Capital Region USA
Journey to where the power and the glory of America meet face-to-face; Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia together form the region known as Capital Region USA. This is where 21st century America meets its colonial past.
A powerful city, the great outdoors and the major events that helped shape the United States prove to be a heady combination. Sprinkle in sandy beaches, theme parks, scenic byways, quaint hamlets, memorable mountains, amazing architecture and a whole heap of history and you have all the ingredients for a memorable holiday.
Washington was first named as the nation’s capital in 1791 when it was little more than backwater swampland. How things have changed in a little over 200 years! Today, the decision makers of Capital Hill enjoy a thriving arts and entertainment scene; from an eclectic range of bars and clubs to cutting edge theatre and an endless choice of restaurants. Here you’ll discover glorious vistas, iconic sights, wide-open boulevards, impressive monuments and incredible museums.
You’ll enjoy exploring the capital’s lively neighbourhoods like Georgetown and Adams Morgan which are alive with buzzing coffee shops, bistros, jazz clubs and fabulous shopping. During your Washington DC holiday be sure to check out the impressive Smithsonian Institutions whose myriad of treasures have earned it the reputation as “the nation’s attic.” Or take in the intriguing International Spy Museum. Our favourite is the Newseum, an interactive museum which covers news and journalism over the last five centuries; you’d need a heart of stone not to be moved by their haunting 9/11 exhibition.
Washington Monument, the U.S. Capitol and the Jefferson Memorial from a different vantage point, if you’re feeling more energetic hop on a bike tour of the city. Or check out our favourite trolley ride: ‘Washington DC by Moonlight’ and enjoy the famous monuments and memorials bathed in a soft illuminated glow, it’s truly magical!
A short hop across the
Potomac River from Washington DC is the state known as the Commonwealth of Virginia. It’s little wonder that a state named after
our virgin Queen Elizabeth I is packed with fascinating history. On a fly-drive
holiday here you’ll discover historically significant sites like Jamestown, Yorktown and Williamsburg,
palatial presidential retreats at Monticello and Mount Vernon and intriguing Civil War Battlefields. The
Capital of the Confederacy, Richmond, boasts a fascinating
cobblestone historic district and there are picturesque towns such as Alexandria, Winchester and Charlottesville to be
included in your itinerary.
But the pleasures of Virginia go far beyond its history. Travelling West your backdrop will be the glorious Blue Ridge Mountains and in their shadow the road often referred to as ‘America’s Favourite Highway’, the Blue Ridge Parkway. This is the ultimate road trip. Sit back, relax and watch the scenery unfold as you cruise the 400 miles of this delightful route as it winds its way around the spine of the Appalachian mountains through lush meadowlands and past endless breathtaking vistas.
If you hanker for more amazing scenery be sure to spend time in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park and enjoy its Skyline Drive. The area is gorgeous year-round but in autumn this region bursts into fiery, flaming, fall colours every bit as impressive as New England’s fall foliage.
While the mountain regions frame the Western borders of the state to the east the land gives way to the waters of the Atlantic. A holiday to the region would not be complete without a soothing dip in the sparkling ocean at Virginia Beach. Whilst here you can enjoy the boardwalk area enlivened by street performers and outdoor cafes. Take in one of the free summer concerts on the beach or simply stroll the pristine shoreline.
A little over an hour’s drive from Washington DC and often referred to as ‘America in Miniature’, Maryland oozes small town charm and natural maritime beauty. The tiny state surrounds Chesapeake Bay where you’ll encounter quaint fishing villages complete with ruddy faced fishermen hauling in their daily catch. If you’re a fan of seafood, you’ll love the mouth-watering crab houses scattered along the coast.
Chesapeake Bay is an impressive body of water best appreciated from a sailboat or powerboat. Feel the wind in your hair as you cruise along the bay and its tributaries; take in the wonderful wildlife. There are more than thirty lighthouses, most of which still play an important role as aids to navigation.
Nestled on the shore of Chesapeake Bay, the state capital Annapolis is the area’s quintessential
maritime town. Home of the US Naval
Academy, Annapolis, known as ‘America’s
Sailing Capital’ exudes an intimate ambiance with its picturesque architecture
and colonial history. Here you’ll enjoy strolling through the leafy streets and
people-watching at the outdoor cafes.
In Baltimore, the Inner Harbour neighbourhood is ideal for exploring on foot. The Harborplace and Gallery complexes are crammed with restaurants and elegant shops while the Baltimore Maritime Museum houses a collection of historic ships. See colourful Little Italy or Fell’s Point one of America’s oldest, liveliest and most picturesque maritime communities with its lovely cobbled streets, original gas lanterns and one-of-a-kind stores.
The Capital Region offers a whole world of variety and the driving distances are perfectly comfortable. And when you are at the wheel of the car the scenic byways are a treat. Come when the cherry blossom blooms in April or when the hot sun fills the long summer days. Perhaps you would prefer the flaming fall colours of September and October. Shopaholics might choose November or December when the festive season sales are in full flow and the shops are adorned with amazing decorations and designer bargains.
Beyond the Capital Region.........
With so much to see and so many diverse landscapes to enjoy in the Capital Region there genuinely is something for everyone. And don’t think you need to spend a lot of time to enjoy the delights of “DC” and its surroundings – a Washington DC Weekend Break is great at any time of year. But at Bon Voyage we are specialists at putting together multi-centre holidays to help you get the very most from your trip to the United States. How about combining a visit to the Capital Region with North Carolina for it’s amazing unspoiled Atlantic beaches and incredible scenery, particularly in the “Fall” season? Or how about the history and heritage of America’s birthplace in Philadelphia. Maybe you fancy a flutter in the casinos of Atlantic City or perhaps the bright lights of Broadway and legendary shopping are calling from New YorkCity? Perhaps you'd like to hop on a train and experience three great East Coast cities at an extremely leisurely pace?
Whatever it is that you would like to combine with your visit to the Capital
Region we know we can help, so simply call or email Bon Voyage today.
Things to see and do
The Newseum invites you to explore the history of news and the men and women of the media who report it, blending 500 years of news history, up-to-the-second technology and hands-on exhibits for a one-of-a-kind museum experience.
Washington DC has the most wonderful collection of monuments and public buildings, and a visit to the American capital has
The Smithsonian Institution, the world's largest museum complex and research organisation is composed of 19 museums, 9 research centers and the National Zoo. Extraordinarily admission to them all is FREE.