By Carla Olivo, Marine Spouse

Quantico is on the list of many military installations that make up the National Capital Region.

The PentagonFort Belvoir, Fort Myers, Joint Base Bolling, and Andrews AFB are all places where you could venture out every day and experience something entirely new and unique.

Here is Your Quantico Bucket List of “once in a lifetime” or at least “once at this duty station” things to do and places to see.

Your Quantico Bucket List

Visit the Marine Corps Museum

I know this might seem like a no-brainer given that this museum sits right outside the Quantico gates, but it is also one of the most exciting and interactive museums in the National Capital Region. And that is saying a lot since Washington D.C. is packed with some excellent museums. The Marine Corps Museum is great for kids and should be on your list of places to take all your visitors.

Take a Twilight Tour of the Monuments 

Aside from the Marine Corps Museum, most of the other museums and monuments of note are in Washington D. C.. Several companies offer tours of the monuments at night. From the enormity of the Lincoln Memorial to the beauty of the Jefferson Memorial on the Potomac River to the solemnity of the Vietnam Memorial Wall, the monuments are a sight to be seen as the sun goes down. Spend an evening exploring these iconic buildings and statues for memories to last a lifetime.

Visit the White House

Many of the area Spouses Clubs organize trips to the White House during the holidays. If you want to do it with your family, requests must be made through a member of Congress and can be submitted up to six months in advance and no less than 21 days before your visit. Self-guided tours are available from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, excluding federal holidays. Tours fill up quickly so submit your tour request as early as possible. Free White House tours are filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

Arlington Attractions

One of the most popular attractions is President John F. Kennedy’s grave in Arlington National Cemetery. The entire site, with a total area of about 3.2 acres, was set aside by the Secretary of the Army with the approval of the Secretary of Defense to honor the memory of the President. The Eternal Flame, lighted by Mrs. Kennedy on the day of the funeral, now burns from the center of a 5-foot circular flat granite stone located at the head of the President’s grave.

More than 400,000 American service members, veterans, and their family members are buried at the 612-acre national cemetery. The changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is another popular attraction.

Outdoor Fun

If being on the water is your thing, take a cruise on the Rappahannock River. Several companies offer boat trips that last a couple of hours and provide some great nature sight-seeing.

If you’d like to get a little exercise in while you are on the water, rent a kayak on the Occoquan River, a tributary of the Potomac River about a half hour north of Quantico. You can rent kayaks, paddleboards or a small boat. After your water adventure, check out the town which features small shops and some unique restaurants.

Strange and Wacky!

“Most” of Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson Is buried in a Lexington, Virginia, cemetery that bears his name. But in a strange twist of events, his arm was buried separately.  In the spring of 1863, Jackson had just launched a devastating attack against Union forces at Chancellorsville. A North Carolina regiment, unable to see who was riding up on them, opened fire and Jackson’s left arm was shattered and later amputated. His body was shipped to Lexington while his arm received its own burial. Also noteworthy, the arm has been dug up and reburied numerous times. But the original simple gravestone remains at Ellwood Manor in Locust Grove.

Beautiful Tribute

Once a year during Memorial Day weekend more than 15,000 candles are lit in Fredericksburg just 10 miles south of Quantico. The candles are for each soldier buried at the Fredericksburg National Cemetery and it is a sight to behold! The luminaria pays tribute to soldiers who have given their lives for their country. Boy Scouts of America and Girl Scouts of the USA light each candle. A bugler plays “Taps” every 30 minutes during the evening, and park attendants tell the stories of the soldiers interred there.

If you have anything to add to our Quantico Bucket List, please comment below.

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Carla, PCSgrades Strategic Communications Director, has garnered numerous TV industry awards including the Associated Press award for Spot News Reporting, and Documentary Reporting. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, a retired USMC Lt. Colonel and their two children.
Carla Olivo