Traveling to Washington DC…with Kids!

Last week, our family returned from a fun trip to Washington DC. I asked for all the family members’ feedback on the places that we visited and their favorite things in hopes that you could gain some perspective on what is worth doing in the large, busy capital with kids.

During the weeks before our trip, the children helped pick the places they wanted to see during our stay in DC, and we were so pleased to go and learn more about the history of each of the places that interested them.

We were staying in Arlington, VA just across the river from DC. The evening we drove in, we walked to the Iwo Jima Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery. At the cemetery, we saw several memorials, notable gravestones, and we watched the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. We found it interesting that the children had so many questions about showing honor and respect and maintaining silence while were walking through the memorials.

Most of the children found the White House to be the best part of the trip. We went there first thing the next day. Because of security, one can only get a pretty narrow view of the White House, and that from quite a distance (across the road). We got a couple good pictures, and allowed them to enjoy the hype about their visit.

We also saw most of the monuments and spent time at the Smithsonian. There are many museums (all of the Smithsonian ones are free), but we only went to American History and Natural History. Both were perfect for children.

The next day, we took the subway around 8:30am from the nearest station to the Museum of the Bible. We were worried about rush-hour traffic, but it ended up not being as bad as our experience in Chicago or Boston. The children loved the ride and it was overall an easy way to get downtown. There was a station just over a 10 minute walk from the hotel and on the same block as the museum. We all thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the Museum of the Bible. The building has so many bathrooms, so many places to sit and wait or rest, and was very spacious for strollers and our large family to get around : )

In the late afternoon, we took the subway back and jumped in the van to nearby Mount Vernon. Buying tickets in advance and doing a quick search online for discounts saved us $30-$40! It is a gorgeous place, and well worth the visit. We underestimated how much there was to see with there being a museum/educational center and all the grounds + buildings on the estate. We stayed until they closed, and made plans to return the next day. They validated our tickets so we could do that.

The next two days were spent at the Bible Family Conference enjoying lots of good break-out sessions from great pastors and speakers as well as wonderful fellowship.

One of the nights, we drove across the bridge back into the city to get a night view of the monuments. Even though most of the kids were already in jammies, it was well worth staying up late for!

The sidewalks in Washington DC are very wide and everything is spread out and open, so getting around with children on foot was not difficult nor stressful. The staff in all the buildings and sights were so nice! Everyone took time to congratulate us for the pregnancy, recommend a favorite children’s attraction, and share something that would be of interest to the little ones. We packed all our meals for all of six days (including the travel to and from days). Except for one breakfast. I knew that Nathan would do something special one of the days : ) He did some research and found a fun donut shop in-route home. It was a treat to let the kids pick the toppings to their hot donuts!

Almost 30 weeks pregnant and 92F with humidity that felt like 99F didn’t necessarily leave me feeling like the energizer bunny, but lots of water and good shoes certainly helped. Everyone had a terrific time, and even the children have thanked God in prayer for the opportunity to visit Washington DC and have that time together as a family.

Did I say the hotel had an outdoor pool? Fist time ever, best thing ever.

with love, Damaris