The COVID-19 pandemic halted long-distance travel plans for millions of people around the world. In light of the chaos, travelers now have the opportunity to visit places closer to home. Residents of Washington D.C. are a prime example with a diverse range of attractions an easy drive from home.
With plane travel out of the question for many individuals, this is the perfect time to fill up the car for an East Coast road trip. Whether you’re searching for nature, history, or wine tasting, Washington D.C. is blessed with many fantastic places you can reach within a few hours.
The lone factor left to decide your destination is knowing which places are implementing COVID safety measures. Instead of browsing for hours on the internet, why not gather the best COVID-safe sites in one source. We’ve done the brunt work and found incredible options for a cool road trip for you and your family.
Find out below who is taking the right steps to fight COVID and where you can enjoy a cool road trip from Washington D.C.
Driving Time from D.C. = 2hrs 15min
Dutch Wonderland is a magical place for families with young children, and the staff has revamped its policies in the face of COVID-19. The amusement park entertains kids with 35 thrilling rides and attractions and hosts family-friendly events. The color-coordinated system helps parents figure out which attractions are appropriate for their children, and many attractions are designed for the family to enjoy together.
Merlin’s Mayhem takes your family’s daredevils on a high-flying ride, Exploration Island gives you up-close encounters with dinosaurs, and Duke’s Lagoon offers respite from the summer heat. Rides such as Duke’s Dozers and Off-Road Rally make this kid’s kingdom a splendid place for a road trip with your infant.
The health and safety of guests remain a top priority for Dutch Wonderland, and the 2020 summer season operates in accordance with federal and state guidelines. To limit capacity, park visitors must register in advance for the specific date they will arrive. Mandatory temperature checks are instituted for all individuals before entering the park. Entry will be denied for anyone who records a temperature greater than 100.4°F or presents symptoms of COVID.
Once inside the park, visitors must wear facial coverings and use hand sanitizer before riding any attractions. Duke’s Lagoon is the exception due to its aquatic attractions, but the area operates under limited capacity. According to recent visitor reviews, all necessary precautions were taken while maintaining a family-fun atmosphere. Although some rides were reported closed, some guests said wait times were minimal during their visit.
Front Royal, Virginia
Driving Time from D.C. = 2hrs 20min
During this COVID madness, a scenic drive through nature sounds like the best medicine to clear your mind. Newlyweds and young families alike can find solitude cruising along the Blue Ridge Mountains. The north terminus of this 105-mile drive sits near the charming town of Front Royal and presents dramatic views of Shenandoah National Park. To stay away from the D.C. crowds a little longer, consider adding a Blue Ridge Parkway Road Trip after completing the Skyline Drive.
There are 75 outlooks scattered on the two-lane highway that give you plenty of chances to take in the views and maintain social distancing. The Signal Knob and Jewell Hollow Overlooks offer two of the most stunning panoramas of the Shenandoah Valley. With more than 500 miles of trails coursing through the park, finding a secluded location away from crowds shouldn’t be a difficult task.
In response to COVID, Shenandoah National Park has reopened in phases to monitor public safety and ensure operations comply with public health guidelines. At the time of writing, the park has initiated phase three of its reopening to the public. Although campgrounds and trailheads are now open, some facilities remain closed to maintain social distancing. Dickey Ridge Visitor Center, Byrd Visitor Center, Massanutten Lodge, and Rapidan Camp are popular sites that have yet to open.
On the Shenandoah National Park Service page, a series of guidelines details how parkgoers can facilitate a safe visit. Recommendations include wearing a face mask when unable to social distance, washing your hands, using hand sanitizer when hiking, avoiding crowded parking lots to explore other areas, and minimizing the usage of cash. As mentioned by other travelers, driving the beautiful route is a fun road trip to ease your mind and avoid crowds during these stressful times.
Driving Time from D.C. = 40min
Wine lovers can rejoice at the reopening of this beautiful vineyard. The Winery at Bull Run sits adjacent to Manassas National Battlefield Park and its rustic setting resembles a 19th century Virginia barn. Despite being the closest winery to D.C., the bucolic countryside feels light years from the urban sprawl of the nation’s capital.
The outdoor patio presents a gorgeous view of the vineyards and umbrella-covered picnic tables provide relief from the summer heat. Bull Run takes pride as the largest operating farm in Fairfax County and the classy property hosts a variety of private events under normal conditions. The seven rental spaces create a beautiful setting for weddings, corporate events, and birthday parties.
The winery reopened its doors on June 25, 2020 with new policies to help customers adhere to public health guidelines. Tables are available by reservation only and all indoor seating areas are closed until further notice. The staff also requests that customers wear masks when not seated at their table.
Recent customers mentioned that social distancing was strictly enforced and the arrangements were clean for guests. For wine aficionados, this short road trip makes for a picturesque escape from the city.
Driving Time from D.C. = 2hrs 15min
With upgraded safety procedures, Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello has opened its doors to visitors once again. A guided tour of the magnificent estate delves into the life of the author of the Declaration of Independence and the nation’s third president. Built in 1772, Monticello served as the primary plantation house for Jefferson once he inherited the land from his father. Throughout his life, Jefferson molded its architecture, garden, and décor that showcased all his pursuits.
The Thomas Jefferson Foundation purchased Monticello in the early 20th century and restored the residence to its former glory. It went on to become the only private home in American history to receive the honor as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today, Monticello acts as a museum and educates visitors about the life of the founding father.
The Monticello staff excitedly announced its return after finalizing extensive measures to combat COVID. Hand sanitizing stations can be found throughout the property, face coverings are required for all guests, and the structure of private tours adheres to social distancing.
Recent Monticello visitors commented on the staff’s friendliness and their dedication to follow social distancing protocol. Although some sections of the property remained off-limits, guests praised the tour for adhering to the COVID safety measures.
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