Washington DC is the US capital and as such, home to many federal buildings and a great number of world class museums, that are all free to enter. Bring comfortable walking shoes, you’ll need them!
This was one of the cities, that I visited on my recent trip. You can read more about that trip and what I learned about the van in: For All Intents And Purposes.
I left Frederick MD early and was in a continuously slow moving traffic jam until I reached the city. Fortunately, my GPS guided me to my pre-located free parking spot in Potomac Park. From there, it is a five-minute walk to the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, the Tidal Basin and the other attractions.
Sadly, bringing my dog along to the city will restrict me from most activities, as buildings, memorials and stores are not really dog friendly. That wasn’t the purpose of this visit and a one-day exploration is utterly insufficient to see what the museums have to offer. You can easily spend a week or more in the Washington area without feeling bored. Besides the National Mall, the Capitol and the White House, you can visit the outstanding National Zoo, the US National Arboretum, Arlington National Cemetery, Mount Vernon, the C&O Canal or Shenandoah National Park.
My goal for the day was to walk the Mall and spend the day outside with my dog companion on a 10-mile sightseeing trip. First was Jefferson Memorial and along the Tidal Basin to the Washington Monument. I was too late for the Cherry blossoms and the weather was barely cooperating. Much of the Mall was being renovated and inaccessible, the Capitol was in scaffolds and even the White House was obscured from view by a huge white tent.
On the positive side, I managed to visit a few new sites, like the Supreme Court, hidden behind the Capitol Buildings and tried out every other bench, simply enjoying my surroundings. I wished I could have visited the new Museum of the American Indian, as well as the newer memorials, such as the MLK Memorial, but those have to wait.
2016 Three City Tour
Upcoming: Savannah, GA.
Despite all the changes after 911, the Mall is still a very open place and accessible to everybody, but I noticed a lot of security and police activity everywhere and instead of giving a helping hand, they frown upon everyone. Those are the signs of the times, we live in.
After a six hour walk back to the Lincoln Memorial and a return to the van in Potomac park, rain and drizzle was returning and I canceled my evening walk and decided to leave early for Charleston SC.
Washington DC is a MUST for anybody and one of the few well accessible cities with lots to do for adults and children alike. With a little effort, free parking is available nearby or an easy metro ride will get you there. Camping is affordable and close by in the Greenbelt Park or you may choose to pick a quiet site outside town in Bull Run Regional Park, about 25 miles to the west of the city or pick a free overnight stay at the Walmart in Frederick.