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.
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.
Where you stay is the heart of your holiday. Location reigns supreme but do you prefer resort facilities or unique and boutique? Historic and old world or modern and shiny?
We aim to present choices across the spectrum but there are many hundreds of places to stay and not room to feature them all. Do speak to your Bon Voyage travel consultant and click the video for our take on this important topic.
We would rate the Bellagio as one of the best hotels we have ever stayed in. Fabulous, glitzy, exciting. We loved having breakfast at the poolside café... one of our best experiences ever. If it hadn't been for you we wouldn't have had the suite or cabana and we loved them. We both agreed that the hotel was the best for us and you had suggested that so well done!Leonore & Mike Rumford