Backyard Playgrounds

Washington, D.C.
  |  Gorp.com

WITHIN THE LIMITS: Rock Creek National Park
Why We Love It:

With a variety of activities ranging from open-air concerts to golf and tennis, Rock Creek National Park stands as the prototype for all other urban parks. An integral part of city life in the U.S. capital, Rock Creek also provides a main artery for the runners of all political persuasions and connects many of the city's neighborhoods.

Don't Miss:
Rock Creek's historic Peirce Mill is a Civil War-era reminder of the capital city's landscape when the park was founded in 1890. Also, on weekends the Beach Drive stretch is closed to traffic—ideal terrain for road cycling and family strolls through the park.

Getting There:
Rock Creek lies within the northwest quadrant of the city and is accessible year-round from many points within the city, including the Georgetown waterfront and the rear entrance to the National Zoo.

The Fine Print:
Access to the park is free. For more information visit: www.nps.gov/rocr or call 202.895.6070.

Additional Information:
Check out Away.com's Guide to Rock Creek Mountain Biking

NEARBY: Shenandoah National Park
Why We Love It:

The sprawling Shenandoah National Park spans the spine of Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains. Bisected by the Shenandoah River, this park has over 500 miles of hiking trails, camping, fishing, and horseback riding.

Don't Miss:
The park's 101-mile section of the Appalachian Trail is some of the trail's best-kept terrain, offering memorable scenic vistas of the Shenandoah Valley. The park lays claim to Old Rag, the region's best (read: rugged and rewarding) day hike.

Getting There:
Shenandoah is 90 miles southwest of Washington, D.C. Follow Route 66 west, link up with US-29 S, and follows signs for Skyline Drive.

The Fine Print:
Shenandoah charges $5 per person or $10 per car for seven days. For more information visit: www.nps.gov/shen or call 540.999.3500.


Published: 6 Oct 2005 | Last Updated: 24 Oct 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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