiday.

Shenandoah National Park (Virginia)

Shenandoah National Park is a beautiful, historic national treasure which includes the scenic 105-mile long Skyline Drive. The park covers the crest of Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains for over 75 miles. More than 500 miles of hiking trails and park ranger programs are offered; restaurants, camping and modern lodge facilities are available. At the park’s Skyland Resort, you can experience the fresh mountain air and breathtaking views right from your room or cabin. Resort amenities range from dining to horseback riding on gentle wooded trails.

National Mall & Memorial Parks (Washington, DC)

Areas within this premier park provide visitors with ample opportunities to commemorate presidential legacies, honour the courage and sacrifice of war veterans and celebrate the United States' commitment to freedom and equality. The National Mall and Memorial Parks include the following icons: Washington Monument, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, World War II Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Great Falls Park (Maryland & Virginia)

Great Falls Park, a unit of the George Washington Memorial Parkway, spans 800 acres just 15 miles from the nation’s capital. Here, the Potomac River builds up speed and force as it falls over a series of steep, jagged rocks and flows through the narrow Mather Gorge. The Maryland side of the falls is part of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park.

Assateague Island National Seashore (Maryland & Virginia)

Visitors enjoy camping, hiking, bicycling, bayside recreation and watching the wild ponies at Assateaugue Island National Seashore.

Appalachian National Scenic Trail (Maryland & Virginia)

Of the Appalachian Trail’s 2,180 total miles, about 590 run through the beautiful Appalachian Mountains of Virginia and Maryland. People of all ages and abilities enjoy short walks, day hikes and long-distance backpacking journeys along the trail. It offers a variety of opportunities for viewing spectacular scenery and wildlife, for exploring, for adventure, for nature study and for renewal.

Rock Creek Park (Washington, DC)

Rock Creek Park is a gem in the nation’s capital, offering visitors an opportunity to reflect and soothe their spirits through the beauty of nature. Fresh air, majestic trees, wild animals and the ebb and flow of Rock Creek emanate the delicate aura of the forest. Rock Creek Park rangers lead a variety of interpretative programs touching on natural history, recreation and astronomy.

Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail (Maryland, Virginia & Washington, DC)

The Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail is an evolving network of 830 miles of locally managed trails and routes between the mouth of the Potomac River and the Allegheny Highlands. The trail network and associated sites reveal the diverse history, culture and landscape in one of the most significant corridors in the United States.

C&O Canal National Historical Park (Maryland & Washington, DC)

Stretching 185 miles alongside the Potomac River between Washington, DC, and Cumberland, Maryland, the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park preserves remnants of America's transportation history. Hundreds of original structures, including locks, lockhouses and aqueducts, serve as reminders of the canal's role as a primary transportation system during the 1800s. The canal's towpath provides a nearly level, continuous trail through the spectacular scenery of the Potomac River Valley.

Fort McHenry National Monument (Maryland)

The star-shaped Fort McHenry was successfully defended by 1,000 Americans against the British during the Battle of Baltimore, 13-14 September 1814, inspiring Francis Scott Key to pen the poem that became the national anthem of the United States, "The Star Spangled Banner," Learn more about Fort McHenry National Monument

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Outdoors & Nature