Friday, May 24, 2013

Washington DC : A Fun and Cost Effective First Family Trip

On the National Mall

I couldn't have been happier with my destination choice of Washington DC for our first family vacation with our 16 month old baby girl. Originally, I had booked a weekend trip to Cape Cod off Groupon but as last weekend was approaching I was starting to panic that the weather might not be the greatest. If that was the case what would we do all weekend? I searched online for indoor activities but nothing seemed quite appropriate for my daughter's young age.  So I decided to cancel those reservations and book a trip to DC instead because I used to love going there as a kid and teenager and I knew there was plenty to do both indoors and out.

A comment I got from several people was that "isn't your daughter too young to go to museums?" Well, yes she is too young to understand the history and meaning behind everything but she isn't too young to enjoy seeing "cool things" in her eyes. She just loves being out at this age. Besides, all the Smithsonian Museums are FREE in DC. Yes, FREE!!! So even if we were in a museum for only 10 minutes, nothing lost. These museums include: Museum of Natural History, Air and Space Museum, American History Museum, National Zoo and numerous others. For a complete list of museums you can check out the Smithsonian website.

Outside the Museum of Natural History

Besides going to the museums which can take a day each you can visit all the National Monuments and take some fabulous photo ops. Just be prepared to walk A LOT. So bring your best stroller and best walking shoes because you will be exhausted at the end of this trip. There is always the Metro which is the DC subway but sometimes it was just easier for us to walk since we had the stroller to maneuver around. That being said we never had a problem getting on the Metro with it but just be conscientious of not traveling during rush hour.

Now unless you have about $500/night to spend on a hotel, you will most likely not be staying in the heart of DC. Although the tourist area of DC is gorgeous there can be some seedy areas on the outskirts so I was very careful in selecting where we stayed. We used to stay in Bethesda, MD when I was younger so I decided that would be my best bet. We ended up staying at the Hilton Garden Inn for a fabulous price. I suggest checking online for pricing though, because the website offered a cheaper rate than the price they offered when I called but they ended up matching the price. the hotel was only a 5 minute walk from the Metro which we took to the heart of DC. It was only about a 15 minute ride so the savings was well worth it. There was also a Marriott and a Hyatt right by the Bethesda Metro.

Bethesda was such a nice town or should I say city that I wish we had more than two full days so we could have spent an afternoon walking around there. It had tons of shops and great looking restaurants that we didn't get to take advantage of but we plan on coming back soon and staying a little longer.

If you love history and like having a vacation full of fun education and amazing sights I highly recommend going to Washington DC.  Stay tuned for my next post which will have the specific details of our trip and it may give you more insight on a trip to the Nation's Capital.

Hanging out by the Reflecting Pool

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