Washington DC Trip with 6 and 8 year old

Old Apr 14th, 2012, 06:56 PM
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I would like to spend no more than $300 per night (preferably less).
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Old Apr 15th, 2012, 03:44 AM
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Yours is a manageable agenda, but with lots of driving. Even though traffic is lighter here in August, can you consider collocating your Chesapeake/Baltimore days and flying into Dulles and out of BWI?


8/14 (Tues.) – Old Town Trolley Tour of Washington DC. Air and Space Museum.

Not sure what this is? I think the trolley only stops at the museums and doesn't actually provide a tour, but I could be wrong.

8/16 (Thurs.) – Visit National Archives (reserve tour) and Bureau of Engraving .

I would reserve an afternoon tour, and get in line in the morning for Bureau of Engraving and Printing. It would be a more efficient use of time.

8/17 (Fri.) – Pirate Adventures on the Chesapeake. Go to Cantler’s for seafood.

Expect a LONG wait for a parking space at Cantler's, upwards of 90 minutes, especially on a Friday afternoon/evening.

8/18 (Sat.) – Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens.

Can you switch these two days and perhaps stay in Baltimore? At the very least, plan to be in line early for MV; as I can share from experience, there's nothing more miserable that waiting in a hot summer's day line to tour the estate.
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Old Apr 15th, 2012, 04:54 AM
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fourfortravel -- thanks a lot for your advice. It was very helpful. It sounds like I need to go to Cantler's at open for lunch to avoid the parking problem.
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Old Apr 15th, 2012, 05:06 AM
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By the way, on the evening of 8/13, I was going to check into a hotel in the Washington DC area and stay there for the rest of the grip. I can't believe how expensive hotels are in that area!
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Old Apr 15th, 2012, 11:00 AM
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Washington is the national capital with a lot of business and tourism, so hotels aren't cheap, but it' not as bad as NY, and any major city in the US has expensive hotels (ie, San Francisco, Boston, etc.). But August is probably one of the cheapest times of the year for hotel rates as little business is going on during that month, so if you think rates you see in August are bad, you should see October.

If you think hotels in August in DC are really expensive, maybe you are making a mistake in where you are looking to find a hotel. Above you said your budget was $300 a night, and it would be very easy to find a hotel for your family for $150-250 in August, just check Expedia or something.
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Old Apr 15th, 2012, 11:27 AM
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shorty, where are searching for hotels? You should be able to get a very good place downtown for under $300 a night.

Check Kimpton properties, most with very spacious rooms for $230-$275 (http://www.kimptonhotels.com/hotels/...hingtondc.aspx)

Look at the Residence Inn Dupont Circle -- $220-$230 range for those dates.
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Old Apr 15th, 2012, 03:35 PM
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I am thinking of staying at the Hampton Inn & Suites in Alexandria (Old Town Area). Is this a safe area? I liked the hotel because I could get 2 queen beds at a reasonable price.
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Old Apr 15th, 2012, 04:25 PM
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I wouldn't. Nothing unsafe about the area but there is nothing there. You can't walk anywhere, will have to drive everywhere or be completely dependent on the hotel shuttle. The hotel is located off of Route 1 south next to a ten lane bridge that takes Interstate 95 from VA into MD.

I wouldn't hesitate to stay there for a night but I wouldn't park my family there for a five day visit to DC if I could pay a little more to stay closer to downtown or, better yet, IN downtown DC.

I'd continue to look downtown for a hotel where you'll have the advantage of being able to drop back into your hotel mid day if you or the kids get weary from the heat and humidity. There is a Doubletree on New Hampshire Avenue, as well as Residence Inn's at Dupont Circle and Vermont Ave. Pretty much every major hotel chain has something in the downtown area.

Look at the Hotel Monaco or the Hampton Inn & Suites on King Street IN Old Town or one of the other suites hotels near the King Street metro station. As already mentioned OT is a nice place to stay and wander around in the evening.

Look in Crystal City and Pentagon City (adjacent neighborhoods) which are closer to downtown. At least in these locations you'll be able to walk to the metro and/or places to eat.
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Old Apr 15th, 2012, 05:28 PM
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You are right that my kids might poop out due to the heat and humidity. My husband also did not like the idea of being dependent on a hotel shuttle.
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Old Apr 15th, 2012, 07:58 PM
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With your budget, there will be lots of choices for accommodations. In fact, I just checked the Embassy Suites at 1250 22nd Street NW (good location) and the daily rate for the dates you mention is $179.00 for 2 queen beds. That includes a nightly manager's reception and a morning hot breakfast. They've also got a pool which is a bonus for the kids. Parking is $35 per day, but that still brings you in under your stated budget. If it were me, I'd jump on that deal!

Also a few comments about your itinerary:

1. Are you sure you want to drive to D.C. after a full day at Busch Gardens? We stayed with our kids at BG until the early evening once and then drove home to Arlington. Not fun. If you plan to do this drive, do not stay too late at Busch Gardens, especially since you will be having to navigate D.C. when you are tired. (It's a minimum 3 hour drive.)

2. The cost for the Old Town Trolley Tour for your family will be around $100 - $120. If that's not in your budget (it wouldn't be in mine), then consider walking around the monuments and memorials on your own some evening (or over a couple of evenings). In fact, you could go to the Air and Space Museum on Tuesday morning, take a break at the hotel for the afternoon and do a partial walking tour that evening. Then on Thursday, you could do the BEP and Archives in the morning, relax at the hotel in the afternoon, and do the remaining monuments and memorials that evening. You could do the Mall monuments one night and the Tidal Basin monuments on the 2nd night.
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Old Apr 16th, 2012, 05:42 AM
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longhorn55,

Where did you find that rate for Embassy Suites? I was interested in that location, but the lowest rate which I found was $249/night.

Thanks for your feedback. Here is my revised schedule.

8/11 (Sat.) – depart ORD at 11, arrive DCA at 1:48.
drive down to Williamsburg (2.5 hour). Stay at Hampton Inn & Suites Williamsburg.

8/12 (Sun.) – Visit Colonial Williamsburg or Jamestown Settlement and have dinner at King’s Arms Tavern.

8/13 (Mon.) – Visit Busch Gardens

8/14 (Tues.) – drive back to Washington DC Area, Air and Space Museum. Stay at Embassy Suites if we can find a good rate.

8/15 (Wed.) – Capitol building Tour (reserve tour) and American History Museum. Visit Pitango for gelato.

8/16 (Thurs.) – Visit Bureau of Engraving (morning) and National Archives (reserve tour for afternoon).

8/18 (Fri.) – Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens.

8/17 (Sat.) – Go to Cantler’s for seafood, Pirate Adventures on the Cheasapeake (Annapolis).

8/19 (Sun.) - Baltimore – Visit Inner Harbor, Faidley’s for crab cake, and National Aquarium.

8/20 (Mon.) – depart from DCA at 11:45, arrive at ORD 12:53
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Old Apr 16th, 2012, 06:38 AM
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Don't forget that there is a new branch of the Air and Space Museum out in Chantilly near Dulles airport.
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Old Apr 16th, 2012, 08:22 AM
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Faidley's will not be open on that Sunday as Lexington Market is closed on Sundays
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Old Apr 16th, 2012, 09:12 AM
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Unfortunately, I don't see that rate any longer with the ES Downtown, but Hotels.com is showing the ES Convention Center at 900 10th Street NW for $189 per night for a suite with 2 double beds/sleeper sofa.

I found several good choices for under $200 per night (not including taxes or parking).
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Old Apr 16th, 2012, 09:28 AM
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8/11 (Sat.) *** "drive down to Williamsburg (2.5 hour)." Ha ha ha ha ha.
On a Saturday in August there is no way you will make it from DCA to Williamsburg in 2.5 hours unless you leave at 2:00 am. I would guess 4 hours +.
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Old Apr 16th, 2012, 09:31 AM
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Just a little more commentary...

8/11 (Sat.) – depart ORD at 11, arrive DCA at 1:48.
drive down to Williamsburg (2.5 hour). Stay at Hampton Inn & Suites Williamsburg.

Keep in mind that Saturday is the big vacation rental switchover day for the Outer Banks, a hugely popular destination for families from the Metro DC area. Be prepared for very heavy traffic on your Southbound drive.

8/12 (Sun.) – Visit Colonial Williamsburg or Jamestown Settlement and have dinner at King’s Arms Tavern.

A personal opinion, but I'd go with Williamsburg; there's more hands-on activities for the children.

8/13 (Mon.) – Visit Busch Gardens

8/14 (Tues.) – drive back to Washington DC Area, Air and Space Museum. Stay at Embassy Suites if we can find a good rate.

If you're coming up early enough in the morning, take advantage of the HOV lanes--you could save some time by not sitting in morning rush hour. Or, as was suggested head to the other Air & Space near Dulles first, and then head into DC for an Air & Space double feature!

8/15 (Wed.) – Capitol building Tour (reserve tour) and American History Museum. Visit Pitango for gelato.

You may want to consider a quick peek at the Library of Congress after the Capitol. An overlooked gem.

8/19 (Sun.) - Baltimore – Visit Inner Harbor, Faidley’s for crab cake, and National Aquarium.

Entry is timed for the Aquarium, so you may want to reserve tickets, especially for a weekend.

8/20 (Mon.) – depart from DCA at 11:45, arrive at ORD 12:53
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Old Apr 16th, 2012, 09:37 AM
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Are there any good beaches within a 2 hour drive of Washington DC? I am thinking of going to a beach instead of visiting Mount Vernon.
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Old Apr 16th, 2012, 11:30 AM
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Not ocean beaches
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Old Apr 17th, 2012, 04:24 AM
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No, not really. However, the Calvert Cliffs (MD) shoreline has not only Miocene era cliffs to enjoy, but your children might get a kick out of collecting real shark teeth. Chesapeake and North Beaches should be about an hours' drive from DC. All you'll need are some simple strainers that you could easily find at a dollar store.

http://www.fossilguy.com/sites/calvert/
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Old Apr 17th, 2012, 05:37 AM
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We live in DC and I agree with everyone else...

our kids are 6.9.12 and they really LOVE the science museum in Baltimore..it's all hands on...lots of cool experiments and just fun stuff...we like it better than the Aquarium. heed everyone's advice...TRAFFIC HEAT and HUMIDITY! you and the kids will need lots of patience...DC is the busiest in the summer- we avoid it at all cost...But good luck...
I also second the Calvert Cliffs idea the kids LOVED looking for the fossilised shark's teeth.

also- if you are at Williamsburg already...VA beach is probably closer than baltimore...just a thought- but if you are flying out of dc not going to help any....
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