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Washington D.C. is a fascinating and unique city, but it’s no secret it can get a little crowded. If you’re looking to hit the open road, try a quick tour of some of DC’s surrounding neighborhoods and countryside in Virginia and Maryland.
Maybe you’re looking to get out of Washington DC, or maybe you’ve just checked all the impressive DC Monuments & Museums and just want to see the rest of the Capital Region. Check out these surrounding cities for more history, dining, shopping, and scenery.
Set in northeastern Virginia near the Washington Dulles International Airport and Herndon, Sterling is a fun little city set on the southern banks of the Potomac River – just 30 miles west of DC.
Claude Moore Park features some onsite attractions like the Loudoun Heritage Farm Museum, the Claude Moore Recreation Center, and the Discovery Room – found in the Visitor Center at the north entrance.
Sterling puts visitors in Loudoun County – otherwise known as D.C.'s Wine Country thanks to more than 30 area wineries. Loudoun Wine Trail yields six clusters of wineries all the way to West Virginia – the closest ones to Sterling being Quattro Goomba's Winery, Stone Tower Winery, and Carroll Vineyards.
Spanning 357 acres, Claude Moore Park is also the recreational spot in town. In addition to athletic fields and an Olympic-size – though indoor – pool, the parks offers 11 miles of hiking trails, a large green space, two fishing spots, and plenty of picnic areas.
Also in northeastern Virginia, Woodbridge is found 25 miles south of central Washington DC on the Belmont Bay.
The city of Woodbridge neighbors the famous Mt. Vernon – the former home of President George Washington. A National Historic Landmark occupying over 500 acres, George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens offers tours, festivals, reenactments, and more.
Check out the Ford Orientation Center, or sign up for the cruise tour, the gardens tour, and the pet-friendly tour, “All the President’s Pups.” Grab lunch at Mount Vernon's Food Court, see Washington’s Tomb, and check out the four-acre Pioneer Farm.
If you’re looking to get some shopping, stop by Potomac Mills for over 225 stores across 1.6 million square feet of retail space. Set along Interstate 95, this outlet shopping center offer severything from Clarks and Coach to the Disney and LEGO store.
Woodbridge offers plenty of outdoor escapes on the Potomac. Visit Mason Neck State Park on the other side of Belmont Bay, or closer parks like the Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Featherstone National Wildlife Refuge, and Leesylvania State Park.
These spots are all great for bird watching, nature trail trekking, and picnicking.
Now let’s explore Maryland. Lanham is located just outside of central DC on the Capital Beltway.
Lanham sits pretty close to the National Archives at College Park – known as “world's largest and most advanced archival facility.” Sign up for a one-hour, behind-the-scenes guided tour of the complex – offered Monday through Thursday.
While in Lanham, be sure to check out the Sri Siva Vishnu Temple – or SSVT. An impressive Hindu temple, SSVT is one of the largest temples of its kind on this side of the glboe.
The temple welcomes visiors, so you can head inside and check out seventeen Sannidhis, or shrines, and plenty of special events and festivals.
Operated by the National Park Service, the 1,176-acre Greenbelt Park offers over nine miles of hiking and horseback riding trails. Other features include bird watching, three picnic spots like the Sweetgum Picnic Area, and as always, nature photography.
Set roughly 25 miles northwest of downtown DC, Rockville is found along Interstate 270 in southern Maryland.
If you’re looking to explore on foot, check out Rockville's Town Center – a picturesque yet bustling part of town offering dining, shopping, and entertainment. Sign up for a walking tour, check out the Fountain on the Square in the summer, or visit Montgomery County’s largest ice rink in the winter.
Rockville is a great town for golf. We recommend RedGate Golf Course, plus the Woodmont Country Club, Lakewood Country Club, Needwood Golf Course, and the nearby Falls Road Golf Course.
You can’t go two feet without smacking into a park in the Rockville area. Check out Rock Creek Regional Park, Wootton's Mill Park, Potomac Woods Park, and the Meadowside Nature Center. Dozens of smaller parks are located throughout town as well, including Monument Park, Dogwood Park, and many more.