5 Urban Adventures in Washington, DC, Virginia and Maryland

Hidden among the monuments, museums and national icons are dozens of urban outdoor adventures waiting to be discovered.

kayak, James River, Richmond, Virginia, sunset
Kayaking along the James River in Richmond (Photo courtesy Scott Brown for Virginia Tourism Corporation)
Rock Creek Park, couple, fall, bridge, walking, Washington, DC
Explore the trails and forests in Rock Creek Park, an outdoor oasis nestled in the heart of Washington, DC.
Sailing in National Harbor
Sail or kayak right in the National Harbor for a water-side view of Washington, DC.
whitewater, rafting, James River, Richmond, Virginia, USA
Whitewater rafting right in the middle of the city? Yep, it’s possible in downtown Richmond, Virginia.
Tall Ships in Baltimore Inner Harbor
Tour one of the many visiting tall ships that dock along Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.
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kayak, James River, Richmond, Virginia, sunset
Rock Creek Park, couple, fall, bridge, walking, Washington, DC
Sailing in National Harbor
whitewater, rafting, James River, Richmond, Virginia, USA
Tall Ships in Baltimore Inner Harbor

By Idoia Gkikas

There’s no need to leave the city if you’re craving outdoor adventures in the USA’s Capital Region, which includes Washington, DC, Virginia and Maryland. Seek out these exciting urban adventures.

National Mall on Foot, Bike or Segway

The Washington Monument. The Lincoln Memorial. The stately US Capitol Building. If there’s a single place that showcases the history of the USA, it’s the National Mall in Washington, DC. 

Thanks to the National Parks Service (NPS), there are free, ranger-led tours and special lectures if you want to explore the National Mall on foot. The NPS also has a handy (and free) app for your phone with maps, historical information, photos and special-events calendars. 

For a speedier option, tour the tree-lined boulevards of the National Mall by bike or Segway. A bike-sharing program, as well as bicycle rentals, are conveniently available at the National Mall. Outfitters such as Bike and Roll DC, Capital City Bike Tours and City Segway Tours offer bike and Segway tours. For both walking and biking resources, check out DC by Foot, which leads pay-what-you-like walking and biking tours.

Or if water travel is more your style, check out Tidal Basin Paddle Boats and paddle your way to a great view of the Jefferson Memorial. 

Nature in the Capital at Rock Creek Park

This national park is an outdoor retreat located right in the middle of the city. Enjoy bike trails, a planetarium, an 18-hole golf course, horseback riding and playgrounds. There are nearly 52 kilometers of hiking trails, as well as a boating center that offers canoe, kayak and small sailboat rentals and lessons.  

Kayak the Potomac River

Seeing DC's awe-inspiring monuments from the Potomac River is something you simply can’t miss. There are plenty of reputable outfitters offering guided kayak tours, including nighttime rides under the stars.

Whitewater Rafting in Richmond

Here’s one for your photo album: whitewater rafting down the James River through Richmond, Virginia, just two hours from Washington, DC. Trained guides are available and all equipment is provided, so even a novice paddler can experience the thrill of the rapids in this unexpected urban setting. 

Boat Tours in Baltimore

Baltimore’s action-packed Inner Harbor is a treat to experience by boat. Narrated tours, lunch and dinner excursions, even late-night party cruises – there are boat tours for everyone’s tastes. When you’re back on land, check out Inner Harbor’s plentiful shops, restaurants, attractions and entertainment.

Getting to Washington, DC

Just 42 kilometers west of Washington, DC, Washington Dulles International Airport is centrally located in the Capital Region USA and convenient to all destinations and activities across Washington, DC, Virginia and Maryland. Nonstop flights to Washington Dulles International Airport from major destinations worldwide make getting here easy.

Outdoors & Nature
Tours & Trails
City Adventures
History & Culture
Attractions & Family Fun

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