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What to do after DC?

London, United...
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What to do after DC?

Dear all,

My wife, my baby son and I are heading to the US for a little over weeks in August. We're spending 5 nights in New York, 5 nights in Boston and then we have 11-12 days left. At present we're planning on going to Washington D.C. from Boston by train and then staying for say 5 nights but then what?

One idea was to hire a car and drive along the Skyline Drive and stay in the Shenandoah Park. Or perhaps even make it as far as the Great Smoky Mountain NP. Or we could head to the Chesapeake Bay or the coast.

Has anybody got any suggestions? Should we hire a car and go for a road trip or are there alternative places to see without a car?

After two weeks of cities we're probably looking to drop the pace a little and although we like hiking we're not great beach bums.

Any thoughts would be great.

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New York
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Boston
Boston
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Arlington, Virginia
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1. Re: What to do after DC?

Well since you're not beach bums and enjoy hiking, a drive through the Blue Ridge would be a great choice. You can drive on Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park, then continue on the Blue Ridge Parkway and end up in the Smokies. We did the same trip a few summers ago and had a great time. We spent about five days going down the Parkway. You will see beautiful nature, small historic towns and do some nice hiking along the way. You will find a lot of information here about travelling Skyline Drive/Blue Ridge Parkway, but the highlights for us were Luray Caverns, Natural Bridge, Grandfather Mountain, and Peaks of Otter.

Arlington, Virginia
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2. Re: What to do after DC?

Either a week in the mountains or a week at the beach could be nice. August is high season on the Eastern Shore, so you may find hotel rooms expensive / hard to come by if you don't book far in advance. That said, it is high season for a reason: the ocean is refreshing during the hotest (and most humid) month of the year here.

The mountains will be less crowded, but far from empty. Given that you aren't beach bums, a trip down to the Smokies and back could work very well for you. The driving is not particularly challenging, and you'll have many options for routes and places to stay the night.

La Plata, Maryland
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3. Re: What to do after DC?

Some other possibilities

http://www.annapolis.com

http://visit-annapolis.org

http://www.visitcharlottesville.org

http://wikitravel.org/en/Charlottesville

http://www.harpersferrywv.net

(Annapolis, Charlottesville, and Harpers Ferry are all accessible by train or bus from Washington, provided you lodge in them overnight)

http://www.virginia.org/Caverns

The following 3 places, are in the same locality together

http://www.history.org

http://historyisfun.org

http://www.buschgardens.com

Edited: 29 May 2012, 23:16
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Washington
Washington
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4. Re: What to do after DC?

Blue Ridge Pkwy is beautiful and we go to the Smoky Mountains every year. I would def. recommend seeing this. The history of Smoky Mountains is enjoyable. If you do go to the Smokies, def. go to Cades Cove in the Smoky Mountain Nat. Park. Lots of wildlife, flowers, and historical buildings. Enjoy!

Mechanicsville, MD
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5. Re: What to do after DC?

I've been to both areas many times. The shore areas east of DC are good for summer fun, but nothing spectacular. if you go out this way, stop in Annapolis and St Michaels. I would prefer these two areas to Ocean City. But the Blue Ridge down thru the Smokey Mountains are very special, although can be warm in August. I would opt for the latter.

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Ocean City
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6. Re: What to do after DC?

Honestly - though I like Shenandoah a lot - because it is here in my backyard, I would never say it's a go out of your way "must see." It is lovely rolling hills and nice views if the skies are clear. Some nice hikes - but really - 5 days would be way too much. It is not dramatic scenery like the Rockies but old low mountains with mostly second growth woods.

If you have 5 days to fill after DC I would say - maybe do 1-2 nights in Luray - see the caverns - not the best in the world, but very nice. Or 1-2 nights in Shenandoan around Front Royal with day hikes. Both within 2 hours drive of DC

Then maybe drive up to Harper's Ferry for 1 night , then 1-2 nights in Baltimore - a very different city than DC - and the Walters Art Museum and Visionary Art Museum are great. Then head east and stay a night or two in Chinoteague - even if you're not beachy - Assateague Island National seashore is pretty cool with empty natural beaches with wild ponies - and Ocean City is only 20 mins. from there with total boardwalk kitchy crazy fun.

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Baltimore
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Ocean City
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7. Re: What to do after DC?

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