Family road trips are one of life’s great pleasures. Get ready to pack all the snacks and hit the road to explore one of these places within a day’s drive of DC. We’ve rounded up the best spots to fill your phone with family photo ops. Leave the DMV after breakfast and check-in before the sun goes down for a weekend of memory-making and family bonding.

Annapolis, MD

What to See
If long road trips are tough, you can still getaway to a historic town full of family fun and you’ll only have to drive 45 minutes. The best place to start your getaway is downtown. A stroll down Main Street ends at the gorgeous harbor overlooking the Naval Academy. You can take a water taxi across the Chesapeake Bay to the Charthouse for a piece of their famous mudpie. Or, hop on a Watermark Cruise for a 40-minute ride around the area. End your evening at the Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre and enjoy a theater-under-the-stars experience.

Where to Eat
Breakfast all day is always a good idea, especially at Iron Rooster. Your kiddos can dive into an order of French toast sticks while you enjoy a local specialty, crab cakes over pancakes. Ask for a table with a view. The harbor is gorgeous by sunset.

Where to Stay
The Westin Annapolis is in the perfect location for you to explore downtown Annapolis and the surrounding areas. You don’t really need your car if you’d rather not drive around. There is a local trolley that circles around town and makes getting where you want to go pretty easy. The hotel is centrally located near the United States Naval Academy, Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, and the Chesapeake Bay.

Distance: 41 minutes (32 miles)
Online: visitannapolis.org/

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Baltimore, MD

What to See
When a staycation won’t due, Charm City is just a little over an hour away. The Inner Harbor is a hub of kid-friendly experiences, including the Maryland Science Center, the National Aquarium, paddle boats and more.  Not far from the waterfront, you’ll find the Port Discovery Children’s Museum, the American Visionary Art Museum and the B&O Railroad Museum.

Where to Eat
Joe Squared is a family-owned pizza restaurant that serves coal-fired, thin crust sourdough pizza; it’s casual, family-friendly fare is not far from the waterfront attractions (and just a dough ball toss from Port Discovery).

Where to Stay
The Four Seasons Baltimore offers harbor views in almost all of its 256 rooms. It’s location makes it ideal for anyone wishing to explore the Inner Harbor area. If you want to explore the city sans kiddos, the hotel can arrange babysitting services. The hotel also offers cribs, high chairs and playpens free of charge. They even have pint-sized bathrobes and toiletries for their littlest guests.

Distance: 1 hour (40 miles)
Online: baltimore.org

Harpers Ferry, WV

What to See
This quaint town in West Virginia has beautiful paths that wind through the National Park. Your family can stand where Thomas Jefferson stood when he said it was a view worth crossing the Atlantic Ocean for. Be sure to stop by the Visitors Center so your kiddos can pick up the Jr. Ranger packet. They’ll get the most adorable badge from a park ranger. Don’t forget to hop on the shuttle on your way into Lower Town. It is stroller-friendly and the only stop with easy parking.

Where to Eat
This town is all about ice cream. There are lots of cute places to grab a bite, but ending your day with a frozen treat is a must. Check out Creamy Creations, Scoops Ice Cream or Cannonball Deli and don’t forget to ask for sprinkles on top.

Where to Stay
Connect with nature around the area and get a little more of the great outdoors by staying in one of Harpers Ferry/Civil War Battlefields KOA’s cabins. There is room for the whole family and your sweet fur baby too. Your kiddos will love bouncing on the jumping pillow, splashing in the pool and the Saturday morning all-you-can-eat pancakes at the campground.

Distance: 1 hour 15 minutes (67 miles)
Online: nps.gov

Wilmington, DE

What to See
Brandywine Valley offers many scenic, outdoor spaces to explore, like Longwood Gardens, a sprawling, 1000 acre botanical garden. For fairy-themed gardens, head to the Enchanted Woods at Winterthur, where 3-acres are dedicated to fairy-tales and magical forest creatures. On rainy days, check out the Stratosphere, a large scale (30-foot in diameter) climbing structure that makes the Delaware Children’s Museum a standout.

Where to Eat
Woodside Farm Creamery is a destination onto itself. Approximately a 30-minute drive from downtown Wilmington, this dairy-fresh ice cream shop is considered to serve the best scoops in the state. In addition to dairy deliciousness, the farm hosts family-friendly activities, like a children’s story time and telescope nights.

Where to Stay
Most activities in the Brandywine region are located within a 10 mile radius of Wilmington, DE, making the often-overlooked city the perfect place to set up camp. Downtown’s Courtyard Wilmington is within walking distance of the historic district and waterfront. Rooms feature mini fridges and microwaves. If you’re looking to unwind from the day’s activities, relax by the hotel’s fire pit or take a dip in the outdoor pool.

Distance: 2 hours (120 miles)
Online: visitwilmingtonde.com

Lancaster, PA

What to See
Arriving in Amish country invites your family to step back to a more peaceful time. Take a leisurely ride on the Strasburg Rail Road. Or visit the Hands-On House  for tons of interactive learning fun. Children aged 2-10 will love this stop on your trip. A bicycle is the best way to see the PA Amish countryside; check out Bikeworks Bike Tours provide a unique way to explore the area.

What to Eat
Miller’s Smorgasbord Restaurant has been serving really good food since 1929. They offer multiple dining options and tons of delicious dishes. Many of their ingredients come from local farms. Check their website for family specials and coupons.

Where to Stay
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in a tiny house? Tiny Estates offers a one-of-a-kind experience in one of their many tiny houses. You can go really tiny with room for two or spread out in one of the gorgeous houses that accommodates six.

Distance: 2 hours and 15 minutes (125 miles)
Online: discoverlancaster.com

Williamsburg, VA

What to See
History never gets old in this almost 400-year-old town. Help your child “get into character” by renting an adorable period costume. The stories will come alive and make the whole experience more real. Hop on a horse-drawn carriage for a truly authentic way to see the city. Drive 30 minutes up the road to the Powhatan Indian Village to learn about Pocahontas and her way of life.

Where to Eat
Stop by Dubois Grocer to satisfy that afternoon sweet tooth. The friendly store attendant will be more than happy to send you home with some rock candy. At Food for Thought, you’ll dine surrounded by thought-provoking quotes. Cute discussion cards are left on the table to help with dinner conversation. Pick an eclectic dish from the gluten-free or senior’s menu. The kid’s menu is little foodie heaven with salmon, ribs and pot roast, to name a few.  

Where to Stay
Holiday Inn Club Vacations Williamsburg Resort features 2 and 3-bedroom villas with fully-equipped kitchens and in-unit laundry. A home away from home with everything your family needs to kick back and relax. Pools, Putt Putt, playgrounds and tons of family-style amenities are fun for the whole gang.

Distance: 2 hours and 45 minutes (153 miles)
Online: visitwilliamsburg.com  

Franklin, VA

What to See
Peanuts, peanuts and more peanuts! Southampton County is known for its peanut farms, peanut shops and peanut museums. Stop by Hope & Harmony Farms to grab a few gourmet bags. Visit Ballyshannon Equestrian Center for a pony or horse ride around their beautiful property. Take a guided kayak tour with Blackwater Outfitters Nottoway River Guides. Meet the locals at the Saturday morning farmers market and take home a few homemade treats for your crew.

What to Eat
Fred’s Restaurant is located in the heart of downtown Franklin. It has been a local tradition since 1945. Saturday mornings draw a crowd for the all-you-can-eat buffet and fish fry. Grab a seat on their “secret garden” patio complete with wrought iron fence and brick fireplace. The slightly overgrown foliage offers a fairy tale moment.

Where to Stay
Check in to PandA Homestead for an authentic farm stay experience. Your kiddos can help with farm chores by hand feeding their friendly goats, cuddling baby chicks and trying out their best turkey calls. You’ll get to relax in the 2-bedroom guest cottage. Wake up to homemade strawberry jam and fresh eggs in the fridge.

Distance: 3 hours 15 minutes (185 miles)
Online: visitfranklinsouthamptonva.com/

Pittsburgh, PA

What to See
This city should be renamed Kidsburgh because it is packed with kid-friendly activities and family-centric restaurants. If you’re in town for just the weekend, these attractions make the short list: The Phipps Conservatory Botanical GardensCarnegie Museum of Natural History  and the Carnegie Science Center . The Duquesne Incline  offers magnificent views of the city. Fans of Daniel Tiger will love it’s striking resemblance to the television trolley!

What to Eat
Schenley Plaza — a five-acre community space in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood — offers a dining plaza with four food kiosks including Waffallonia, which offers authentic Liège sugar waffles with all sorts of delicious toppings. The Porch is a full-service restaurant that also features a children’s garden and stage area. Before your meal (because, really, who wants to spin around post nosh), check out the PNC Carousel.

Where to Stay
The Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh features the Kimpton Kid program, which includes a welcome gift, a pet goldfish during your stay, complimentary cribs and more. We think Mom and Dad will appreciate the rooftop Biergarten!

Distance: 4 hours (242 miles)
Online: visitpittsburgh.com

Asheville, NC

What to See
The drive from DC to Asheville is one of the most scenic drives our country has to offer passing through the Blue Ridge Mountains, George Washington and Jefferson National Forest and finally, getting a quick peak of the Great Smokey Mountains before you arrive in Asheville. If the mountain drive has you singing “the hills are alive with the sound of music,” head first to the Pisgah National Forest, which covers over 500,000 acres in the Asheville area. There are a number of waterfalls throughout the park; most famous is Looking Glass Falls. Older kiddos will love Sliding Rock, a natural water slide. Still want more outdoor activities? You can spend an entire day on the grounds of the Biltmore; the Estate offers a number of kid-friendly activities, including a playground, a petting zoo, toys from the 1800s, and daily crafts and activities. Other area highlights include the Great Smokey Mountain Railroad, the Asheville Pinball Museum, and the Asheville Museum of Science.

Where to Eat
The Early Girl Eatery offers southern comfort food (think artisanal biscuits, grits and fried green tomatoes) in a farm table style restaurant in the heart of downtown.

Where to Stay
The Farm Cabins and Cottages offer a rural retreat just eight miles west of Asheville. Built from reclaimed timber and vintage tin roofs, these rustic exteriors are filled with modern conveniences and decor — perfect for large families. After a long day exploring the area, relax next to a cabin or cottage fireplace (each residence has one!).

Distance: 7 hours (470 miles)
Online: exploreasheville.com

Charleston, SC

What to See
Charleston made our list because, while it’s a long-haul, it is still do-able in a day’s drive. And once you reach your destination, we promise the historic architecture, gas lights and palm trees will make you feel like you’ve arrived in a city somewhere across the ocean. The Charleston Visitor Center (375 Meeting Street) is a great place to start your adventure. Next door, you’ll find Children’s Museum of Lowcountry  which features eight themed exhibit rooms and hands-on activities (including a giant. life-size pirate ship). The South Carolina Aquarium offers plenty of hands-on exhibits and interactive play spaces. For outdoor fun, check out the Hazel V Parker Playground (a great pit stop when walking from the Waterfront Park to the Battery).

Where to Eat
The French Quarter’s Brown Dog Deli offers artisan sandwiches in casual atmosphere. We just want to warn you; this is a local hot-spot, so be prepared to wait if you visit during the lunch hour rush. The portions sizes, reasonable prices, and elevated ingredients make it worth it.

Where to Stay
Just over the bridge from downtown Charleston, the Residence Inn Charleston Riverview offers spacious suites with complete kitchens. In addition to offering a complimentary breakfast, the hotel offers free snacks, like DIY s'mores and happy hour beers. There is also a pool on-site.

Distance: 7.5 hours (532 miles)
Online: charlestoncvb.com

Pigeon Forge, TN

What to See
This exciting, family-friendly town is worth the trek. Located at the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, Pigeon Forge offers a ton of fun and scenic beauty that inspires unforgettable memories. The Island at Pigeon Forge is a spot everyone in your family can enjoy. Take in the sights from the top of the huge, enclosed ferris wheel. Boogie down to the sounds of the dancing fountains and grab a few ropes on the adventure course. Start your day early at America's most visited National Park, the Great Smoky Mountains. Sugarlands Trail is the perfect hike at less than a mile. And a visit to Pigeon Forge wouldn't be complete without a stop at Dollywood.

Where to Eat
Grab a spot on the patio at Timberwood Grill. It looks out over all the fun at The Island at Pigeon Forge. The kid’s menu includes the normal favorites and a skillet steak for your big eater. The adults will love the ribs and the signature cocktail menu.

Where to Stay
A room with a view of the on-site waterpar? Sign us up! Country Cascades Waterpark Resort boasts a huge kiddie area with huge pouring buckets and big water guns. The rooms have a small kitchenette, but if you're not in the mood to utilize it, you can enjoy the complimentary hot breakfast every morning.

Distance: 7 hours and 30 minutes (482 miles)
Online: mypigeonforge.com/  

Orlando, FL

What to Do
We bet your kiddos can name three great reasons to go to the Orlando area—Disney World, Universal  Studios and Legoland Florida. We can think of one more: you can drive there! It's a long-haul, for sure, but still do-able in one day. And there are plenty of fun places to stop along the way.

Where to Eat
You don't have to buy a theme ticket to enjoy a theatrical dining experience. The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen (the portions are as big as the name!) offers traditional entrees with out-of-this-world desserts. Willy Wonka has nothing on this chocolate factory! It's a-ok to have birthday cake for dinner (and, let's face it, the platter could easily feed all the mouths). If the food doesn't delight (and we know it will) the steampunk robot that makes the rounds during dinner will!

Where to Stay
If you're coming to Florida in numbers, Cabana Bay Beach Resort is the place to stay. With suites that can accommodate up to six, this 70s-inspired motel hotel is a budget-friendly place to set up camp. Family suites have an in-room microwave to heat up popcorn snacks or a microwave meal as well as small fridges to stash juice boxes and water bottles. These rooms have a dividing wall so that everyone in your party can enjoy privacy. Big kiddos will enjoy the lazy river while the under 5 set will want to hang in the sand pit.

Distance: 13 hours (847 miles)
Online: visitorlando.com

—Angelica Kajiwara and Meghan Yudes Meyers