Take a Break With These Local Weekend Getaways

Immerse yourself in culture, catch some rays or ride the river with these quick vacation spots, all within driving distance. 🚗
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Take a break and celebrate the start of summer with a quick getaway to Baltimore, Bethany Beach or Harper’s Ferry. (Photo of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor by Brendan Beale on Unsplash)

In need of a weekend getaway? Arlington is within driving distance of many worthy vacation destinations. If you’re in search of an urban adventure, some beachy vibes or quality time in the great outdoors, we’ve got some ideas for the journey—whether it’s a 72-hour escape or just one amazing day.

Baltimore, Maryland

Take off for Charm City on a mini vacay full of culture and fun. Here’s what a sample day might look like: Tote your mat and do some outdoor yoga at Canton Waterfront Park, then reward yourself with breakfast at Miss Shirley’s. (Did someone say fried green tomatoes and funky monkey bread?) Head to the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture for a performance, workshop or exhibition. Have lunch at Broadway Market in the Fell’s Point neighborhood. Then, pop over to Federal Hill for a visit to the American Visionary Art Museum and an ice cream taco from Bmore Licks. As the sun sets, take a stroll around the Inner Harbor for fantastic views of historic ships and the glittering lights of the city.

Nightlife buzz: The city sports an array of small and large live music venues, including Ottobar, The 8×10 and CFG Bank Arena. If riding a mechanical bull is more your scene, make a date with PBR Baltimore in the late-night complex known as Power Plant Live.

Kid stuff: Got little ones in tow? Try the National Aquarium, Maryland Science Center or an adventure cruise with Urban Pirates.

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Enjoy the boardwalk, “mangoritas” and beach reads at Bethany Beach. (Photo by Max Shein on Unsplash)

Bethany Beach, Delaware

If you’re looking for a chill beach to say hello to summer, Bethany Beach is a great candidate. Roll out of bed each morning for some banana nut waffles from Sunshine Crepes or an OG acai bowl from 3BB Cafe. Then, pop into Water Lili or Alice & Laila for beach wear and accessories. After you pick up some beach reading from Bethany Beach Books, stretch out on the sand to catch some rays. Need a snack? Set out on the half-mile-long Bethany Beach Boardwalk to snag some fried potato goodness at Boardwalk Fries or liquid refreshment at Mango’s “no-shower happy hour.” And maybe stick around for some live entertainment.

Nightlife buzz: Dewey Beach is a roughly 15-minute drive up the road from Bethany, and a hotspot for cover bands and pizza tosses.

Kid stuff: If the kids need a break from the beach, take them for some sweet treats at Candy Kitchen, to play a few holes at Dinoland Golf or to spy some great finds at Comics and Gaming.

Harpers Ferry Houses

Harper’s Ferry offers history, ghost tours and a taste of the great outdoors. (Photo by EDrost88 CC by 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons)

Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia

Get away from the hustle and bustle with a trip to this idyllic setting at the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers. Start your day with a scenic walk along the Shenandoah Canal before grabbing a cup of joe and a pastry from Battle Grounds Bakery & Coffee. Visit John Brown’s Fort, the building where abolitionist John Brown and others hid during their 1859 raid leading up to the Civil War. (There’s also a John Brown Wax Museum in town.) Book a whitewater rafting trip with River Riders for a several-mile journey down the Potomac or Shenandoah. Then, dry off as you trek along the Appalachian Trail by way of Jefferson Rock, where Thomas Jefferson once stood in 1783. “The passage of the Patowmac through the Blue Ridge is perhaps one of the most stupendous scenes in Nature,” he later wrote. Grab a bite at The Rabbit Hole in town or The Press Room in nearby Shepherdstown. And if you’ve got the energy, prepare to be scared on a ghost tour of the historic town.

Nightlife buzz: The Barn of Harper’s Ferry hosts live tunes—including bluegrass, jazz, funk and rock—each Friday and Saturday night. White Horse Tavern also has regular entertainment and stays open relatively late on weekends.

Kid stuff: If you need an extra treat for the kids, head to Creamy Creations or True Treats, specializing in historic candies (think honey sesame brittle and candied violet petals).


Categories: Travel