Advice for Family Travel in Washington D.C.

I’m planning a whole series of posts on our Washington D.C. trip, but I thought I’d start with a personal recap so you might wanna grab a cuppa coffee.

Isn’t that the best. mug. EVER!? We ate twice at a restaurant by our hotel called Open City, and they do coffee right.

The trip didn’t start out so well. As I mentioned on Friday, I took a bad fall running on Thursday morning. I’m still recovering, and I’m sure tromping around our nation’s capitol for 3 days didn’t help matters any. My left knee and the palm of my right hand are messed up pretty bad.

I learned a couple things from this trip that I will happily pass on to you in case you’re considering a trip to Washington D.C. anytime soon.

Advice for Family Travel in Washington D.C.

1. Spring Break is the most beautiful time to be in D.C. It is also the most crowded.

Weigh the pros and cons and decide for yourself. Personally, I’d rather bypass the crowds and miss some of this.

2. Go with a plan. That plan should include dinner reservations.

I thought we had a plan, but evidently we didn’t have enough of one. That made for some pretty frustrating moments along the way. Plan for D.C. like you plan for Disney. Know where you’re going to eat, and MAKE RESERVATIONS before you leave home. Know what you’re going to try to do and see each day. Then be willing to be flexible. Which leads me to #3 . . .

3. Everything takes longer than you think it should.

So leave some wiggle room in your plans. You don’t want to be all stressed, trying to get to the next thing.

4. Use the Metro.

I have always heard what a fabulous Metro system they have in D.C., and I wasn’t disappointed. It was clean and convenient. It helped that there was a stop within a block of our hotel.

5. The trolley tours are a great way to relax after several days of walking.

They aren’t cheap, but by Day 3, we were willing to pay just about anything to give our legs and feet a rest. They are also full of interesting and entertaining information about the city and its history. See how happy they are, waiting to board the trolley?

It’s also a great way to see some of the sights you would have missed. I snapped this photo of the National Cathedral right through the window of the trolley.

6. Visit when your kids are old enough to appreciate it.

My youngest is 6, and it was all pretty much over her head. Plus, she’s a trooper, but it was still a lot of walking for her sturdy little legs. My 9-year-old wasn’t always highly impressed either, although I think some 9-year-olds would really enjoy it. My 12-year-old, however, ate it up. He would have stayed in the museums all day, and he also enjoyed the memorials. I wouldn’t go again with kids this young.

7. Did I mention how crowded it is over Spring Break?

That was the Museum of Natural History around 1:00 on Friday. We couldn’t even get near the exhibits. It was stifling.

8. Arrange for a private Capitol tour.

Everyone can do this, but hardly anyone knows about it. Call your representative and ask for a private tour of the Capitol. It’s free!!! We enjoyed this immensely. Senator Toomey’s intern showed us around and even got us gallery passes to see the House floor. People wait in line for hours for these tickets, but we got right in.

9. Stay at the Omni Shoreham

I know not everyone has the budget for the Omni Shoreham, but I was given a special media rate so it was a no-brainer for us. If it’s in your budget, I highly recommend it.

This elegant old hotel has entertained the likes of the Beatles and many U.S. presidents. My girls loved the fancy chandeliers, and they all loved our suite. They were highly impressed that it had 2 TVs. They’ve talked more about the hotel than the sites of D.C.

Beyond the amenities, it is conveniently located less than a mile from the zoo and within a block of a Metro Station. It is also across the street from several family-friendly restaurants.

10. Take time out to climb trees.

This is definitely not a place you want to rush around. It really is a gorgeous city. Take your time and enjoy it.

As for the rest of my weekend . . .

We got home late Saturday night and didn’t waste much time getting to bed. We were all wiped out.

We enjoyed an Easter celebration at our church on Sunday and then headed down to my inlaws’ for dinner. Everyone was decked out in their Easter attire and sufficiently filled up with chocolate.

Today I’m excited to attend the 3rd annual Women of the Week Luncheon where I get to see Dr. Oz. I’ll be the one hobbling around with a bandage on my knee.

I hope you and yours had a lovely weekend!

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