Here's The Perfect Weekend Itinerary If You Love Exploring Washington DC Waterfalls
DC is the place to be if you are looking for adventure. There is a little bit of everything here and there is no shortage of fun sights. However, if you are feeling really adventurous and want to see some of nature’s magic, you have to leave the district. Luckily there are some fantastic destinations all around DC that feel a bit magical. We found some of the best and most beautiful waterfalls around DC and put them together into one epic road trip for you! In total, the trip will take almost 7 hours so we recommend breaking it up into a long weekend and we even included where you can stay and where you can eat on your trip! If you love exploring and searching for waterfalls near Washington DC, here’s the perfect itinerary for you.
This weekend waterfall itinerary encompasses seven wonderful places.
At each, not only will you get to enjoy some of the most beautiful waterfalls in this part of the country, but you’ll also traverse a wide variety of landscapes offering
and oodles of wildlife. So let’s get going!
1. Scott’s Run Nature Preserve
Scott's Run, McLean, VA 22102, USA
Scott’s Run Nature Preserve
has one of the closest waterfalls to DC so we start the action here. The easy hike is a 2-mile loop and features gorgeous views of the Potomac, as well as the waterfall itself.
2. Whiteoak Canyon Falls
Whiteoak Falls Trailhead, Whiteoak Canyon Trail, Luray, VA 22835, USA
After hiking Scott’s Run, we recommend heading to Virginia’s beautiful Shenandoah Valley. About two and a half hours away, you can experience
Whiteoak Canyon Falls
. This is one of the most beautiful and best waterfall hikes in Virginia. There are technically six waterfalls in Whiteout Canyon. The highest waterfall is 86 feet and the truly adventurous can take the steep hike up to it or you can stay near the Lower Falls.
3. Mimslyn Inn
Mimslyn Inn, 401 W Main St, Luray, VA 22835, USA
After Whiteoak, you will probably be a little weary. We recommend spending the evening in the
. The Mimslyn Inn is about 45 minutes from Whiteoak. It has southern charm and plenty of history in a gorgeous setting.
4. Cunningham Falls State Park
Cunningham Falls State Park, 14274 William Houck Dr, Thurmont, MD 21788, USA
After a relaxing evening, you will be recharged for another full day of hiking. We’re heading up into Maryland now for one of the best hikes near DC with waterfalls. Just two hours northwest of
Cunningham Falls State Park
. Cunningham Falls is Maryland’s highest waterfall at 78 feet. There are viewing platforms at the bottom of the falls. If you are a thrill-seeker, you can climb up the slippery slope to the top for prime photos.
5. Cascade Falls
Patapsco Valley State Park, Woodstock, MD 21163, USA
About an hour away from Cunningham Falls State Park is
Patapsco Valley State Park
, home to Cascade Falls. The hike to the falls, one of the best waterfall hikes in Maryland, is an easy one. In fact, you see your first waterfall in the first 1,000 feet of the trail! You can also wade in the water in the summer months near the falls. Check out this fun video tour of the park!
6. Atwater's Restaurant
Atwater's Catonsville, 815 Frederick Rd, Catonsville, MD 21228, USA
You may want to spend the evening near Patapsco Valley State Park after hiking twice that day. If you do, we recommend the quaint town of
. Grab breakfast the next morning at Atwater's Restaurant for satisfying and delicious comfort food.
7. Great Falls Park
Great Falls Street, Great Falls St, McLean, VA, USA
Finally, you can drive another hour and finish your waterfall road trip at
Great Falls Park
in McLean Virginia, just outside of DC. Great Falls is one of the most spectacular natural attractions in the area and one of the best waterfall hikes in Virginia. It features several 20-foot waterfalls and is a popular draw for folks from all over the region as well as from further afield. Here's a great little video tour of the park to get you excited!
Have you been to any of these wonderful waterfalls? Which ones were your favorites? We’d love to see your photos and hear about your experiences.
Want even more road trip ideas? Take this beautiful
lighthouse road trip around Washington DC!
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More to Explore
Things to do Near DC
Are there any kid-friendly hikes near Washington DC?
Actually, there are quite a few
kid-friendly hikes near Washington DC, such as:
Falling Branch Trail is one of the best hiking trails with waterfalls in Maryland and is only a short 1.3-mile loop.
Rock Creek Park in the middle of DC features several loop trails to choose from
Sugarloaf Mountain in the town of Dickerson, Maryland has a beautiful 5-mile trail called the Northern Peaks Trail which is simply stunning!
How many museums are on the National Mall in Washington DC?
There are 19
museums on the National Mall in Washington DC. Eleven of them are also Smithsonian Institutions. Choose from:
the National Air and Space Museum
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
National Museum of African American History and Culture
Where can you get the best pizza in Washington DC?
DC is a big foodie town and you can find any kind of gastronomy your heart desires. According to the locals, some of the
best pizza in Washington DC is served up at:
We the Pizza
2 Amys Neapolitan Pizzeria
Timber Pizza Company