Summer may start in June but this Memorial Day Weekend we are officially kicking off the season. We’ve scoured the entire DMV to find the best family activities and created a summer bucket list begging to be checked off. Without further ado (and in no particular order) read on for the best things to do with kids in Washington DC (and beyond).

1 As the weather heats up, wade in and cool off in a creek. Grab those wellies and get stomping at these near-by rivers and streams.

2. Brush up on your backstroke with swim lessons and get ready for pool time! 

3. Put the pedal to the pavement with a family bike ride. Does your little need some help ditching the training wheels? Sign-up for private bike lessons here. 

4. Skip the Fish Market and reel in your own dinner

5. Build a better backyard for fun all summer long. We have 18 ways to boost your backyard fun factor here

6. Snag reserved tickets and go where the wild things roam at the National Zoo.

7. Ride the Capital Wheel at National Harbor.

8. Swing into action at one of the area's miniature golf courses for a little family-friendly competition. 

9.  With over 20,000 underwater critters, puffin feedings, a 4D Immersion Theater, and more, the National Aquarium has something that floats everyone’s boat.

10. Spend a night on the water. Rent this tiny house perched on the Potomac! 

photo: iStock

11. Rip the training wheels of the trike. Need a little help getting your wee one to balance on a bike? Sign up for this one-on-one class. 

12. Avoid the crowds at your local pool by renting a private oasis at 

13, Stir up some magic with unicorn and rainbow-themed food at your next BBQ. 

14. Discover a new playground in the DMV. This list can get you started. 

15. Start a vegetable garden. To get started, check out these DC chef tips for growing local produce. 

16. Get active outdoors with a rope course. Adventure Park at Sandy Spring Friends School offers high-flying adventures for kids 5 & up. 

17. Go chasing waterfalls at these near-by parks. 

18. Play keeper of the lighthouse for the night at the MD rental. 

19. Roll up your sleeves and log some volunteers hours as a family. These non-profits could use a helping hand! 

20. Get lost underground at Luray Caverns. Believed to be the largest caverns on the east coast, tours take you on a 1.5 mile stroller-friendly path. 


21. Spend a night under the stars (without rouging it). Hideaway Co. offers kid-friendly glamping in western MD. Sign up for a family weekend event this summer. 

22. Take a walk across the Potomac in W. VA. Goodloe Byron Memorial Footbridge in Harper's Ferry offers fantastic views of the river. 

23. Mount Vernon, George Washington’s home-sweet-home, will fill up a blank afternoon in no time.

24. Get your sugar fix with one of these iconic DMV desserts. 

25. Practice your spin moves on the open water. Rent a pedal boat at the Tidal Basis and enjoy the monuments from another viewpoint. 

26. Duck through the gates at Bishop's Garden for a quiet walk at Washington National Cathedral. 

27. Let your child burn off some steam while you escape the heat at The Lane

28. Go skiing in July! A quick trip to Liberty Mountain Snowflex Center lets you ski and snowboard year round. You can even go sledding

29. Swap your digs for a home with a private pool. These local Airbnbs let you take a dip in your own backyard. 

30.  Dream big at Once Upon a Dream where kids can play pirate or princess on life-sized structures. 

31. Revisit an old friend. The Smithsonian museums are open again! The museums are still free, but require a timed-entry ticket. Be sure to nab one before you go. 

32. Summers in DC can get hot! Be sure to cool off with one of the city's best scoops

33. Grab a picnic basket and set sail on the Potomac with Float DC. 

34. Pick your own produce at one of the DMV's top fruit (and flower) farms.

35. Or shop multiple farms at once at a local Farmer's Market

36. Get crafty in the kitchen with all that fresh produce and try out one of these summer recipes. 

37. Unwind at a low-key beach off-the-beaten path. These get-aways let you beat the beach crowd. 

38. While you are there, kick back with a good beach read

39. Spend the day at Roosevelt Island. It’s actually one of the most baby-friendly places to hike in the DMV.

40. Head to University Mall Theatres for cheap seats. Make a rainy day magical at the movies (or simply just beat the summer heat). Every day (you read that right!), movies are just five bucks! 

41. Take a spin on Glen Echo Park's carousel and celebrate this merry-go-round's 100th birthday! 

42.  Pile the pillows (and the popcorn) in the car and head to a drive-in movie for a unique screening experience. 

43. Sip, sip, hurray! Summer days were made for al-fresco dining... with wine. Spend an evening (or an entire day) at one of these family-friendly wineries. 

44. Head for the hills for a weekend stay on a local farm and let the roosters be your alarm clock for a night (or two). 

45. Take time to watch the sunset over our nation's capitol. 

46. Little ones and outdoor sculpture, it turns out, are a good combination, and a refreshing alternative to the playground circuit. Check some out.

47. Get messy outdoors with some art of your own. All you need is a hose for a quick clean-up.  

48.  Catch a circus act in the sky. Head to Bealeton, VA on Sundays this summer and prepared to be amazed by The Flying Circus. 

49.  Check out a local community garden and brush up on your gardening know-how with City Bloom's free crafts, activities and tours.

50.  Take a break from the city for a weekend in the woods. You can rent this treehouse in near-by Shenandoah National Park. 

—Meghan Yudes Meyers


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