COVID-19 Travel Advisory: Stay up to date with the latest on the coronavirus pandemic.   Learn More >

Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > United States
Reload this Page >

Day trip from Washington, DC to Charlottesville, VA

Day trip from Washington, DC to Charlottesville, VA

Old Apr 6th, 2019, 01:55 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 33
Day trip from Washington, DC to Charlottesville, VA

Hello,

I'm going to be in DC from April 13-18 and was thinking of doing a day trip to Charlottesville and Monticello. I know this will take a huge chunk of the day just getting there and spending time at Monticello. What I'm wanting to know is what would be some other worthwhile stops along the way, and what might I have time for.I was thinking perhaps Fredericksburg or Manassas, as I am interested in Civil War history, or maybe Montpelier to visit James Madison's home. I just wasn't sure if it's feasible to fit any of these sites in to a day along with Monticello. Also, any ideas on some great food or breweries in or on the way to Charlottesville that anyone would recommend? I appreciate any ideas. Thanks.
jeverett is offline  
Old Apr 6th, 2019, 02:16 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 20,445
The drive looks like close to 3 hours each way mid-week (only slightly shorter on weekends). According to comments on TripAdvisor and elsewhere, the average amount of time spent at Monticello ranges from 3-5 hours. That's more than a day trip to me, and I probably wouldn't want to make any stops or detours along the way.

If you haven't been to Mt. Vernon, you might want to think about going there instead. We spent about 5 hours there, and it's much closer to D.C. You could drive, but you could also take a Potomac cruise.
Jean is online now  
Old Apr 6th, 2019, 02:18 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 66,878
I've been to most those places but not done that drive from DC (others will have better local advice) and I'd assume a lot would depend on traffic on I-95 . . . But just to give you an idea - I managed Monticello, Montpelier and Petersburg as a day trip from Williamsburg which would be about the same time needed to drive DC > Monticello > Montpelier > Manassas > DC. A long day -- about 5 hours of car time. I had plenty of time at Monticello and Montpelier and could have had more time at Petersburg but I simply pooped out and only spent about an hour there, unfortunately (my next trip I plan on half a day or more)
janisj is online now  
Old Apr 6th, 2019, 02:57 PM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 33
Originally Posted by janisj View Post
I managed Monticello, Montpelier and Petersburg as a day trip from Williamsburg which would be about the same time needed to drive DC > Monticello > Montpelier > Manassas > DC. A long day -- about 5 hours of car time.
I figured it would be about five hours of car time from and back to Washington. And unless I did go to Fredericksburg, there would be little, if any, time spent on I-95. I'm prepared for a long day, picking up the car at Reagan International airport in Arlington at 7AM and returning late evening. I like that idea of Monticello > Montpelier > Manassas. But I also would not want to cram the day too full and short-change the experience at each place.
jeverett is offline  
Old Apr 7th, 2019, 10:31 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 14,475
If you're picking up your car from Reagan at 7 am, I-95 isn't necessarily a bad choice as you're leaving the DC metro area during incoming rush. The other options have you traversing through DC metro area during rush hour to get out of town. DC traffic isn't only about into the city destinations. It's a cluster of satellite snarls and you may encounter more than one getting out of the metro area at that time of day.

I personally would not do Fredericksburg and Monticello in one day, even a long one. The combination of Monticello and Montpelier sounds like a good plan. If you have time and energy to see the Manassas Battlefield after that, you can take a combo of Routes 15 & 29 to get there (avoiding I-95). If you pass on Manassas, you can also take a combo of Routes 15, 29 and I-66 to get back to Reagan. Manassas can be done on another day from DC depending on your access to a car. The battlefield would be a good day pairing with the Udvar Hazy Air & Space museum.

obxgirl is online now  
Old Apr 7th, 2019, 11:18 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 3,047
I'd do Manassas another time, traffic back into northern Virginia suburbs can be terrible. I was going to stop off one time and visit our office in Chantilly, when I called them, they told me it would take over 2 hours from where I was. Maybe visit the grounds of the University of Virginia instead, they are beautiful, don't miss the Rotunda building which was designed by Jefferson.
jamie99 is offline  
Old Apr 8th, 2019, 02:52 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 36,385
What day of the week are you planning to do this? Makes a HUGE difference traffic-wise and I'm surprised nobody has asked you this already.
Dukey1 is offline  
Old Apr 8th, 2019, 11:08 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 6,566
This is a reasonable day trip (I work in Cville, my mom lives in Nova--I have daytripped up there to go into DC for an event or museum and it is a long day but it's fine).

I use Route 29 to go between these destinations and I can't say there are any amazing restaurants or breweries along the way. If you make a little time to enjoy Cville there are a LOT of options for local breweries, distilleries, and excellent food. I second the recommendation of touring UVA as it also has a link to Jefferson and is historically interesting.

You could be in town late morning, tour Monticello, go into Cville for lunch, and then go either to Montpelier or UVA grounds for an afternoon tour and then head back to DC. Have fun.
schlegal1 is offline  
Old Apr 10th, 2019, 07:38 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 13,364
I like shlegals idea. Returning to DC at night, after the evening rush hour would mean a lot less traffic. So have dinner out somewhere along the way too. I would also avoid 95 and go the back country roads down to Charlottesville. There will be lots of fanfare in town this week with the UVA mens basketball winning the national championship. Shlegal is there a parade in town planned? I would avoid that day if there is one next week. I would think most likely on the weekend rather than during the week.
girlonthego is offline  
Old Apr 10th, 2019, 09:31 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 14,475
>>>> I would also avoid 95 and go the back country roads down to Charlottesville.>>>Shlegal is there a parade in town planned?
obxgirl is online now  
Old Apr 10th, 2019, 11:09 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 6,566
Saturday is a big event at the stadium so it may affect traffic flow into or out of town but overall be ok. But itís crowded in town anyway because this week is the Tomtom founderís festival which is focuses on the downtown area.
schlegal1 is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
AnnMarie_C
United States
10
Oct 15th, 2012 12:10 PM
kacollier
United States
11
Nov 28th, 2005 05:21 PM
eurotravler
United States
21
Oct 16th, 2004 01:20 PM
lenore_marie
United States
8
Apr 15th, 2003 08:05 AM
ctanguay
United States
5
May 1st, 2002 04:25 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

FODOR'S VIDEO