Fun Day Trips from Fort Belvoir

By Carla Olivo, Marine Spouse

So many day trips, so little time! You can explore the streets of New York, dip your toes in the Atlantic Ocean in Delaware or walk the battlefields of Gettysburg all within a day’s drive of Northern Virginia. Here are our suggestions for some fabulous day trips from Fort Belvoir.

Fun Day Trips from Fort Belvoir

The Beauty of Maryland

Just a little over an hour’s drive, 57 miles from NOVA is the historic town of Annapolis, Maryland. This gorgeous town features quaint restaurants and the Naval Academy! The Naval Academy Visitor Center is located inside USNA Gate 1 at the Annapolis Harbor. You can take a guided walking or riding tour.

The town of St. Michael’s, Maryland has scenic water views like no other! This beautiful little town is just over 100 miles or a two-hour drive from Fort Belvoir. Maryland’s Eastern Shore features delicious seafood to include a local favorite: Maryland crabs!

For the History Buff

Relive the civil war in Gettysburg (95 miles), or immerse yourself in the life of the Amish in Lancaster (145 miles), Pennsylvania.

Get your sweet on and learn the unique story of Milton Hersey (143 Miles) in Hershey, PA. Hershey Park offers a military discount.

Explore the Outdoors

A three-hour drive from NOVA, the Shenandoah National Park is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, west of Washington, D.C. Skyline Drive is the only public road running through the park. Nearby Luray Caverns is the largest series of caverns in the east. This eerie underground world of stalactites and stalagmites is worth a day trip.

Chincoteague Island, Virginia is a reasonable 4-hour drive. A highlight is watching the ponies at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge on the quieter side of the Eastern Shore.

Closer to home is Great Falls National Park, 800 acres along the banks of the Potomac River. Enjoy whitewater rafting, kayaking and canoeing. For explorers, there are fifteen miles of scenic hiking trails, (five of which are multi-use for horseback riding, hiking, and biking.) You can also experience rock climbing on the cliffs in Mather Gorge above the Potomac where the falls total 76 feet over a series of major cascades.

Extending 12 miles from the Potomac River to the border of Maryland, Rock Creek Park has a lot to offer those who love being outdoors. The National Zoo is located within Rock Creek Park. You can picnic, hike, bike, roller-blade, fish, and horseback ride.

For a Taste of the Urban Life

The Virginia State Capital, Richmond is a mere 2-hour drive from NOVA. Along with some great history, Richmond has a thriving restaurant scene and craft beer breweries. Top on the list of things to see is the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts well known as home to five gorgeous Fabergé eggs and works by Degas, Cézanne, and Renoir, and a large collection of African, Indian and Tibetan art. The State Capitol Building, partially designed by Thomas Jefferson, is also a must-see.

If you like the big city, you can’t get much bigger than New York City. You can take a bus or train daily from NOVA or Union Station in downtown D.C.

Make like Rocky and take a run up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art a 3.5-hour drive. History comes alive on Independence Mall and at the Liberty Bell. Delicious local Philly cuisine is available at the historic Reading Terminal Market.

More Day Trips from Fort Belvoir

If sun and sand are more your style, a day trip to coastal Delaware is in order. Lewes, Rehoboth Beach, Dewey Beach or Bethany Beach all have something unique to offer. Lewes for a bit of history. Rehoboth is famous for the outlet shopping. Dewey for the nightlife and Bethany for its’ family-friendly beaches. Bring your lotion and your bathing suit and enjoy!

Miles of coastline and a wooden boardwalk highlight Ocean City, Maryland, an easy day trip only 170- miles from NOVA. There are several golf courses to choose from, and the best watersports and fishing on the eastern seaboard can be found in the OC.

Author: Carla Olivo, PCSgrades Strategic Communications Director, previously served as the Director of Communications for Operation Hug-A-Hero and as the Media/Community Relations Officer for the Delaware Department of Transportation. She has garnered numerous TV industry awards including the Associated Press award for Spot News Reporting, News Writing, Enterprise Reporting, and Documentary Reporting. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, a retired USMC Lt. Colonel, their two children. You can follow her on Twitter @olivowriter.

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