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Northern Virginia, Baltimore, Maryland, Washington DC Scenic Drives

Things to do / Travel Guide

Tucked within lush hills and a winding river, and with a series of historic attractions that can also be appreciated from a distance, DC and the surrounding region is a splendid area in which to take a scenic drive.

Northern Virginia Scenic Drives

A 25-mile drive along the George Washington Memorial Parkway takes sightseers along the shoreline of the Potomac River and past the Washington DC skyline. The drive begins at George Washington's estate at Mount Vernon, continues through historic Alexandria, Virginia, runs close to Reagan International Airport, and finishes by the sites of the nation's capital. As many of the sights are worth slowing down for to see, the drive can take up to a few hours to complete.

For those who love colorful fall foliage, a short drive out of the city to Theodore Roosevelt Island is a visual spectacle to behold in the fall. The 88-acre park is filled with trees, which are best appreciated in the fall, but also quite enjoyable to see in other seasons.

Potomac Scenic Drives

The Clara Barton Parkway parallels the Potomac River on the Maryland side, from the border of the District of Colombia near Chain Bridge to just beyond the Beltway at Carderock Park. The route provides access to scenic points of interest, including Glen Echo Park and is an interesting alternative to the George Washington Memorial Parkway, across the scenic Potomac in Virginia. Continuing for about a mile on MacArthur Blvd at the western terminus of the Clara Barton Parkway will take you to Great Falls Park.

Baltimore to Washington Scenic Drives

If, instead of a circular path, you prefer to travel from point A to point B via a scenic route, try the Baltimore-Washington Memorial Parkway. The Baltimore-Washington Parkway takes drivers between the two cities via a gently-curving 30-mile-long route through wooded regions, which are simply stunning in the fall.

Maryland Scenic Drives

Combining scenic views with history, the Historic National Road was the first “interstate highway” in the country. Not “interstate” in terms of today – no 70 MPH speed limit, three level interchanges, etc, but interstate by definition. The National Historic Road spanned 6 states, to connect Baltimore with Illinois, close to St. Louis. The road, built in the early 1800's was a gateway to the west.

The portion from Cumberland, Maryland to Baltimore, Maryland was also known as part of the National Pike. The scenic drive has many historical points of interest along the route.