Social Distancing & Safer Exploration in the Capital Region

Covid-19 has impacted travel on every possible level, from international to local. In spite of this, the Capital Region is still humming along — albeit while wearing masks and limiting contact with others.

When our doors re-open to welcome travellers, you’ll see some changes. But that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to enjoy the Capital Region to the fullest. The below guidance can help you enjoy the area safely when you return to Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC.

Safety Measures

Throughout the Capital Region, you’ll find a number of measures in place for the well-being of yourself and others. Mask wearing may be required in public places, both indoors and out. In addition, you’ll find social distancing being practised in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, DC where local leaders have worked to maintain consistent regulations across the region. In the US, people are asked to maintain a distance of at least 6 feet (about 1.8 metres) from people not in their immediate party. Many locations have markers on the ground, particularly in areas where queues form, to help you gauge this distance.

You’ll also find an abundance of hand-sanitizer stations at attractions and shops. In addition to using these often, it’s a good idea to bring your own bottle or purchase one upon arrival.

View our Capital Region USA Travel Safety Guidelines for more information. Find the most recent Covid-19 guidance for each state in the region here:

Also, be sure to review the latest safety guidelines for travelling through Washington Dulles International Airport.

Hotels & Lodging

Whether you’re looking for luxury suites or long-term stay options, you’ll find an array of hotels in Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia. The American Hotel & Lodging Association has established a set of cleaning and disinfecting guidelines and offers tips for guests’ safety, too. Most hotels provide detailed information about their cleaning practices on their individual websites.

Or, opt for a space of your very own at a holiday home. You’ll have an array of choices, from charming beach cottages to historical urban buildings with contemporary updates to secluded mountain cabins. Airbnb and Vrbo are trusted resources for finding this type of lodging in the US.

Another great way to maximise your travels to the Capital Region is to hire a camper van or motorhome (often called an RV in the United States). A US road trip can be ideal for a socially distanced holiday — and you’ll find a wealth of peaceful camping sites and stunningly scenic byways in Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia. We’ve even developed a 14-day motorhome itinerary with Cruise America that visits some of the top national and state parks in the region.

Regardless of your lodging selection, visit individual websites and property listings for detailed information on Covid-19 cleaning protocols. Likewise, scan reviews from previous travellers to get an idea of how satisfied others were with cleaning standards, mask wearing and so forth.

Outdoor Attractions

There’s no shortage of outdoor attractions in the Capital Region, whether you prefer camping under the stars, peaceful strolls or sightseeing on mountain bike trails. Here are just a handful of the wide-open spaces you can explore.

Outdoor Attractions in Maryland

  • Assateague Island National SeashoreFind a restful retreat at this Atlantic Ocean seashore known for sandy beaches, herds of wild ponies and kayaking through salt marshes.
  • Annapolis. Get out on the water in Maryland’s capital city by booking a sailing lesson, visiting Sandy Point Beach or simply watching the boats come in at city dock.
  • Patapsco Valley State Park. Explore Maryland’s oldest state park with 200 miles (322 km) of scenic trails perfect for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding.

Outdoor Attractions in Virginia

  • Shenandoah National Park. This enchanting park is perfect for scenic drives through the Blue Ridge Mountains and hiking portions of the famed Appalachian trail.
  • Great Falls Park. Watch the Potomac River race over jagged rocks and waterfalls from one of the overlooks along the park’s 15 miles (24 km) of trails or brave the rapids on a white water kayak or canoe.
  • Colonial Williamsburg. Spanning 300 acres, the nation’s largest living history museum features an open-air assemblage of historical buildings and updated safety guidelines including touchless ticketing and more frequent, smaller capacity tours.

Outdoor Attractions in Washington, DC

  • Rock Creek Park. Run, bike or stroll through this locally loved urban park with 32 miles (51 km) of trails and historical structures.
  • National Mall. The heart of the nation’s capital is known as “America’s front yard” and is home to impressive monuments, memorials and — in spring — blush-pink cherry trees in bloom.
  • US National Arboretum. Wander more than 400 acres of lush grounds with ornamental gardens, bonsai trees, azaleas and the 22 columns that originally supported the US Capitol Building.

Restaurants

The many restaurants of Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia serve up everything from “soul food” of the American South to Michelin-starred meals. And as the region enjoys a generally mild and pleasant climate, many eateries offer outdoor dining throughout much of the year. Adapting to Covid-19 restrictions, many restaurants have become creative with their outdoor dining options, creating private igloos and heated outdoor dining spaces.

Some restaurants may be closed for dining in, require reservations or experience longer wait times due to occupancy limitations. However, a cornucopia of takeaway and delivery awaits to be enjoyed in your hotel or maybe as a picnic in a local park or on breezy beach. For a sampler of what the area has to offer, explore locally loved restaurants in DC, Virginia and Maryland and savour the tastes of America through the region’s most celebrated chefs.

And if you’re staying in a holiday property or long-term hotel with a full kitchen, indulge in the region’s specialities as you play chef! Local favourite ingredients include crabs flavoured with Old Bay seasoning, oysters fresh from the sea, Virginia ham, peanuts and, of course, wine, beer and spirits from the region.

Museums, Attractions & Shopping

Museums and other attractions — like theatres, sporting events and theme parks — may be affected by area health and safety recommendations related to Covid-19. In some cases, reservations for timed entry may be required and, in other scenarios, exhibits, rides or performances may be unavailable.

As with restaurants, you may have to wait in line to enter when shopping in DC, Virginia and Maryland due to limitations on how many people can be inside at once. In addition, you’ll be asked to wear a mask and follow the US social-distancing standards of staying 6 feet apart from those not in your party.

Because of these factors, it’s wise to regularly check the websites of each point of interest for the most current information. You’ll also want to have a backup plan to make sure you enjoy every last moment of your Capital Region holiday.

Want More? Find up-to-date Covid-19 information and helpful resources. And take a peek at our online holiday guides for a wealth of travel-planning inspiration.

Related: 
Attractions & Family Fun
History & Culture
Outdoors & Nature
Scenic Drives
Tours & Trails
Wine & Cuisine

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