What places in Northern Virginia and Maryland will I never find out about on my own?
May 22, 2008 9:08 AM   Subscribe

I'm in the Washington, DC area for two months with a camera and a bike. Help me explore!

I'm staying in DC/Northern Virginia until the end of July and want to explore with my camera in tow. I've been for shorter stays before and seen all the tourist stuff, so museums or monuments need not apply. I'm open to recommendations for DC, but I'm more interested in things a little farther afield in VA and MD. With the bike, I can get to anywhere within 15 or 20 miles of a Metro stop, or, if it's really worth it, an Amtrak stop. I've browsed some of the other threads. What kind of off-the-beaten-path stuff should I check out? Any good hole-in-the-wall barbecue joints? crab shacks? Small towns? Strange, fun summer events? Generally interesting bike routes? Personal favorite spots/activities that might not make into the usual resources? All suggestions appreciated!
posted by EnormousTalkingOnion to Travel & Transportation (10 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
The bike trail / park down by National Airport is supposed to be pretty neat, and could lend itself well to pictures. My understanding is it's pretty much right under the flight path.
posted by inigo2 at 9:18 AM on May 22, 2008

Prince William National Park
posted by dinger at 9:19 AM on May 22, 2008

Hope you can come to the meet-up on Friday night!
posted by parmanparman at 9:31 AM on May 22, 2008

Boundary Stones
Great Falls (both MD and VA sides are good)
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:37 AM on May 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

Roosevelt Island, then take the Potomac-side path (the Mount Vernon Trail) south to Gravelly Point to watch the airplanes. Later, go south to Fort Hunt (abandoned coastal fortification/WWII Intel base). Sometimes they have Sunday concerts in the park. It's five miles south or so of Alexandria, and it's right next to Mount Vernon, too.

There are all kinds of things to see along the Potomac river path going north of D.C. too. Take the C&O Canal towpath up to Great Falls from Georgetown. If you want to go further north, you can take one of the ferries across the river too.

Check out www.bikewashington.org for more tips.
posted by gemmy at 10:17 AM on May 22, 2008

I was going to recommend Great Falls as well, and of course, the zoo.
posted by geeky at 11:10 AM on May 22, 2008

The W&OD Bike Trail. (The DC <> Mount Vernon trail along the Potomac that is mentioned upthread is fun, too). You can pretty easily get to it from some of the Orange line stations in Fairfax County.

Takoma Park, MD
. Just outside of every urban area in the country, there is at least one aging hippie community. This one is DC's, and as you might expect, it's been thriving for decades. When you've just got to have farm-fresh produce, between checking out the lutes at the house of musical traditions, and the plethora of other spots unique to this community. (Takoma.com's Best of the Best(pdf, huge) shows many of these off).

Years ago, I used to explore some of the urban ruins at Glen Echo Park, but that area is now much less abandoned than it used to be. It's still worth the visit.
posted by toxic at 11:20 AM on May 22, 2008

Meridien Hill Park (Malcolm X Park) at 16th and V nmakes for great people watching
posted by chickaboo at 11:24 AM on May 22, 2008

Meridian Hill is pretty great (especially now that the casacde is flowing again); just a word to the wise: exploring it is a little bike-unfriendly, what with all the stairways.

Surprised no one's mentioned the Capital Crescent Trail, which takes you from hoity-toity Georgetown through a beautiful riverside pastoral to mega-hoity-toity downtown Bethesda.
posted by kittyprecious at 11:58 AM on May 22, 2008

ever heard of Bike polo? I've never played it but it sounds fun.. there's a group in DC who does it I think every other week.. mefimail me for their link
posted by majikstreet at 12:02 PM on May 22, 2008

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