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rfloyd99

Colorado & Florida

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Posted: 10/22/22 08:16pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We're visiting DC without the RV and would like some advice from someone very familiar with the area.

We'll be driving from Charlottesville, and need a reasonably low-priced motel outside the city for 4-5 nights. We then plan to commute in to do the usual tourist stuff - museums, monuments, etc. This has worked well for us in other big cities. We find an RV park outside the city then drive to the nearest commuter transit station just after rush hour. We'll be leaving the DC area via Annapolis.

I haven't researched the transit system yet, but thought I would ask for some guidance here regarding an area outside the city, preferably to the south.

Any thoughts?

jkwilson

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Posted: 10/22/22 09:25pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Alexandria isn’t bad. We’ve gotten reasonably priced hotels. Easy parking at the Metro station. Decent places to eat nearby.

Mt. Vernon isn’t far.

Did the same thing you are planning. Metro in and out is very convenient.


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bgum

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Posted: 10/23/22 06:35am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Suggest you check out Cherryhill rv park in College park Maryland. They have several different ways to stay without a camper. They also have very good connections to the metro.

bgum

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Posted: 10/23/22 01:06pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The metro is very good and not expensive. The Smithsonian is between the Capitol and Washington monument. Washington's monument is right across the street from the White house. Right next to the WM is the reflecting pool and the Vietnam memorial and Right next to that is the Lincoln memorial. All walking distance. It can take several days to see most of the Smithsonian. Mount Vernon is down the river and you may consider driving to that. There is little to no parking in the city so forget that. A great view is to sit on the top step center of the Lincoln memorial and look over the reflecting pool. And by the time you get there you will need a few minutes of rest.

QCMan

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Posted: 10/23/22 03:23pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I will second the Cherryhill suggestion. Good spot with or without the rv.


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Crowe

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Posted: 10/24/22 07:01am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Suggest you check out Cherryhill rv park in College park Maryland. They have several different ways to stay without a camper. They also have very good connections to the metro.

X3. Awesome park and great location for accessing DC. The metro is a pretty easy system to navigate. Just keep in mind you will need to get at the metro stations very early to get a parking spot due to commuters. The campground has an express bus that goes right into the city and offers tours.


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azwildcat

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Posted: 10/24/22 07:03am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Metro, both train and bus, is the best way to get around the DC area. Check their web site for ticket info--they do offer some discounted fares for visitors and seniors.

1492

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Posted: 10/24/22 01:39pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Some Tips!
As someone who has lived in the VA/DC area most my life, and who works on the National Mall, my advice is to avoid driving into DC to visit museums and landmarks. But instead take the Metro (WMATA) subway. I’d advise buying a plastic ‘SmarTrip’ card at any station and avoid using the SmartPhone app which can be buggy. A good central location is to catch the Blue, Silver, or Orange lines and get off at the ‘Smithsonian’ station. This will put you right on the National Mall, with reasonable walking distance to museums, Washington Monument, U.S. Capitol, and National Archives. Smithsonian opens from 10:00 AM to 5:30 PM daily. The National Gallery of Art (NGA) 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. All these are free as they are U.S. government funded. Check out their websites for specifics. Of note, is that the National Air & Space museum on the Mall has re-opened with their first phase of renovations and new exhibits. Though you may need to get free timed entry ticket due to popularity.

Why not drive into DC?
It literally takes me 15-minutes to drive from VA to my office on the Mall, and I can also get reserved office parking. Yet, I rarely do so and take Metro instead. As a visitor, you’ll have to deal with traffic, confusing road patterns, and compete to find street parking near the National Mall which is no longer free in most cases. DC also limits the time you can park in one spot without being ticketed. Also, you need to pay close attention to “rush” hour parking restrictions as DC “will” tow your vehicle. Instead, park at one of Metro parking facilities, free on weekends, and $5. all day on weekdays. You’ll need to get a Metro SmarTrip card to exit parking.

Where to eat
All the museums have Café/Cafeterias though expect to pay premium prices. If you choose to do so, I’d recommend the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) which has some of the best food based on historic recipes (~ $30. average per person). Otherwise, not many options open nearby without a hike. Lunch trucks tend to congregate on the Mall across from Washington Monument. There is also a food court located in the Reagan building behind EPA, across Constitution Ave from American History museum. You’ll need to go through airport type security.

Where to stay
I don’t have any specific recommendations, though Virginia motels are close to the Mall and other landmark attractions. I’d avoid staying at motels in DC due to possible higher area crime rates. Hotels are generally fine. For free parking, there are a number of motels located along Richmond Hwy in Alexandria, VA. Hotels in Arlington/Alexandria may offer competitive rates this time of year, but many charge daily parking which can run on average $30. to $40.+ per day. Alexandria area also tends to offer some advantages as you’re minutes by car to Old Town Alexandria, Mount Vernon, National Harbor, MGM Casino, and outlet stores. In Alexandria, you can also park at the Huntington Metro facility, though train service is temporarily suspended due to station maintenance. You’ll have to catch regular shuttle buses at Huntington to the nearest Metro station where you can take the Blue line train, which also stops at Arlington National Cemetery, directly to the National Mall. SmartTrip cards work on all area Metro and local bus lines. Be sure to take the Blue line train back as the Silver/Orange lines do not go to Alexandria.

On a side note
Metro Silver line to Dulles International Airport is scheduled to open any day now. You can catch a shuttle from Dulles to Udvar Hazy Air & Space Museum, which houses the Space Shuttle Discovery, Blackbird SR-71, Concorde, and B-29 Enola Gay. There is also a full-scale Star Wars X-Wing in restoration hanger, though not sure if it’s on display. Admission is also free, though there is a $15. parking fee. If you drive, be aware of the toll roads and rush hour fees on popular routes to Chantilly, VA for Udvar Hazy. It can easily add double the parking costs to your visit depending on time of day. Some routes requiring SmartTrip cards.

Also, if you have a smartphone, you may want to download the MetroHero app. This gives real-time location and service updates for all Metro train lines. There is also a website version.

bobsallyh

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Posted: 10/29/22 12:35pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Try Bull Run County Park just off Bull Run Battlefield. Metro station just short up the road. We always used this for sightseeing or ball games in the DC area. Metro is so easy to use.

1492

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Posted: 11/02/22 03:42pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

bobsallyh wrote:

Try Bull Run County Park just off Bull Run Battlefield. Metro station just short up the road. We always used this for sightseeing or ball games in the DC area. Metro is so easy to use.

OP is staying at a motel, not RV. As Metro does not run directly from Bull Run Battlefield, you could alternatively take the Virginia Railway Express (VRE), a commuter train one can catch in Manassas city. From there, you could transfer to Metro Blue Line at Crystal City (Amazon HQ2). Or continue to L'Enfant Plaza station and walk a few blocks to the National Mall. Or finally at Union Station which is closest to the U.S. Capitol.

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