It is hard to pick the best road trips from DC because there are so many amazing destinations that are just a couple hours away from Washington DC. From Ocean City to West Virginia, there’s plenty of options when it comes to finding the best road trips from DC.

Best Road Trips From DC Under 2 Hours Away

From travel time and picking up the fastest route (avoiding road closures and traffic) to where you might want to crash for the night (budget-friendly accommodations), we’re here to ensure your road trip is as smooth as the scenic route you’ll be cruising. Ready to roll? Let’s dive in!

Let’s first take a look at road trips that are just 2 hours or less from Washington DC. These make some of the best day trips and also make great weekend trips as well.

Middleburg, Virginia

  • Distance: 47.3 miles via VA-267 W
  • Travel Time: 1 hr 2 min 

Middleburg is located in Loudoun County and is about an hour drive from DC. Middleburg has wineries, boutiques, and opportunities for horse riding. If you’re planning to drive, remember the town’s rural charm means navigating winding, two-lane roads—so it’s best to avoid nighttime drives if you’re unfamiliar with country roads. 

As you stroll through this town, there are cute boutiques you can shop in. For foodies, Middleburg’s dining scene is unexpectedly rich. There are many great restaurants in and around Middleburg Virginia.

If you’re in need of some spa time, then check out the Salamander Hotel here. If you love wine tasting, then there are multiple wineries in this part of Virginia. 

Recommended Accommodations:

  • Salamander Resort & Spa
  • Red Fox Inn

Annapolis, Maryland

  • Distance 31.5 miles via US-50 E and 43.8 miles via Baltimore-Washington Pkwy
  • Travel Time: 43-56 min

Being the home of the United States Naval Academy, Annapolis is a blend of maritime history and modern charm. The city has many historic sites, and one of the most popular is the United States Naval Academy. Also, be sure to visit the The State House which is the nation’s oldest in continuous use. Here, George Washington’s submitted his resignation as the Continental Army’s commander. 

If you enjoy water activities, you can charter a boat or go on a guided tour. After your time on the water, check out the many awesome restaurants here.

Indulge in the city’s seafood delicacies. The oysters and iconic crab dishes are a must-try. If you enjoy wine, you may not know that there are actually quite a few wineries in and around Annapolis. 

Recommended Accommodations:

  • The Westin Annapolis
  • Historic Inns of Annapolis

Baltimore, Maryland

  • Distance: 38.3 miles via Baltimore-Washington Pkwy and MD-295 N
  • Travel Time: 55 min

Known as the “Charm City,” Baltimore boasts more than just its renowned Inner Harbor; it’s a melting pot of history, culture, and fun. For a deep dive into American heritage, make Fort McHenry your first stop. This National Monument is a living testament to the War of 1812 and the birthplace of the Star-Spangled Banner. 

Inner Harbor in Baltimore

For something more ancient, the Walters Art Museum offers treasures dating back to the Egyptian era. But let’s not forget the heart of the city, which is the beautiful Inner Harbor. There are many things to do in the Inner Harbor from activities to dining.

If traveling with children, Baltimore also has zoos and of course the National Aquarium. Both the Maryland Zoo and the Aquarium are great places to check out with kids.

Recommended Accommodations:

  • Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore
  • Sagamore Pendry

Tilghman Island & St. Michaels On Maryland’s Eastern Shore

  • Distance: 88.7 miles via US-50 E
  • Travel Time: 1 hr 46 min 

Dive into the heart of Chesapeake Bay and explore the small-town charm of these coastal gems, just 50 miles from Annapolis. Cross the Knapps Narrows bridge into a boater’s paradise brimming with history. 

St. Michael’s and the nearby Tilghman Island are great romantic getaways from DC. Especially for couples who love water views and seafood, you will really enjoy a few days here. One of the best things about these two spots is that they are very close to each other. So you can easily explore both. 

Enjoy waterfront dining, explore the rich tales at the Watermen’s Museum, and indulge in water sports. From the cute Tilghman Island Country Store to the serenity of Black Walnut Point, this coastal gem promises an unforgettable escape. 

Recommended Accommodations:

  • The Inn at Perry Cabin
  • Wylder Hotel Tilghman Island

Leesburg, VA

  • Distance: 40.1 miles via VA-267 W
  • Travel Time: 48 min

Drenched in American history and nestled alongside the scenic Potomac River, Leesburg offers a blend of historical sites and modern attractions, including top-notch vineyards. If you’re driving from Washington, you can stop by at some of the wineries along the way. Or you can take short shopping break at Tysons Corner.

Nearing Leesburg, places like Dulles or Ashburn Farm are just a stone’s throw away. Once in Leesburg, you can check the Leesburg Premium Outlets for great shopping. And of course, Leesburg has some great restaurants to try as well.

Recommended Accommodations:

  • Lansdowne Resort and Spa
  • Home2Suites By Hilton

Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia

  • Distance: 63.8 miles via I-270 N and US-340 W and (82.7 miles) via VA-267 W and VA-7 W
  • Travel Time: 1 hr 11 min and 1 hr 36 min 

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park is a true jewel just a short drive northwest of Washington D.C. Located where the Shenandoah kisses the Potomac, this picturesque town is the meeting point of Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. 

Harpers Ferry is more than just a feast for the eyes; it’s a great place to learn about America’s Civil War history. Notably, it was the backdrop for John Brown’s renowned arsenal siege and is just a stone’s throw from the Bolivar Heights battlefield.

Navigating parking might be a tad tricky, especially in the heart of the town. A pro-tip? Head to the Visitor Center for spacious parking, and from there, either take a scenic walk or hop on a shuttle into the town. While you’re there, be sure to tread the railroad bridge; it’s part of the famed Appalachian Trail and offers breathtaking panoramic views. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, the hike to Maryland Heights promises unmatched vistas of Harpers Ferry. It might be a bit of a climb, but the reward? Absolutely priceless.

Recommended Accommodations:

  • Clarion Inn Harpers Ferry
  • The Town’s Inn

Best Road Trips From DC: 2 to 4 Hours Away

If you do not mind driving a bit further, there are even more great road trip destinations to explore. Let’s take a look at the best road trips from Washington DC that are less than a 4 hour drive one way.

Irvington, Virginia 

  • Distance: 126 miles via VA-3 E
  • Travel Time: 2 hr 36 min 

Irvington, with its cozy charm, is a lovely waterfront village. When you stay at The Tides Inn, you get beautiful views and top comforts. This little spot in Virginia is perfect for a chill weekend away. You can enjoy tasty local foods, cool little shops, and learn about the area’s history. The drive there, especially from big cities, is calm and pretty. Once you’re in town, it’s all about relaxing and having fun. From peaceful moments by Carter’s Creek to fun events in town, Irvington makes every visit special.

Recommended Accommodations:

  • The Tides Inn
  • The Hope and Glory Inn

Farmington, Pennsylvania

  • Distance: 183 miles via I-70 W and I-68 W
  • Travel Time: 3 hr 11 min 

A short drive to Farmington promises an elite stay at Nemacolin, a luxury resort that sits amidst the scenic beauty of Pennsylvania. While the resort itself is a haven, the surrounding area is brimming with attractions. Just around the corner is the Ohiopyle State Park, a hotspot for thrilling white-water rafting, scenic biking trails, and invigorating hikes. 

History buffs will appreciate being a stone’s throw away from Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic Fallingwater and the historical Wharton Iron Furnace, which played its part during the Civil War. And if you’re curious about the lesser-known bits of Pennsylvania history, places like Jumonville Glen and General Braddock’s gravesite give a deeper dive into the past. 

For architecture enthusiasts, the Kentuck Knob, which is another of Wright’s masterpieces, is nearby.

Recommended Accommodations:

  • Nemacolin Woodlands Resort

Tangier Island, Virginia

  • Distance: 186 miles via US-13
  •  Travel Time: 3 hr 43 min non-stop 

Tangier Island is a unique spot. It is sometimes called the “soft shell capital,” and lets you experience the genuine charm of a fishing village that has been untouched by modern development. Getting to Tangier Island can be a bit tricky. Once aboard the boat, keep an eye out for ospreys and perhaps even a surprise appearance from playful dolphins. 

As you navigate the narrow lanes on the island by golf cart, you will get a real sense for what life on the Chesapeake Bay is like. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy exploring marshes, tidal streams, and chatting with the 700 locals about their cherished way of life. With whispers of its looming disappearance, Tangier remains an unmissable gem for every traveler.

Recommended Accommodations:

  • Bay View Inn
  • Shirley’s Bay View Inn

Assateague State Park, Maryland

  • Distance: 148 miles via US-50 E
  • Travel Time: 2 hr 45 min 

A perfect place for nature lovers, Assateague offers the unique sight of wild horses roaming its beaches, a visitor center packed with information, and great picnic table spots to relax. And if you prefer an easy walk, there are simple trails that take you past marshes, sand dunes, and an old lighthouse. 

If camping sounds fun, you can set up a tent near the ocean. But if you prefer a bed and some food options, the nearby town of Chincoteague has hotels and restaurants.

Recommended Accommodations:

  • Frontier Town Campground
  • Francis Scott Key Family Resort

Charlottesville, Virginia

  • Distance: 115 miles by road
  • Travel Time: 2 hours 13 minutes

Home to Monticello and rich in both American and black history, Charlottesville is a cultural hotspot surrounded by vineyards and historic homes. Dive deep into the life of founding father Thomas Jefferson with a visit to his iconic Monticello, or walk the hallowed halls of the University of Virginia, a globally recognized institution and a testament to Jefferson’s vision. 

University Of Virginia, Charlottesville

The downtown area has quaint boutiques, art galleries, and eateries. Beyond the urban allure, Virginia’s wine country beckons, with local vineyards ready to acquaint you with the state’s blossoming wine culture. And if the great outdoors calls your name, the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains offer hiking trails and vistas that are a sight to behold.

Recommended Accommodations:

  • Keswick Hall
  • The Clifton

Cape May, New Jersey

  • Distance: 187 miles via I-95 N
  • Travel Time: 3 hr 30 min

A historic town with pristine beaches and a famous lighthouse, Cape May is one of the best weekend getaways with a touch of Victorian charm. Loved by folks from New Jersey and Pennsylvania, this beach haven is more than just sandy shores; it’s like taking a step back in time with its beautiful Victorian homes. 

Many of the homes here have been converted into charming bed and breakfasts. It is a great place for both the family as well as for a romantic getaway.

If you are a seafood fan, you will also enjoy Cape May. The town’s got you with its top-notch eateries. And between meals? Browse the local boutiques or unwind in a park, soaking up the views. It’s a blend of history, relaxation, and beach vibes all in one.

Recommended Accommodations:

  • Congress Hall
  • The Southern Mansion

Hudson Valley, New York

  • Distance: 314 miles via I-95 N
  • Travel Time: 5 hr 4 min

Located 2 hours north of NYC, and 5 hours from DC by car, the Hudson Valley has many quaint towns, historic homes, and a charm that’s hard to resist. During your drive you can stop in at a few fun spots along the way. Stops like the Lyndhurst Mansion in Tarrytown to Frederic Church’s mesmerizing Olana State Historic Site invite you to step back in time. 

Once you’re in Hudson Valley, there’s tons to do. If you enjoy hiking and water activities you will find both of these here. 

Recommended Accommodations:

  • Mohonk Mountain House
  • The Roundhouse

Roanoke, Virginia

  • Distance: 243 miles via I-81 S
  • Travel Time: 3 hr 46 min

Roanoke, a city in the Blue Ridge Mountains, is a hub for culture and outdoor activities. The scenic drives, hiking trails, and museums make it a must-visit. The neighboring Jefferson National Forest beckons with breathtaking hikes, including the famed McAfee’s Knob. Offering unparalleled views over the Roanoke Valley, it’s a visual treat. For a different angle of the Knob, a drive up Mill Mountain in Roanoke is recommended, where the landmark resembles a saddle’s pommel. 

Winding through Roanoke’s mountain roads, pause at local wineries or valley eateries. The city’s artsy pulse is evident in its craft fairs and downtown music. From canoeing the Roanoke River to exploring Market Square, Roanoke melds adventure with Southern allure.

Recommended Accommodations:

  • Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center
  • Blue Moon Guesthouse

Virginia Beach, Virginia

  • Distance: 200 miles via I-81 S
  • Travel Time: 3 hr 30 min

Being relatively close to D.C., Virginia Beach is ideal for a road trip from DC. The shorter drive means you can spend more time enjoying the destination and less time on the road.

Virginia Beach has a variety of water-related activities, including swimming, surfing, paddleboarding, and kayaking. The Virginia Beach Boardwalk, a 3-mile-long stretch with a separate bike path, is perfect for strolling, biking, and rollerblading while enjoying ocean views.

Beyond the beach, the area offers several state parks and natural areas, such as First Landing State Park, where visitors can hike, bike, and explore diverse ecosystems. The Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge is another excellent spot for hiking, bird watching, and encountering local wildlife.

Virginia Beach has a rich history and cultural scene, with attractions like the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, the Military Aviation Museum, and the historic Cape Henry Lighthouse. The ViBe Creative District showcases local art, with murals, galleries, and artisan shops.

Depending on the time of year, Virginia Beach hosts various events and festivals, including the Neptune Festival, the East Coast Surfing Championships, and live music events along the boardwalk.

Recommended Accommodations:

  • Moxy Virginia Beach
  • Blue Moon Guesthouse


  • Distance: 228 miles via I-95 N
  • Travel Time: 4 hours 9 minutes

The bustling heart of New York City, Manhattan, offers endless attractions. While it makes an easy road trip from DC, you can also take the train to New York. Depending on when you are going and how many people you are traveling with the train could be cheaper. If going with a group then driving will be more economical.

Manhattan has endless things to do from great shows to great restaurants. There are also museums and parks and many galleries to explore. 

Recommended Accommodations:

  • The Plaza Hotel
  • The Langham, New York, Fifth Avenue


  • Distance: 268 miles via I-95 N and I-78 E
  • Travel Time: 5 hours 11 minutes

Brooklyn’s the spot if you’re into that cool, artsy vibe. Walking the Brooklyn Bridge is a must do activity during your visit here. Between the blend of old-school charm and the fresh, new-wave stuff, it’s like stepping into two worlds at once. And the food is amazing too. 

The Manhattan Bridge offers a unique vantage point, free from dense crowds, and treats onlookers to an unobstructed view of its neighbor, the Brooklyn Bridge. Once in Brooklyn, the area known as DUMBO (“Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass”) awaits exploration, boasting a mix of historic charm and trendy spots.

While Manhattan is easy to access by train, some parts of Brooklyn may be better to get to by car. 

Recommended Accommodations:

  • The William Vale
  • 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge


  • Distance: 139 miles via I-95 N and 152 miles via US-50 E and US-301 N
  • Travel Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes

Philadelphia is a city steeped in history. If the grandeur of D.C. captivated you, Philly won’t disappoint. With gems like Independence Hall—where, beneath the watchful gaze of the George Washington Statue, the Declaration of Independence found its voice—it’s a city that feels like a living history book. Dive deeper, and you’ll discover treasures like the Liberty Bell, echoing tales of freedom, and the grand Philadelphia Museum of Art, its steps immortalized by Rocky. 

In addition to tons of historical attractions, Philly has a great dining scene. There are some amazing restaurants all over the city, and their prices tend to be much more reasonable than the prices you may see in NYC or DC.

Recommended Accommodations:

  • The Four Seasons
  • Kimpton Hotel Monaco

Best Road Trips From DC: 4 to 8 Hours Away

If you’re willing to drive a bit further, there are even more destinations you can check out. 

Lenox, Massachusettes (The Berkshires)

  • Distance: 400 miles via I-81 N
  • Travel Time: 6 hr 23 min

Think scenic drive, picturesque landscapes, and the soothing skyline drive. Lenox is the perfect small town for nature lovers seeking a peaceful retreat. It’s a dream spot for people who love the outdoors. And if you’re traveling with your pet, there are plenty of pet-friendly stops. More into camping? Look out for RV spots on the way. And if you’re wondering about the best places to eat, Check out G&M Restaurant in Baltimore or grab a bite in Wilmington. Start in D.C., swing by cities like Baltimore and Wilmington, and end your day with the chill vibes of Lenox. It’s not just about getting there but enjoying the journey too.

Recommended Accommodations:

  • Blantyre
  • The Cornell Inn

Smoky Mountains

  • Distance: 497 miles via I-81 S
  • Travel Time: 7 hr 56 min 

The Blue Ridge Mountains and the sprawling Appalachian Trail promise a retreat unlike any other. Surprisingly, it’s the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina that wear the crown of the most visited National Park, trumping even giants like Yosemite and Yellowstone. 

For those up for a scenic journey, the combined routes of Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway pave a picturesque way to reach the heart of these mountains. And with every season, the Smokies present a fresh canvas: vibrant wildflowers beckoning in spring, serene mountain lakes perfect for summer kayaking, and come fall, a kaleidoscope of foliage colors that leave visitors spellbound.

Recommended Accommodations:

  • Blackberry Farm
  • Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort

Shenandoah Valley, VA

  • Distance: 134 miles via I-66 W and I-81 S
  • Travel Time: 2 hr 14 min 

Shenandoah National Park is an easy day trip from Washington, D.C. The northern entrance of the park, which is near Front Royal, Virginia, is about 70 miles (or roughly 1.5 hours of driving) from D.C., but you will have to travel a bit further to make it into other parts of the park. This makes for a great two to three night trip.

Choose a trail for a hike. There are over 500 miles of trails in Shenandoah National Park, ranging from easy walks to challenging hikes. Popular trails include Dark Hollow Falls, Stony Man, and Bearfence Mountain.

The best times to visit for fall foliage are in October and early November. Weekends, especially during peak foliage, can be very busy, so it’s beneficial to start early. Always check the park’s website or contact the visitor center for current conditions, especially if you plan to hike. While a day trip is feasible and allows you to experience the beauty of Shenandoah, an overnight trip or weekend stay would provide a more immersive experience, giving you more time to explore and enjoy the park.

Recommended Accommodations:

  • Mimslyn Inn
  • Skyland

Outer Banks, North Carolina

  • Distance: 309 miles via I-95 S and I-64 E
  • Travel Time: 5 hr 8 min 

With its long beaches facing the Atlantic Ocean, it’s an outdoor adventure hotspot, especially for those into water sports. Driving down from Washington, DC, the trip is more than just a straight shot. You might pause in charming Fredericksburg, VA, where history echoes from its Revolutionary and Civil War landmarks.

The Outer Banks have an expansive shoreline. The beautiful coast is dotted with lighthouses, and it is a popular place for both surfers and sunbathers. Also, there are a lot of great local eateries serving fresh seafood and delicious cuisine.

Recommended Accommodations:

  • Sanderling Resort
  • Oasis Suites Hotel

Charleston, South Carolina

  • Distance: 532 miles via I-95 S
  • Travel Time: 7 hr 55 min 

Step back in time in this historic city, where American history and black history intertwine. Explore the cobblestone streets, take a short walk to the historic homes, and soak in the rich history. This splendid city, framed by the Ashley and Cooper Rivers, is worth every mile of the journey, even if it means stopping by Richmond or Myrtle Beach en route. 

As you tread its historic heart, especially near The Battery, you’re welcomed by age-old mansions and distinctive architecture, echoes of the 17th and 18th centuries. To truly immerse in Charleston’s Southern charm, don’t miss the Historic Charleston City Market. Operating for over two centuries, it offers a vibrant blend of culture, art, and local tales. So, when in Charleston, let every cobblestone and corner narrate a story to you.

Recommended Accommodations:

  • Hotel Bennett
  • The Dewberry

Asheville, North Carolina

  • Distance: 465 miles via I-81 S and I-26 E
  • Travel Time: 7 hr 25 min 

Asheville is a hub for arts, culture, and hiking the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains. It’s the ideal road trip destination for both adventure, relaxation, and people who love food and history.

Check out the amazing restaurants in Asheville and then enjoy some wine by the Biltmore Mansion. This Mansion is a must visit on any trip to Asheville.

Recommended Accommodations:

  • The Omni Grove Park Inn
  • Hotel Indigo Asheville Downtown

Best Road Trips From DC: 8 to 12 Hours Away

Looking for a longer journey? The nation’s capital is perfectly situated in the middle of the east coast, where 12 hours south will bring you to Florida, and 12 hours north will take you to Maine. Let’s take a look the best road trips from DC for people who don’t mind a long drive.

Hilton Head, South Carolina

  • Distance: 600 miles 
  • Travel Time: 9 hours

A road trip from Washington, D.C., to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina is roughly 600 miles (965 kilometers), and the drive usually takes about 9 to 10 hours, depending on traffic and the route you choose.

Hilton Head Island is renowned for its expansive sandy beaches, making it a perfect getaway for those looking to relax by the sea. The island offers 12 miles of beachfront, accessible from various points. 

The island is not just beaches; it’s also home to maritime forests, salt marshes, and lagoons, making it an excellent spot for nature walks, bird watching, and wildlife encounters, including dolphins, sea turtles, and various bird species.

Hilton Head is also a golfer’s paradise. It is home to more than 24 championship golf courses. Besides golf, the island offers a plethora of outdoor activities, including tennis, biking, kayaking, and paddleboarding, among others.

Recommended Accommodations:

  • The Omni Hilton Head
  • Westin Hilton Head

Savannah, Georgia

  • Distance: 695 miles via I-95 S
  • Travel Time: 10 hr 11 min 

The drive between Washington, D.C., and Savannah, Georgia typically takes around 9 to 11 hours, depending on traffic and the specific route you choose. The drive south will take you through several states, including Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and into Georgia, offering a variety of landscapes and the opportunity to take scenic detours along the way, such as driving through the Blue Ridge Mountains or along the coast.

Savannah is known for its well-preserved historical district, with cobblestone streets, parks, and historic homes. It’s one of the oldest cities in the U.S., offering a deep dive into American history and architecture.

Savannah also has a rich cultural scene, with numerous art galleries, museums, and theaters. The city is also known for its vibrant food scene, featuring Southern cuisine, seafood, and international flavors.

For outdoor enthusiasts, the city is near several beaches, including Tybee Island, which is about a 20-minute drive from downtown Savannah. There are also many parks and squares in the city, offering opportunities for walking, biking, and enjoying the outdoors.

Recommended Accommodations:

  • Westin, Savannah
  • Palmetto Bluff By Montage

Amelia Island, Florida

  • Distance: 695 miles via I-95 S
  • Travel Time: 10 hr 11 min 

Amelia Island is more than just a beach town; it’s a historical gem with pristine shores, fascinating stories, and southern charm. Set just a stone’s throw away from the hustle of Jacksonville, this barrier island beckons with its unique blend of laid-back vibes and rich history. 

Easily accessible by a scenic drive, Amelia offers 13 miles of Atlantic coastline paired with the architectural splendor of Fernandina’s Victorian-era downtown. Dive into its culinary delights with wild-caught shrimp dishes, and embrace the island time as you explore Fort Clinch’s Civil War era fortress. 

Recommended Accommodations:

  • The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island
  • Omni Amelia Island

Best Road Trips From DC: Summary

One of the best ways to escape the city is to check out one of the many great road trip destinations from the DC area. Whether you want to travel just an hour or two into Northern Virginia, or venture all the way down the east coast to Florida, there’s plenty of options when it comes to the best road trips from DC. Tilghman Island, St. Michaels, Cape May, and Middleburg are great nearby destinations. If you want to drive further check out Asheville, Charleston, and Amelia Island. For a full list, check out all the destinations above. 

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