Washington DC is beautiful during the holidays, but in the event that you're wanting to get away, with your family, for a day or a weekend, you're in luck! You can get to several locations with tons of holiday charm, on just one tank of gas.
Travel Writer and blogger, Guiomar Ochoa , gives us 4 fun, family-friendly locations to visit!
Staunton, VA (160 miles from DC)
- Holidays are magical in Virginia’s Blue Ridge
- Download the free Traipse app that is designed for exploring local businesses and history through curated tours with fun puzzles. Traipse is based out of Staunton, VA and offers multiple family-friendly tours that you can play while shopping downtown or exploring one of Staunton's multiple parks.
- Staunton’s historic and enchanting downtown is one of America’s most celebrated Main Streets and offers a truly authentic holiday experience. Six historic districts all nestled together - it's reminiscent of a Norman Rockwell streetscape. Staunton's downtown is entirely walkable, and all the shops are locally owned, with an unusual selection of gifts for all ages.
- Take a horse-drawn carriage through time followed by a Lantern Tour at the Frontier Culture Museum.
- Tour one of Staunton’s historic neighborhoods on this year’s Holiday House Tour.
- Enjoy the classic A Christmas Carol at Blackfriars Playhouse.
- Holiday Tea at the Anne Hathaway Cottage Tea
- Shop for toys at Pufferbellies (AMAZING independent toy store)
- Stay at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel
Frederick, MD (50 miles from DC)
- Frederick is where hip meets historic every day.
- No shortage of great shopping like Zoe’s Chocolates.
- Grab a bite to eat or a warm cup of cocoa at one of many restaurants like Sabor de Cuba, which has the best Cuban food and super economical.
- Join in with carolers all over town.
- Candlelight Tour of Historic Houses of Worship celebrates Frederick’s tradition of religious diversity, local history, and the holiday season. Guests will be welcomed with special programs, singing and nativity scenes.
- Must visit is the Roads and Rails Museum. Santa and Mrs. Clause will be there December 16th. Founded by David Burroughs, Roads & Rails Museum celebrates miniature railroads. The museum houses one of the largest miniature world model train displays in the country and is designed to be a fun display of three dimensional art, combined with sound and movement.
Pennsylvania Dutch Country (120 miles from DC)
- In PA Dutch Country, the yuletide season is all about traditions and family.
- Ride with childlike wonder on the various Christmas Trains at Strasburg Rail Road or on the amusing offerings at Dutch Winter Wonderland.
- Experience the holidays with horse-drawn carriage rides, visits with Santa, festive music, and distinctive city retailers.
- Follow Ralphie’s Red Ryder quest in A Christmas Story – The Musical at the Fulton Theatre or share in Our Christmas Dinner at Bird-in-Hand Stage.
Wilmington & the Brandywine Valley (110 miles from DC)
- Straddling the borders of Delaware and Pennsylvania.
- Christmas is a stunning time of year to admire the famed du Pont family properties.
- Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library is the former home of Henry Francis du Pont, and is known the world over for its astounding collection of American decorative arts. Visitors from near and far come to experience Yuletide at Winterthur through January 7, 2018.
- Strolling Christmas carolers were also a part of many a Victorian holiday scene, and it’s practically a guarantee that guests will run into some at Longwood Gardens. The nation’s most celebrated gardens are simply unmatched during “A Longwood Christmas,” this year scheduled through January 7, 2018. The Gardens pay tribute to the du Ponts’ native France, as the site’s Conservatory transforms into a miniature Versailles with a collection of topiaries, wreaths, ornate mirrors and more than 50 trimmed trees. The entire site is illuminated with half a million twinkling lights.
- For the younger set, the Wilmington & Western Railroad gives families the opportunity to ride through the region’s Red Clay Valley with none other than Santa, on the Santa Claus Express, who happily poses for pictures during a 90-minute journey.