Explore D.C. or Old Town Alexandria from Gaylord National Hotel
201 Waterfront Street
National Harbor, Md. 20745
At the Gaylord National Hotel, families may enjoy the majestic fountain display, which combines lights, sound and water for a mesmerizing experience. Take a dip in its heated Olympic-sized pool, and play games in the new family arcade. Moreover, with an 18-story glass atrium full of vibrant indoor gardens and tranquil flowing waterways, kids and adults may find it a fascinating atmosphere for strolling, dining and shopping. For a one-of-a-kind experience, opt for atrium-view accommodations that overlook the unique colonial street front and scenic gardens. Also, starting Nov. 16, Gaylord hosts its award-winning ICE! attraction that features a hand-sculpted winter wonderland created out of 5,000 blocks of ice, weighing 1.5 million pounds.
Downtown D.C. by Shuttle
Price: $20 adult round-trip/$10 children ages 3 to 23 round-trip
Daily shuttle service departs every 90 minutes starting at 9 a.m. from Gaylord’s main lobby to Union Station and the Old Post Office. Once in D.C., families have a multitude of options to choose from including the Kids Euro Festival (through Nov. 13), a variety of holiday craft shows such as the Washington Craft Show (Nov. 16 to 18), and Thanksgiving parades. If you’re seeking access to breath-taking foliage, then take a short ride on the metro to Foggy Bottom and visit Rock Creek Park, considered a gem in the nation’s capital especially in the fall.
Price: $14 adult round-trip/$8 children ages 2 to 10 round-trip/free for children younger than 2
Visit Old Town Alexandria’s historic waterfront for shopping, dining and enjoying live music and street performers. There’s plenty to do in the great outdoors on a beautiful fall day, or if the weather’s not cooperating, catch up on some history at museums, historic homes and Civil War sites. End the day with a delicious bite to eat along the water while watching the sailboats come in to dock. The water taxi also services Mount Vernon, where families may visit President George Washington’s home at the estate and gardens in all of its autumn glory, and then on to Georgetown with incredible views of the monuments from along the river.
The Mill Pond Cottage at Gunpowder Falls State Park
2813 Jerusalem Road
Kingsville, Md. 21087
Price: $200 per night with a two-night minimum (three nights on holiday weekends)
For autumn cabin camping with all of the modern conveniences of home, the Mill Pond cottage offers guests a gorgeous outdoor paradise filled with countless activities, such as world-class trout fishing, paddling, canoeing or kayaking, and miles of trails for hiking and biking. This cottage features everything to make your woodland stay comfortable, including a full kitchen, washer and dryer, TV, cable, Internet, and for those cold nights, central heat and/or a wood-burning fireplace for staying cozy. Additionally, just outside of the park are an array of tempting activities ranging from old-fashioned diners and cafes to antique shopping, art galleries, plus a host of fall events at the Maryland State Fairgrounds, including the Irish Festival running from Nov. 10 to 12.
8602 Gambrill Park Road
Frederick, Md. 21702
Price: roughly $51.49 per night/may vary by date
Located on the ridge of the Catoctin Mountains, Gambrill State Park offers more than 1,100 acres of beautiful fall foliage and wildlife wonders perfect for the nature-loving family. Enjoy the traditional beauty of a campfire while watching the stars before retiring to your Camper Cabin. These lodgings are small rustic cabins with beds that fit four to six people and include a grill for outdoor cooking and nearby restroom facilities. Be prepared as the cabins are not heated and can make for a chilly night. Families may enjoy the colorful scenery from 16 miles of trails available for hiking, mountain biking or horseback riding. Also, a pond in the Rock Run area of the park contains lots of bass, bluegill and catfish for fishing.
Related: Best Parks For Kids In Baltimore
Keri Ann Beazell is a Baltimore writer following the latest developments in arts and culture, natural wonders, lifestyle and pets. She enjoys promoting thought-provoking discussions, education, new ideas and smiles among readers. Follow her on Twitter at @KtBlue16 and online at Examiner.com