The Capital Region is truly a four season destination. There are exciting activities, fantastic events, and scenic beauty all year long. When is the best time to come?
Spring: Parks and gardens are flamboyant with blossom and pilgrimages take place to stately historic homes
Summer: Wide sandy beaches beckon swimmers and sunbathers and sailboats dot the glittering Chesapeake Bay
Fall: Long, golden “Indian Summer” days when the forests are transformed with a riot of colour
Winter: Big cities and small towns sparkle with Christmas lights and skiers take to the western mountain slopes
Here’s a summary of top events to keep you busy no matter when you decide to visit:
The National Cherry Blossom Festival is an annual two-week event in late March – early April that boasts more than 90 events and more than 150 daily cultural performances by local, national and international entertainers. The event commemorates the 1912 gift of the cherry blossom trees from the people of Japan to the U.S.
Historic Garden Week has been welcoming visitors during “America’s Largest Open House” for more than 77 years. Step through the gates of more than 250 of Virginia’s most beautiful gardens, homes and historic landmarks each April.
Preakness is the mid-Atlantic’s largest single-day, annual sporting event taking place each May at Baltimore’s Pimlico Race Course. The Preakness Stakes are the second race in the United States Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing.
Nowhere is there greater excitement as America celebrates its independence than in the nation's capital, Washington, DC. The days leading up to July 4 are filled with summertime fun such as the Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall, celebrating cultural diversity. Other DC events include America’s National Independence Day Parade and a spectacular display of fireworks over the Washington Monument.
Kings Dominion is a 400 acre amusement and water park with one of the largest coaster collections on the East Coast. Entrance to Water Works, a 20-acre water park, is included with admission. Take a journey to the unexpected at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. Voted the "World's Most Beautiful Theme Park”, Busch Gardens boasts more than 50 thrilling rides and attractions. Live the life in Virginia Beach, offering 28 miles of public beach area and a 3-mile Boardwalk. Take advantage of sport fishing charters, snorkelling, surfing, sailing and kayaking, visit the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center or just hang out at the oceanfront.
Six Flags America just outside Washington, DC features more than 100 rides, shows, attractions and eight exciting coasters. Six Flags Hurricane Harbour boasts rides, slides, and activities for all ages. Maryland’s most popular family beach is Ocean City. Enjoy 17 golf courses, world-famous sport fishing, the boardwalk, 10 miles of beaches, outlet shopping and restaurants serving everything from seafood to down-home cooking to haute cuisine.
Each September, The Kennedy Center kicks off the city’s cultural calendar with its annual Prelude Festival, a month-long preview of the new season. Fall visitors can also take part in neighbourhood festivals such as Adams Morgan Day and Taste of Georgetown. If you are yearning to see autumn colour, check out Rock Creek Park, Theodore Roosevelt Island or the National Arboretum.
Hop on the Blue Ridge Parkway or Skyline Drive and spend the weekend taking in the breathtaking fall scenery of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Breathe in the cool, crisp autumn air, pick some apples and tour one of Virginia’s 140+ wineries.
Maryland hosts dozens of fall festivals from one end of the state to the other. Experience early farm life, take a hay ride, pick a pumpkin, watch apple pressing and the making of apple butter, make a scarecrow, find your way through corn mazes and enjoy farm animals at petting zoos.
Winter in Washington means joining in holiday traditions like shopping in Georgetown, ice skating in the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden and admiring the National Christmas Tree on the White House Ellipse. December is simply magical in DC, with magnificent landmarks like Union Station, the National Gallery of Art and the U.S. Botanic Gardens dressed in holiday style and a cultural calendar packed with festive seasonal performances including the Nutcracker. Sample the menus of the city’s top tables during the winter edition of Restaurant Week. Escape the cold and enjoy the impressive line-up of touring and permanent exhibitions that winter brings to DC’s museums and galleries.
Winter sports fanatics will get their fill at Virginia’s four mountain resorts, Massanutten Resort in the Shenandoah Valley, Wintergreen Resort in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Homestead Resort in Virginia's Allegheny Mountains and Bryce Resort, just two hours outside of DC. After a day on the slopes, wind down and heat things up at one of Virginia’s world-class luxury spas and resorts. From the warm water springs of the Homestead to the new Spa of Colonial Williamsburg, where treatments are inspired by Powhatan Indian women, many Virginia spas offer a historic take on pampering.
Western Maryland is a winter sports wonderland. There is excellent skiing and ample snow during most of the winter season. A short three hour drive from Washington, DC puts you in the heart of Maryland’s high country. Hit the groomed cross-country trails at New Germany State Park or put on snow shoes and explore the countryside at Herrington Manor State Park. More than 20 downhill slopes and 14 miles of trails are available at Wisp Deep Creek Mountain Resort.