When you visit Washington, DC, you will definitely get a feel for the daily happenings in the historic town within the first few hours. While most associate DC as the major hub of the U.S. federal government, it is also known for being the home to some of America's most majestic monuments, offering a glimpse into American history in the most engaging and awe-inspiring way.
I plan to share some of our travel experiences and tips along the way, but to get started on your Washington, DC travel plans, we need to focus on the basics:
Tips For Traveling To Washington, DC With A Toddler
- Bring your own water. While it is not difficult to locate vendors selling bottles of water, prices can range anywhere from $1-$3 per bottle. You will go through more water than you could ever imagine drinking, so plan accordingly! Children are especially susceptible to heat-related illness, so make sure little ones stay hydrated throughout the day.
- An umbrella stroller is not only a comfortable way for toddlers to ride, it also provides shade from the sun and a place to take a nap when the day's adventures start to settle in. An inexpensive neck pillow is a wonderful addition to any lightweight umbrella stroller, and makes nap time even cozier. I purchased both at a Babies R Us just outside of the city for under $30.
- Don't forget the sunblock! It pretty much goes without saying, but you will be doing a LOT of walking! Bring a bottle with you to reapply as needed throughout the day. A childhood sunburn leaves little ones with a higher risk of developing skin cancer later on in life, and an ounce (literally!) of protection goes a long way.
- Purchase a day pass and ride the Metro into the city. There are some crazy drivers up there, and parking can be very expensive. Day passes are $14, but children 4 and under ride free. Compare to $16 parking at the zoo and museums, and you might come out ahead - both financially and emotionally :) Plus - children appear to love riding on the Metro, so getting around the city can be economical and fun!
- If you take the Metro (see above tip) stop by Union Station for lunch. It has a food court vibe with a lot of different dining options, but still has plenty of historic charm to engage even the most experienced DC traveler in your group.
- The summer months are not the best time to visit. The sun is bright, the temperature is high, and the humidity will make you hurt! Also, if you plan to take in the National Zoo, keep in mind that the animals will be hiding from the heat. You might be able to see the flamingos and zebras, but that's about it. Aim for spring or fall for a better experience.
I will be posting a sample day trip itinerary and tips to get the most out of visiting several of our nation's monuments, so check back soon! What basic tips would you add to this post?