When DCPS students had a day off last week, my friend Torey and I decided to make it a “Big Boy Day” with our pre-K kids, since our little ones get more time alone with us during the week when their brothers are at school. We were thinking about what to do when she remarked that she wished we could take them on a boat ride to enjoy the nice day. Immediately, my mental recreation Rolodex did a quick spin, and I recalled a post from No Monsters in My Bed about taking a Water Taxi between Old Town Alexandria and the National Harbor. Some easy online research and — voila! — we had a great plan set for the day.
The Potomac Riverboat Company operates their Water Taxi between the two destinations on the river several times throughout the day, seven days a week. One-way tickets are $10/adults and $5/children ages 2-11. We opted to catch the ferry at National Harbor then have lunch and hang out in Old Town before cruising back. The schedule worked better for us that way, plus we figured parking would be easy at our starting point, and there would be more lunch options at our destination.
After parking easily in a garage at National Harbor and buying our Water Taxi tickets, we had about 25 minutes until the boat arrived. It was just enough time to browse through the new Peeps store (the company’s first retail outlet) and for the boys to play on the Awakening sculpture, which was relocated there from Hains Point a couple of years ago.
The Water Taxi arrived right on schedule, and it wasn’t very crowded, so we made our way to the front where we could see the sights and enjoy the beautiful day. Of course, the boys wanted to explore the boat, so we eventually went inside, then to the back, and made many more of those rotations throughout the trip. Of course, the ride itself and the sights along the way were the biggest thrills–we all loved seeing a new perspective of the DC landmarks, the Woodrow Wilson Bridge above us as we passed beneath, and a bird nesting on a buoy in the middle of the Potomac River.
After the 20-minute ride, we disembarked at the Alexandria Waterfront and made our way to King Street for lunch at the Fish Market. The kids menu was great, and the boys loved checking out the tank of live lobsters near the entrance. From there, we walked around the area, hoping to take a ride on the Old Town Trolley, though the schedule wasn’t working in our favor. But it was nice to stroll around, stop for ice cream, and spend time outside on a lovely day.
The boys enjoyed the return ride on the Water Taxi just as much, if not more, than they did on the way there, since they were veteran riders by then. Next time — and there definitely will be one — we’ll go the opposite route to put a twist on the adventure.
For more information about Water Taxi rides check out the Potomac Riverboat Company website.