Washington D.C. will always have a special place in my heart. I went to George Mason University in Fairfax, Va which is about 20 minutes from DC. I looked forward to every weekend that I would be able to explore the city. I loved walking the national mall on cool crisp mornings, exploring the Smithsonian museums and even going out at night on H street.
Some of my favorite memories are exploring the city with some of my closest friends from college. Hmm…Where to start?? Washington DC has so many places to see.
I will start with The National Mall. It starts at the Lincoln Memorial and ends at the the United States Capitol Building. The Washington Monument can be seen slightly west of the center. You can usually find many people going for a run around the mall or a group of college kids playing softball.
A number of large free events recur annually on the Mall. There is an annual kite festival called ” The Blossom Kite Festival” which usually takes place around the Washington Monument on the last weekend of March, during the Cherry Blossom Festival. This is my favorite time of the year in DC! This year, the kite festival will take place on Saturday, April 2nd.
My second favorite thing to do around DC is taking a half day trip to Great Falls Park in Northern Virginia. When I lived in Northern Virginia for college, I found this place and I always go back every time I visit. This place absolutely amazes me! They have many different trails you can walk around, lots of things to see like views of waterfalls, etc. There are picnic areas where you can bring your own food, lots of benches and open spaces for a picnic.
Entrance fee for vehicles are $10 (If you’re military, you get free parking!) Make sure to stop in the Visitor Center to grab a map and listen to the NPS volunteer share some of the park’s history before you head out to explore.
The 3 overlooks are close to the Visitor center and give you the safest views of the falls. Its easy to get some great photos here! There are several trails, so I usually start my hike down the Potowmack Canal then continued on the River Trail. Parts of the River trail are not always distinct, but as long as you see rocks and trees with the turquoise blue, you will still be on the right path. Every time I come here, I am reminded of how much I love this place. The beautiful falls and quiet trails always make for a relaxing hike. This park is simply beautiful and the views are breath taking.
Things to Note: Great Falls & Mather Gorge look quite peaceful, but please do not underestimate its speed and currents. There are danger signs posted everywhere since almost everyone who falls in has drowned. During certain times of the year here, there are many copperheads to please be aware of your surroundings when you hike. Also, there is no alcohol permitted at the park.