Are you bummed because your spring vacation has turned into a staycation? Realistically, it’s hard to take five days off from work just because your kiddos are free as a bird! Not to fret, there are tons of nearby options that pack in a ton of fun (for the kids) and a bit of relaxation (for you!).  

Photo: quite peculiar via flickr

Georgetown

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If beautiful parks are your thang, make sure to check out
Dumbarton Oaks. The secluded and lush gardens have been closed to the public since last summer but are re-opening on March 15th. Kids will love meandering through the vibrant greenery, winding pathways and colossal fountains. If you pick a nice day and want to continue on the green kick, check out the historic landmark, Tudor Place, which has been a fixture in DC since 1816, and has served as a home to descendants of Martha Washington for six generations. The chic house has furnishings, household items and fascinating Washington-related artifacts. The five-plus acres worth of gardens on the estate make for a wondrous and scenic outdoor.

No trip to G-town is complete without visiting the striking campus of Georgetown University. Established in 1789, GU is one of the world’s leading academic and research institutions. Hoya Saxa is palpable throughout Georgetown and they love to see mini, future Hoyas roaming around campus.

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Need to pick something up for the baby or want to pamper yourself? Pay Take Care a visit. It’s a great little store, in the heart of Georgetown, that sells natural beauty, baby and home products, It’s so pretty. Truly an Instagrammer’s dream!

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Hungry and need to get some wiggles out? Head over to Pinstripes, the family-friendly game space – which merges an Italian-American menu with 14 bowling lanes and six bocce courts in an enormous 32,000 square foot space that borders the canal. FUN TIMES, FOLKS!

Need sugar after all that bowling? Look for the pink bicycle outside Baked & Wired for everything scrumptious from bread to granola to cupcakes. Prefer macarons to cupcakes? Check out the head of the macaron monarchy on M St., Ladurée.

Stay
If you really want to make your jaunt special, spend the night in one of Georgetown’s most exclusive hotels, The Four Seasons. But, guess what?…it’s totally kid friendly! Book one of their special 25% off Suites offer where a family of four can fit very comfortably and the parents can enjoy the privacy of their own room. When you check-in, your kids will be welcomed with a red wagon full of toys and you can even request a special teepee set up for the kids in the rooms. Let senior concierge, Mel Odilao, plan your family’s stay, and help you create wonderful memories. A few fun, complimentary items you can ask for: childproof guest room; cribs, high chairs and playpens; child-size bathrobes; baby & children’s toiletries; toys, coloring books and board games; Wii and video games. Raining out and you’re not prepared? They have umbrellas and kid sized boots for you! Intrigued by room service? Younger kids will get personalized homemade cookies shaped in the form of the Tic-Tac-Toe game to play with before enjoying the sweet treats. And older kids will get a sweet tribute to the US, two brownies with American flag motif decorated with sprinkles.

Photo: Maureen Porto Photography

Annapolis, Md

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The Chesapeake Bay is the heart and soul of Maryland. Famous for its blue crabs and mouthwatering oysters, her sandy shores and nippy, fresh waters are a playground for water lovers. Both Maryland and America’s Sailing Capital, Annapolis is a charming historic town and a great place to visit with kids. Founded in 1649, its colonial city center is small and easy to navigate. But the highlight is that it’s surrounded by a bustling waterfront full of boats. Kids love to walk around, grab an ice cream cone and just gaze at the beautiful vessels.

Annapolis is also home to the U.S. Naval Academy. You can take a guided tour of the Academy, to see what life is like as a midshipmen, or just walk around campus. Make sure to check out the Armel-Leftwich Visitor Center, where you can get information about what to see on campus and admire some of the naval artifacts at the U.S. Naval Academy Museum.

The Annapolis Maritime Museum is a great resource to teach kids about the deep maritime heritage of Annapolis. The Museum is home to McNasby’sOyster Packing Company, the last remaining oyster packing plant in the area. Located on the waterfront, the Museum teaches visitors how to harvest oysters, allows them to climb aboard a native workboat and explore artifacts. There is also an 850-gallon oyster tank that kids love to observe.

Stay
Book a night at the recently renovated, Westin Annapolis. Located just minutes from downtown Annapolis, the Westin is the perfect combination of relaxation and fun. They offer modern rooms and suites even have an indoor pool.

Shenandoah Valley

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Need to get out of the city and into the mountains but can’t go too far? Take a drive deep into Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Enjoy the vibrant spring blooms, and picture-postcard farms and inns along scenic byways and country roads. Uncover the crafts, foods, quaint villages and towns that highlight the mountain heritage of this region including Luray Caverns, the largest and most popular caverns in Eastern America. Kids of all ages will love this adventure! Inside, you’ll find well-lit paved walkways where you can explore cathedral-sized rooms with ceilings 10 stories high, filled with towering stone columns and crystal-clear pools. Remember the organ in The Goonies? Relive the popular movie’s scene as you encounter the haunting sounds of the world’s only Stalacpipe Organ. 

After checking out LC, let the kids hang out at the Garden Maze, which has over 1,500 Dark American Arborvitae that are eight feet tall and four feet wide creating a 1/2 mile pathway.  It’s the one time you’ll enjoy getting lost.  Or try the Rope Adventure Park that provides high flying fun for the whole family.

If you’re feeling cramped up after the caverns, head over to the Shenandoah National Park where you can hike, climb, gaze, stroll, or bike. Skyline Drive stretches like a ribbon among dozens of mountain peaks and overlooks. Miles of hiking trails lead to unspoiled waterfalls and forested hills. Try to spot a black bear, grazing whitetail deer, and over 200 species of birds.

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Make sure to grab dinner and breakfast at the quirky, yummy and quaint, Gathering Grounds. They offer local products from food to coffee to beer and their service is fantastic.

Stay
If you want to spend the night, check out the enchanting town of Luray, which is registered as a National Historic District. You’ll find Civil War-era landmarks, quaint shops and unique restaurants and cafes, this little town is truly packed with big-time charm.

Let the fam be transported to the antebellum era of the Old South at the iconic and historic, Mimslyn Inn. It’s walking distance to the town of Luray and has cottages so the whole family can fit. The Mimslyn offers the perfect atmosphere for family gatherings of all kinds.

Photo: Salamander Resort and Spa

Salamander Resort in Middleburg, Va

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A short 45 minute drive up 66 takes you to serene Middleburg, Va, Middleburg is beyond charming and the hub of VA wine/horse countryLess than a mile from Washington Street or “downtown” Middleburg and all it’s adorable shops and resturaunts, is the Salamander Resort & Spa.

Set on over 300 acres, Salamander is a welcome family friendly oasis! From the expansive Grand Lawn, to the barns to the fire pits surrounded with Adirondack chairs, this is a place that you can enjoy for a weekend or even just one night.

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The resort’s family-friendly atmosphere is palpable.  They even offer the Spring Break edition of Camp Salamander from March 26-30. Other kid friendly activities includes cooking classes, animal tracking, and Kids Night Out sessions.

When in horse country, giddy up! If you’ve got an equestrian in the making, little ones can enjoy gentle ponies for rides and lessons. Standard riding lessons are available for ages 7 and up. Zip lines, carriage rides, riding lessons, pools, making s’mores by the fire, now that is terrific lineup for kids!

Do you have a favorite spot to staycation over spring break? Tell us about it in the comments below. 

—Guiomar Ochoa

 

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