Top National Parks of the Capital Region

Explore US National Parks in 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, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial.
Great Falls Park, Virginia
Great Falls National Park, Virginia
Wild horses on Assateague Island off the coast of Maryland
Wild ponies in the surf at Assateague 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 amazing natural and historic sites where visitors can experience America’s story, marvel at verdant landscapes and partake in numerous outdoor adventures. On your next holiday, don't miss these US National Parks in Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia. 

Shenandoah National Park (Virginia)

Shenandoah National Park is a beautiful, historic national treasure which includes the scenic 105-mile (169-km) long Skyline Drive. The park covers the crest of Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains for over 75 miles (121 km). More than 500 miles (805 km) 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 these premier parks in Washington, DC 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, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and, as of 2020, the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial.

Great Falls Park (Maryland & Virginia)

Great Falls Park, a unit of the George Washington Memorial Parkway, spans 800 acres just 15 miles from (24 km) 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 & Ohio Canal National Historical Park.

Assateague Island National Seashore (Maryland & Virginia)

This barrier island is ideal for a quaint getaway on the Atlantic Ocean. Here the landscapes vary widely, from sandy dunes to dense pine forests. Visitors to Assateague Island National Seashore enjoy camping on the beach, exploring trails through the marshland, cycling and — perhaps best of all — watching the wild Chincoteague ponies playing in the sea spray. 

Appalachian National Scenic Trail (Maryland & Virginia)

Of the Appalachian Trail’s 2,180 total miles (3,508 km), about 590 (950 km) 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, exploring, adventure, nature study and 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 (1,336 km) 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 (298 km) 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, lock houses and aqueducts, serve as reminders of the canal's role as a primary transportation system during the 1800s. The canal's towpath provides a 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."

Want more? Check out these top beaches and parks in Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia or make your next holiday a camping adventure in the Capital Region's scenic and peaceful outdoors.

Related: 
Outdoors & Nature

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