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DC in just one day

Alpena, Michigan
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DC in just one day

We're planning a week in Williamsburg at the end of June. If I can convince my husband, I'd like to take one of our days and go to DC. I haven't been there in over 20 years so I really don't remember much. How much can be done in a day? It would probably just be my husband, 10 year old son and myself. Probably going to leave the 1 and 3 year old at the hotel with the grandparents. I'd really like to go to the Museums of American and Natural history, and pretty sure my husband would like the Air and Space. However, I really want to go to the zoo as well. Also, we will be driving. How bad is traffic? Is there somewhere we can park the car while we walk to the museums? I see that the zoo is further away.

Washington DC...
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1. Re: DC in just one day

Such a trip is impractical. The traffic between Williamsburg and DC is often, nearly always, bad. It is about a 3 hour drive with normal traffic, so 6 hours on the road doesn't leave much time for anything. I would recommend against it. Go to Richmond instead.

Washington DC...
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2. Re: DC in just one day

What you want to see in DC is a very full day in itself. Adding 3 hours drive each way if you are lucky, just not feasible and not fun.

Alpena, Michigan
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3. Re: DC in just one day

Well, the drive doesn't bother me. I live in northern Michigan. It's almost 3 hours away for a smaller mall and 4 hours away from any real malls, attractions, etc. We've driven that many times just to go to the mall for a few hours and then come back. :-) When you live in a small town that only has a Kmart and a Walmart you learn to enjoy getting out of town and the long drive that comes with it :-)

Washington DC...
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4. Re: DC in just one day

You may not enjoy I-95 all that much. Look here for a picture of the intersection of I-95, I-395 and I-495 as you approach DC from the south. potomaclocal.com/2010/…

Alpena, Michigan
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5. Re: DC in just one day

We've driven in bumper to bumper traffic before and on crazy roads like that. :-) Doesn't scare me. :-) You really don't want us to go to DC do you? lol

Washington DC...
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6. Re: DC in just one day

I hope you enjoy seeing DC, safe travels. It would help other travelers if you came back and did a trip report.

Edited: 30 April 2014, 02:43
Washington DC...
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7. Re: DC in just one day

It's really not a question of scaring you. Only you can decide if dealing with all that during 6-7 hours of driving is worth it for the limited time you will be able to spend in DC. For me, the answer is "no". Just riding with someone down I-95 can be somewhat stressful, IMHO. The last time we went to the Marine Corps Museum, I wondered if we would ever get there and without traffic it is less than an hour south of DC. It took longer that morning going against the main traffic clogs. If you want to do it, go for it. Best of luck and drive safely.

Williamston...
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8. Re: DC in just one day

Why not just take 2 days for DC? Do you really need all that time in Williamsburg? In 2 days, you could see all the things on your list.

Alpena, Michigan
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9. Re: DC in just one day

We are actually considering 2 days in DC now just to be able to see more and take the rest of us. The only reason I wanted to stay in one location was pretty much due to cost. It's cheaper to stay at one hotel than several. And easier with the two little ones. It's funny though; I told my husband about how everyone here was so against all that driving and thought how impratical it was. He couldn't understand why. Like I said, we're used to it. Seriously, like I said, we drive 4 hours one way just to go shopping so it's not a big deal :-) We have no real cities where we are. Just being able to go to one museum would be worth it. Come to northern michigan, you'll see. But I really do appreciate all of you and your opinions! Honestly I do. I know you probably think we're crazy!

So, the only problem with staying in DC for 2 nights would be where to stay and what to do with our cars. We'll have 2 unfortunately. Apparently there's no where to park in DC? What do we do with them???? What's the best plan? There will be me, my husband, my husbands parents and adult sister, and our 3 three kids ages 1, 3, and 10. I can't imagine public transportation! It would cost so much and what about car seats? All 3 of mine are still in them (10 year old in a booster). I'm big on car seat safety. Can't imagine not using them. Like I said, we live in a small city where we have to drive to everything! No public transportation around here!

Edited: 30 April 2014, 19:45
Washington DC...
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10. Re: DC in just one day

There are lots of places to park in DC, just not free and not on the street.

Paying for six of you on Metro can get expensive. Driving in and parking might be cheaper. But the logistics of a group of 8 with 2 small children is complicated.