The summer is the perfect time to get outside, enjoy the sunshine and do something different. From cycling and hiking, to paddle boarding and horse back riding, D.C. offers an endless array of outdoor activities, if you just only know where to look.
Cycle Hains Point or the Mt. Vernon Trail
If you’re into cycling, D.C. has no shortage of quality places to ride. While many of those spots are outside the city, you can get a great ride without having to travel just by heading out to Hains point or the Mt. Vernon Trail. Hains Point offers the benefit of minimal traffic and a cool breeze that constantly blows off the water that surrounds it. The Mt. Vernon trail boasts miles of riverside path and gorgeous views of the most historic sites in the District from the edge of Virginia. Either route is easily accessible from the National Mall area.
Paddleboarding on the Potomac
Want to get out on the water? Head down to the Potomac River where you can rent a stand up paddleboard for an active day on calm waters. It’s excellent for your core. Some yoga classes are even taught on the paddleboards. Looking for something different? You can rent a kayak or go rowing as well.
Hike Great Falls
Ever heard of the Billy Goat Trail? It’s a beautiful route in Northern Virginia with technical trails and beautiful sights. Need something more relaxed? You’ll have no trouble finding the perfect route on one of the countless trails throughout Great Falls. You can piece a nice hike with friends together with a picnic to have a relaxing day that allows you to forget about the hustle bustle of the city for a day.
Ride a horse In Rock Creek Park
Did you know there are horse stables in Rock Creek Park? You can book one-hour trail rides right next to the creek itself. No experience needed. These aren’t fast gallops, but rather just casual walks down the trail. But your thighs will still get a quality workout. You can pair this with a nature hike to make a full day of it. You’ll barely even realize you’re still in the District. Details at rockcreekhorsecenter.com.
Run a Spartan Race
With events at Nationals park on Saturday, July 22 and in Maryland on Saturday, Sept. 9, you have multiple attempts to conquer your first obstacle race this summer. Run, jump, climb and carry your way through a 3-5 mile event with about 25 obstacles. The course at Nats park is especially appealing given its Metro accessibility and the fact there’s no mud in that race. It’s an excellent opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and still be home in time for lunch. Details at spartan.com.
Try the ropes course at Go Ape
Go Ape is a treetop adventure course on the Maryland side of Rock Creek Park. Featuring “six sections of treetop obstacles … leading higher into the forest canopy” as well as zip lining and Tarzan swings and more. You can master your fear of heights, challenge yourself to get out of your comfort zone and catch some great views. And you can experience some quality team building while you’re at it. Details at goape.com.
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut when it comes to your routine. It’s also easy to forget that there’s so much the District has to offer that isn’t highly advertised. But if you know where to look and you’re willing to take some initiative, you’ll find a range of options to get outside and just do something different. Take advantage this summer, because the time is going to fly.