Looking for a quick long weekend that’s drivable, packed with culture, great food, and kid friendly options? Spring Break 2017, we packed up the kids and took off to our nations capital. Here’s how it went:
Where to stay: Before kids, we were very into cozy/hip B&B’s versus a brand name hotel. Not anymore. The days are over. Or reserved for weekend getaways sans kids. We can still stay at boutique places, and prefer it whenever possible, but it has to be the right place. These days our biggest priority for a great hotel is convenience, reasonable pricing, and finding the right room type that guarantees we all get a nights sleep. This usually results in a big brand hotel, Wyndhams, Hiltons, etc. We do our best to find a hotel that fits the bill but still has charm.
In DC, we stayed:
Courtyard by Marriott Embassy Row: My helpful husband booked this hotel which looked perfect. Located a few blocks south of Dupont Circle and a few blocks north of the White House, we thought this was a winner. Too bad I didn’t look at the pictures of the room (or ask questions!) before we checked in. Turns out we were in a standard hotel room with two double beds and a two year old who doesn’t sleep in a room with others if you breath or dare fluff your pillow. We had a rough nights sleep on Night #1 and changed hotels the next morning. This place had a great location, was clean, etc. and had a nice restaurant (with the most patient service from a waiter with 6 kids) in the lobby. No suites here though, which didn’t work for my tribe at the time.
Embassy Suites by Hilton Georgetown: This place was the bomb.com. We had also been looking for a hotel with an indoor pool (for the kids) and this pool, although not heated, was a fun activity for our 4 year old. It was beautiful, had a gorgeous atrium in the center, and the suite we had was the perfect setup for a night of actual precious SLEEP. Also, a free hot breakfast. Score.
Maryland Inn, Annapolis: We extended the trip one more day and stayed at this boutique hotel in Annapolis for a night. Aside from learning later that it is one of the most haunted locations in America, and being a tad bit noisy, it was perfection. Beautiful room, perfect suite setup for our 22 month old prince to sleep peacefully, great location, great price.
What to do: I’ve learned that traveling with kids, you need to have reasonable expectations. You can’t be overly ambitious without expecting tired kids and tantrums. And maybe a few squabbles with your adult travel partner about parking/waiting in line/having to go to the bathroom. Make a list of a few places you want to check out and plan for a daytime and post-nap activity. Unless you’re being overly aggressive and skipping naps. Then it’s all a gamble – but everyone will be fine. 🙂
DC Museums: All of the museums on the National Mall are free. And many of them are kid friendly. I suggest picking heading out here when they open (10am) and hitting or 2 before lunch.
Air & Space Museum: Airplanes. Spaceships. Astronomy show. (You need additional free tickets for these timed shows in the planetarium which you can get on site.) Freeze dried space ice cream. Need I say more?
Discovery Theatre: A live theatre (on the mall) with shows designed for 2-16 years olds. If you can catch a show here during your mall visit, they’re super fun and short. Perfect!
The Phillips Collection: This small museum near Dupont Circle is the perfect size for exploring with kids. They also had interactive activities for kids (and tours!) to add to the fun.
Georgetown Waterfront Park: Relax in this green retreat nestled into downtown Georgetown with views of the Potomac. We stopped here after a walk and brunch in Georgetown. Rent bikes here (and connect to a 13 mile trail,) explore a labyrinth, rain garden, splash park, or just soak in the river views.
Metro Ride: The DC metro is beautiful, clean, and super fast. Extra fun way to help you when trekking around town.
Where to eat: Traveling with kids is supposed to be fun. To keep it that way, sometimes you have to prioritize. Some days making it to the best sights and eats without driving yourself crazy isn’t easy. Thankfully there is Starbucks and Wawa to fill in the gaps. For our quick DC weekend getaway with the family, we ate at a few great places:
Dean and Deluca: Mouth-watering gourmet options of all kinds. Maybe a little too fancy for the kids (we paid at least $5 for a single cookie) but still a great spot for lunching while walking around Georgetown.
Pusser’s Caribbean Grill: This waterfront spot in Annapolis was the perfect experience. Great food, waterfront views, and live music. We had a blast.