Visit These 5 Last Minute Weekend Escapes From Washington, DC
3 min

Weekend adventures offer the perfect chance to get away and relax without heading far from home. They also make for a great way to break up work travel and allow you to explore surrounding areas when business beckons you to another city. Perfectly positioned within a few hours of beautiful places to explore, Washington, DC, makes for the perfect jumping-off point for weekend adventuring. Here are five last minute escapes within driving distance of Washington, D.C., and tips on what to eat, drink, see, and do there! 

Loudoun County, Virginia

Loudon County is a hotbed of wineries! Head to 19925 Hogback Mountain Road to enjoy wine tastings at Stone Tower Winery in Leesburg. Open Thursday through Monday, this favorite local features the Tower View Tasting Room for people aged 21 and over and the family-friendly Harvest Barn Tasting Room. Schedule cellar tours to check out the impressive wine library! And enjoy select bites like pizza, sandwiches, and crudites.

Sample more local wine when you visit Breaux Vineyards at 36888 Breaux Vineyards Lane in Purcellville. The 404-acre estate has incredible views of the surrounding Virginia countryside. The tasting room is open daily, and visitors can enjoy light foods like flatbread and clam chowder are available.

If you want to peek at the famous Appalachian Trail, hike to Bear’s Den Overlook. This one-mile out-and-back hike overlooks the Shenandoah Valley, a stunning expanse of trees and greenery. The path’s namesake, Bear’s Den, is an overlook that offers a beautiful view of the valley. Leashed dogs are allowed, so bring your pup to enjoy nature together.

Harpers Ferry is a quaint town at The Point, the meeting place of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers. The 19th-century town is a National Historic District with unique 1800-1860 Civil War architecture. Visit Harpers Ferry National Historical Park to check out the Visitor Center before walking 1.6 miles to the historic Lower Town to see beautiful industrial buildings and visit John Brown’s Fort.

Care to enjoy this picturesque region for a few days? Book a last minute stay at this stunning lake retreat. This vacation rental is located on a private estate nestled in a peaceful valley in Paeonian Springs, VA. Come relax at your “home away from home” in a private country setting with breathtaking views of rolling hills, and a picturesque red barn on 30 acres.

Mineral, Virginia

Head to 225 Oak Grove Drive to try tasty brews at Coyote Hole Ciderworks. “Join the pack” and try ciders on tap on the shore of Lake Anna. Are you visiting in the winter? Reserve a heated igloo or fire pit and order table service! The cider spot offers food like chips and salsa and hosts food trucks on the weekends. Dogs are allowed outdoors.

Want to get in touch with your wild side? Visit Colchester Equines at Lake Anna State Park to go horseback riding! Saddle up and ride the well-shaded, wooded trail for an hour or two. This activity is perfect for adults and families with young kids. Helmets are provided, and riders must wear closed-toe shoes for protection.

Spring and Summer visitors love stopping by Boardwalk Miniature Golf at 200 Boardwalk Way. The course features 18 holes, and the first nine are handicap accessible. Putt your way past waterfalls, over hills, and even through a river! Don’t forget to stop at the lower level to play Super Cars and Big Buck in the arcade. Try your hand at air hockey or skee ball, and win prizes from the claw games.

When you’re not indulging in adventure, you can tuck yourself in to the beauty of Central Virginia and make yourself at home at this lakefront gem. This spacious last minute vacation home has enough space for everyone in your group to streatch out and relax. Gather on the expansive back deck and take in the stunning views of the lake and surrounding foliage, there’s a gas grill to enjoy cookouts in the fresh air, and plenty of seating for dining al fresco.

Berkeley Springs, West Virginia

Love finding unique treasures? Visit Berkeley Springs Antique Mall at 7 Fairfax Street to browse the large selection of merchandise. Their unique vendors carry everything from beautiful colored glass to books, quilts, and furniture. The gift shop has scented candles, holiday decor, and more. It’s the perfect place to pick up a souvenir for yourself or a gift for a loved one.

Before heading to your beautiful rental vacation home on a private lake, head to Cacapon Resort State Park. The 6,000-acre park hosts a myriad of activities, from fishing and camping to swimming and hiking. Traveling with kids? Try geocaching and follow clues to find treasure caches. Some are tiny and well-hidden, and others are large and in plain sight.

If you’re looking for relaxation, visit Berkeley Springs State Park, where you can relax in the healing waters of local springs. The Main Bathhouse features a Roman spa with 102-degree spring-sourced mineral water, whirlpools, and saunas. You can also get a prenatal, therapeutic, or hot stone massage. Reserve massage and pool time for yourself, your family, or you and a loved one.

During your time in Berkely Springs, reserve a last minute stay at dog-friendly Sunny Acres Retreat. Here you can relax in the outdoor hot tub, hang out and grill on the back deck or enjoy a glass of local wine on the front porch as the sun sets.

One of the many stunning waterways you'll see on your last minute trip to Shenandoah Valley, Virginia

One of the many stunning waterways you’ll see on your last minute trip to Shenandoah Valley, Virginia

Shenandoah Valley, Virginia

This rural town between the Blue Ridge Mountains and Massanutten Ridge is an outdoor lovers’ paradise. Head to Shenandoah National Park to hike the more than 500 miles of trails from 0-6 miles for day trips and 7+ miles for long days or overnights. The park also features many kid-friendly hikes with lower mileage and less elevation. The park has more than 14 waterfalls and trails that offer beautiful views of these unique features.

When you’ve worked up an appetite, go to Rudy’s Diner at 418 N. 5th Street. The locally owned and operated restaurant serves classic diner food with upgraded flavors, like the hot honey chicken sandwich on mini waffles and biscuits and gravy. You’ll notice the firefighter theme – the owner is a fireman!

Get a glimpse of the universe at John C. Wells Planetarium! Located at 91 East Grace Street at James Madison University, this state-of-the-art planetarium features a full dome where they host free shows on Saturdays from September through June. Learn about planets, stars, light pollution, and even alien worlds. Check the schedule for monthly star parties where you can use telescopes to view the night sky from the JMU Astronomy Park.

Book a last minute stay at this riverside paradise and call it basecamp for a couple days! This charming riverfront cottage sits right on the Shenandoah River, where stunning views and adventures abound.

Bethany Beach, Delaware

If you’re looking for a beachside rental vacation home in Delaware, check out Edgewater House in Bethany Beach! Just steps away, you can stroll Bethany Beach and wander the boardwalk. You’ll find shops selling summer apparel, ice cream, and souvenirs. Many businesses are closed during fall and winter, so expect fewer people if you plan to go during the off-season.

If you visit in the summer, stop by the Bethany Beach Farmers Market at the corner of Garfield Parkway and Pennsylvania Avenue. Vendors include orchards, farms, apiaries, and bread makers. Here, you can find fresh, locally harvested ingredients to bring back to your lodging and create an incredible meal!

Need a new read for your beachside adventure? Go to Bethany Beach Books at 99 Garfield Parkway. Open year-round, the independently owned 2,000-square-foot shop sells fiction, non-fiction, and everything in between. Adults love The Book Drop, a monthly surprise book subscription service. Kiddos enjoy wandering the children’s section, where they can find picture, board, and chapter books. Make sure to check out the local author and local interest sections featuring all things Coastal Delaware.

During your time in Bethany Beach, enjoy ocean views from the eigth floor at this oceanfront condo. This coastal resort getaway features a one level layout offering a surfside balcony and well quipped kitchen, as well as access to a halfmile of private beach and 12 pools!

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