Pocahontas SP to DC for day trip - doable?

Mar 10th, 2011, 11:30 AM
  #1  
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Pocahontas SP to DC for day trip - doable?

My brother and his family (wife and 2 kids - 9 and 7) are spending their spring break at Pocahontas SP in Virginia. They wanted to do a day trip to DC to give their kids a little exposure to DC and perhaps get them excited about doing a trip there next year for a longer time. I have lived for short periods of time in DC so my brother was asking me what the best course of action might be. My experience is lacking though in that I have always flown into DC and stayed in apartments in the city (i.e. no car). I have done a bit of research and it looks like they would be able to drive to either the Franconia Springfield or Huntington metro stations and park their vehicle and ride the Metro into the city.

Question 1 - is this realistic on a weekday - both appear to have a lot of parking available (FS more than Huntington) - but does it fill up early so that there is nothing available after morning rush?

Question 2 - if this is feasible is one station better than the other?

Question 3 - any other strategies? I have warned against driving into DC - any other thoughts on that?

Thanks in advance.
illnative is offline  
Mar 10th, 2011, 12:06 PM
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1) It's definitely feasible on a weekday but their timing **leaving** DC will be more critical than arriving. If your bro & family leave the park and head up I95 between 7 and 8 in the morning they will miss the worst of the morning rush by the time they hit the DC metro area. If they aren't back on the road again by 2:30 or 3:00 they'll be in some nasty traffic. I would suggest they stay through the day, have an early dinner and head south again the in 7pm time frame.

2) Bypass Huntington and Franconia and head to Reagan National. Park in the daily B or C lots (can't recall which) take the metro from there. Parking is covered, the walk to the metro is short and it will be $20 well worth spent.

3) Spring break covers a lot of time. If they are visiting during the Cherry Blossom Festival, let them know that the crowds will be big. I think the Smithsonian's Postal Museum is a great place for kids that age. It's across the street from Union Station where there is also a metro station.
obxgirl is online now  
Mar 10th, 2011, 01:31 PM
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Parking at National Airport is an excellent idea, particularly since there will be no parking at the Metro lots by the time they get here from Pocahibtas SP. (On a weekday, they will already be filled with commuter parkers.)
longhorn55 is offline  
Mar 10th, 2011, 01:39 PM
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Thanks to you both for the excellent advice - I hadn't even thought about parking at DCA. Makes perfect sense.
illnative is offline  
Mar 13th, 2011, 01:40 PM
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We went to Williamsburg,VA one year and took a day trip during the week to DC. We parked in a public parking structure in Old Town Alexandria, down by the torpedo museum and took the bus to the Kings Street Metro. On the way back we had dinner in Alexandria and then headed back. We headed out at about 7:30 and the traffic was horrible on the expressway. If you can hold off until about 8:00 pm or 8:30 pm you will have a more enjoyable drive back. It seemed like there were a lot of trucks on the road at that time and they were not slowing down for anyone. Very scary.
gardendiva is offline  
Mar 13th, 2011, 01:56 PM
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Where is Pocahontas SP, please?
TDudette is offline  
Mar 13th, 2011, 04:49 PM
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Chesterfield County, Va south of Richmond, west of I-95 on state route 10, and not too far outside of Chester. Back in the mid '50s during my Navy days,some wonderful people from Chester whom we met would take us to PSP for picnics and such.
ronkala is offline  
Mar 13th, 2011, 04:52 PM
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Illnative, have you looked into driving only as far as Fredericksburg and taking the train up to DC?
ronkala is offline  
Mar 13th, 2011, 04:53 PM
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ronkala - I will pass that suggestion along - another very feasible option! Thanks again to everyone.
illnative is offline  
Mar 29th, 2011, 02:05 PM
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Just to follow up with everyone. My brother and family drove from the SP to Washington National Airport - parked there and then took the metro into the city. Wonderful idea and it worked very well for them. The kids loved DC and they all want to go back.
illnative is offline  
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