Category Archives: Virginia

Go with the Flow: Recreation on the Water in DC and Beyond

Exploring the Anacostia by canoe

Exploring the Anacostia by canoe



A great way to enjoy a warm weather day is on the water, where you can paddle (or pedal or sail or float or motor) as you take in the scenery and explore. There are a bunch of places around the DC area where you can do all of the above, and if you’ve been reading KFDC for awhile then you probably know we’ve enjoyed many of them. While some are detailed in individual posts, here’s a convenient round-up of them all along with a few more places where you can go with flow around DC.

* Boating in DC now runs many of the boathouses in DC and nearby, including Fletcher’s Boathouse, Ballpark Boathouse, Key Bridge Boathouse, National Harbor, Thompson Boat Center, the Tidal Basin, and Washington Sailing Marina. The website has general info on all of them, and more details are below.
Canoe | $25/hour
Single kayak | $16/hour
Double kayak | $20/hour
Rowboats | $14/hour or $25/day
Stand-Up Paddleboard | $22/hour
2-Person Pedal Boat | $18/hour
4-Person Boat | $30/hour
2-person Swan Boat | $34/hour

Fletcher’s Boathouse
Where: Just off the C&O, 4940 Canal Rd. NW
When: April through October
Rates: see above

Our go-to for paddling on the Potomac. Canoes, kayaks, row boats, and stand up paddleboards are available for rent for some fun on the river. Fletcher’s is also a great place to enjoy a picnic and Potomac views — an open grassy area includes grills, tables, and space to toss a Frisbee. If you can, get there by bike — just off the C&O tow path, it’s conveniently located for cyclers. Read more about Fletcher’s in this KFDC post.

Ballpark Boathouse
Where: Diamond Teague Park, next to Yards Park
When: May 13 – Memorial Day
Rates: See above

Canoes and single and double kayaks are available. This paddling excursion on the Anacostia is more about the views from the water than the nature around it, since the area is very developed. You can get fresh perspectives of Nationals Park, Yards Park, and the Navy Yard, places most of us usually just see on land. Read more about Ballpark Boathouse in this KFDC post.

Key Bridge Boathouse
Where: Beneath the Key Bridge in Georgetown
When: April 15 through October
Rates: See above

They have canoeing, kayaking, stand up paddleboarding, plus lessons, fitness classes and special tours. You can paddle, then enjoy even more fun at Georgetown Waterfront Park (play in the sprays!), which is a hop, skip, and jump away.

Tidal Basin Pedal
Where: DC Tidal Basin
When: April 15 through October
Rates: $18/hour 2-person boat, $30/hour 4-person boat, $34/hour 2-person Swan boat

Get a new view of DC and take in iconic sites as you pedal your way around the Tidal Basin. Pedal boats are for rent next to the Tidal Basin parking lot just off Maine Avenue.

National Harbor
Where: National Harbor, MD
When: May 6 through October 1
Rates: See above

Paddling and pedaling on the Potomac are just some of the many activities offered at National Harbor. You can also go for a spin on the Capital Wheel, ride a carousel, romp on the playground, eat at one of many restaurants, shop, and more. You may not want to do this all in one day — but you can if you do! Read more about water activities and more at National Harbor in this KFDC post.

Thompson Boat Center
Where: Washington Harbour
When: April 15 through October
Rates: See above

Located right next to the Washington Harbour, it’s a great place to put in for lovely views of the Kennedy Center and Georgetown from the water. Canoes, kayaks, and stand up paddleboards are available.

Washington Sailing Marina
Where: Alexandria
When: April 30 through November
Rates: See above

If you want to set sail on the Potomac, you can rent a small sailing boat at this location. Kayaks and stand up paddleboards are here, too. It’s located right off the GW Parkway near DCA.

Bladensburg Waterfront Park
Where: Bladensburg, MD
When: April through October
Rates: See above

One of the better deals around. For $20/resident and $26/non-resident, you can rent canoes and kayaks to explore the Anacostia (and apparently you can paddle to the National Arboretum) for the whole day! They also offer pontoon boat tours on Thursdays & Fridays at 12pm, and Saturdays & Sundays at 5pm ($2/PG resident, $3/non-resident). Read more about Bladensburg Waterfront Park in this KFDC post.

Quiet Waters Park
Where: Annapolis
When: April through October
Rates: $15-20/hourly, $45-60/full day + $6/car admission

Enjoy paddling opportunities on the South River at this beautiful park in Annapolis. Be sure to take advantage of recreation on land too — you can hike, bike, check out art, picnic, and more!

Solomons Boat Rental
Where: Solomons Island
When: April through October
Rates: Start at $89/hour

Rent your own pontoon (or other motor powered boat) for an excursion on the Patuxent River. Located on Solomons Island, this outfitter rents in one, two, four, or eight hour blocks. Boats accommodate many people, so you can share the cost. Bring along food for a picnic on the water, and plan to jump in for some swimming, too! Read more about the experience in this KFDC post.

Seneca Creek State Park
Where: Gaithersburg, MD
When: Mid-May through Septeber
Rates: See below

It’s worth the drive from DC, not only because they have great paddling rates, but also because it’s a beautiful park with lots to do along with on-water fun. Hike, bike, play disc golf, enjoy an awesome tire playground, and so much more. And pontoon boat rides are offered Saturday and Sunday at 2pm and 4pm for $2 per person.
Boat rental rates:
Canoes and Rowboats | $8/hour or $28/4 hours
2 Person Pedal Boats | $8/hour or $28/4 hours
1 or 2 Person Kayaks | $9/hour or $32/4 hours
4 Person Pedal Boats | $12/hour or $40/4 hours

Pohick Bay Regional Park
Where: Lorton, VA
When: March 11 – October 9
Rates: Vary by vessel (see website)

Recommended by a KFDC reader (see below), they have kayaks, canoes, pedal boats and stand up paddle boards, and jon boats. Other activities at the park include hiking, playground fun, camping, mini and disc golf, and a swimming pool. (Sounds like we’re due for a visit!)

River Riders
Where: Harpers Ferry
When: Memorial-Labor Day, 8am – 6pm & Spring/Fall, 9am – 5pm
Rates: Start at $34,but vary by activity
If you want to take your water recreation up a notch, take a day trip or overnight out to West Virginia. With actual river rapids, they offer white water rafting and kayaking for exciting guided and self-guided adventure on the water. For more mellow fun, float down the Shenandoah or Potomac on a tubing trip.

* On Thursday evenings during late spring and summer, the Anacostia Watershed Society hosts free Paddle Nights and Boat Tours. Launching from different area parks from 5:30-7:30pm, paddlers can explore the river by kayaks and canoes, and those joining boat tours can enjoy the ride on an open air boat. Bladensburg Waterfront Park, Anacostia Park, Kenilworth, Diamond Teague Park, and Kingman Island are locations for these adventures.


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Filed under DC, Maryland, Nature, Outdoor, Seasonal, Sports, Spring, Summer, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend

The Weekend Round-Up: April 14-16

Tulips abloom at Burnside Farm

Tulips a bloomin’ at Burnside Farm



It may be Easter weekend, but there’s way more going on than egg hunts and bunnies (though there are plenty of them, too). Have fun at Nationals Park — and in national parks. Go to a flower filled festival. Join a bird walk or bike ride. See a show. Enjoy some recreation on the water. Fling some discs on a course…. These are just some of many ways to enjoy the next few days — and some QT with the kids. Happy Weekend!

Tiptoe Through the Tulips
Where: Burnside Farm
When: Friday 10am – 6pm, Saturday & Sunday 9am – 6pm
Admission: $6/Friday $8/Weekend

Experience Holland in Haymarket, VA! The bloom has begun at Burnside Farm, where their annual Festival of Spring showcases the season’s flowers. Stroll through the giant fields that contain over 50 different varieties of flowers in a rainbow of colors and pick your own to enjoy at home: $1 for 2 daffodils, $1 per tulip.) Be sure to have your camera handy. Along with the flowers, there are bouncy features, a playhouse area, cornhole games, and authentic Dutch wooden shoes to try on, concessions for sale, and a picnic area.

Egg-cellent Celebrations
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by event

Egg hunts, bunny visits, and more spring fun to celebrate Easter and the season are happening all around the area. Even if you’re not big on the holiday, there are attractions beyond bunnies and candy-filled eggs for the whole fam. Join a Bird Egg-stravaganza at Woodend, hunt amid storybook installations at Clark’s Elioak, enjoy loads of spring fun at Ticonderoga Farm, hop on a Bunny Train, fill a basket at an Eggstravagnza, feast at Pinstripes, or find another event where you can celebrate here.

Nats vs. Phillies
Where: Nationals Park
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
Admission: Ticket prices vary

The Nats host the Phillies all weekend with games Friday evening and Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Sunday’s game is going to be extra egg-citing. Not only is it Kids Day, Screech’s Birthday, and Kids Run the Bases, after the game young fans can join the first-ever egg hunt in the outfield at Nationals Park! This requires purchase of a special ticket, and adults must buy it, too (though the hunt is just for kids). Be sure to check out these KFDC tips for doing a Nats game without breaking the bank. And consider signing up for the Jr. Nationals Kids Club, too.

Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival
Where: Southwest Waterfront
When: April 15, 2-9:30pm
Admission: Free

The final event of the National Cherry Blossom Festival takes place on the Southwest Waterfront at the District Wharf and the Titanic Memorial. It’s an afternoon and part-evening affair with free live music and family-friendly festivities, including water-related activities, cultural experiences, and delicious foods. The grand finale will begin at 8:30pm when the National Cherry Blossom Festival Fireworks Show lights up the night sky.

Bluebells at the Bend
Where: Riverbend Park
When: Saturday, 10am – 2pm
Admission: $7

Celebrate the Virginia Bluebells as they blanket the banks of the Potomac River at Riverbend Park. Bring the whole family for fun including games, music, wildflower walks, wagon rides, live animals, and more. Read more about Riverbend in this KFDC post. And to see what else is going on at other Fairfax County Parks, go here.

Free Parking
Where: National Parks
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: FREE!

It’s National Parks Week through April 23, so there will be no entrance fee at national parks where they usually charge to get in this weekend and next. Take advantage of complimentary admission and celebrate our parks by visiting a local natural treasure. Hit the trail at Shenandoah or Great Falls, take a ride on Skyline Drive, explore Fort McHenry, or visit Harpers Ferry. For more ideas of places to visit, see the National Park Service website.

Breakin’
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

Spring Break is winding down for some kids, but just kicking off for others (incuding mine!), and there are a bunch of great ways to take advantage of the time off from school. See a special exhibit, hit the beach, take a cool day trip or overnight, and more. Check out the guide with ideas for where to go and what to do around DC during Spring Break 2017.

Show Time
Where: Local Theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by show

* Your wish for all-ages entertainment has been granted: Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp is at Adventure Theatre
* The Three Billy Goats Gruff is on the Main Stage at The Puppet Co.
* And Bunny Business is this week’s featured Tiny Tots show
* Ragtime is running at Ford’s Theatre, a historic DC etertainment venue
* The Broadway hit Chicago is at the Kennedy Center for one more weekend
* A Raisin in the Sun at Arena Stage is a great option with older kids or for a date night

Spring Bird Walk
Where: Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens
When: Sunday, 8-10am
Admission: Free

Bird nerds and those who enjoy a nature walk in a lovely place can join the National Park Service every Sunday in April and May from 8-10am to explore Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens and Marsh to find resident birds and arriving spring migrants from the tropics. Binoculars and gird guides provided. Meet at the Visitor Center.

Ride with Recess Outings
Where: Capitol Hill
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10-11:30am
Admission: $30-40

Join Recess Outings on a bike ride! If you’ve just starting to cycle with little ones in tow, the Precious Cargo ride on Saturday is an introduction to biking with toddlers. On Sunday, To Market, To Market is designed for anyone up for a leisurely exploration of DC, with world-class markets serving as the bookends along the route as you meander from Eastern Market to Union Market and back again. Get more details about both rides here.

Furnished with a Firelock
Where: Claude Moore Colonial Farm
When: Saturday, 1-4pm
Admission: $5/adult, $3/child, free for 2 and under

Learn about the militia in Colonial Virginia right before the American Revolution at this new educational and fun event. Witness the sights and sounds of an 18th century militia encampment and help the soldiers with their camp duties – then fall in to learn the manual of arms.

Go with the Flow
Where: Potomac, Anacostia, South, & Patuxent Rivers
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by boathouse

Enjoy the weekend on the water, where you can paddle and explore! A bunch of places around the area that rent kayaks, canoes, rowboats, and pontoons have opened for the season! Fletcher’s Boathouse is a popular place to go, and you can also row from Key Bridge Boathouse, which just opened for the season. Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis has paddling options. And if you’re up for a bigger excursion, you can rent your own pontoon at Solomons Island.

Disc Golf
Where: Local parks
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

Hit the links, the chain links, that is! Disc golf is a great way to enjoy a day outdoors with the family. Read about one of our outings playing the Frisbee-Golf combo. We’ve also enjoyed it at Seneca Creek State Park and Burke Lake Park. Not only is disc golf fun and challenging, the courses are set up in pretty places with lots of opportunities for more active recreation.

Out and About
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Between the glorious weather and the blooming everything (it seems, right?), it’s a great time to be outdoors. Plan for some al fresco adventures — the round-up of The Best Places in the DC Area to Enjoy a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids has ideas galore!

***Good Stuff to Know***
* There’s an awesome giveaway going on right now to celebrate Mother’s Day coming up. Enter here for a chance to win a $200 gift card to Bliss Spa and $100 in babysitting credit from Chime by Sittercity (note: it doesn’t have to be used on Mother’s Day)!
* Thomas the Tank Engine & friends are rolling into Baltimore for Day Out With Thomas at the B&O Railroad Museum April 28-30 and May 5-7. (Note: The giveaway has ended, but find ticket links in the post).
* There are lots of great shows coming to local stages this season — save your seats in advance!
* We dig the The Brig! The family-friendly beer garden near Barracks Row has a nice selection of brews, good food, live music on Saturdays, and a 25-foot screen for viewing sports games. Yay.


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Filed under 2017, All ages, Annual, DC, Eats, Educational, Farm, Festival, Free, Holidays, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Sports, Spring, Theatre, Virginia, Weekend

Explore Bright Horizons Early Education & Preschool Programs at an Open House

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Are you trying to find the perfect fit for your child’s early education? Attend a Bright Horizons Open House even and find out what sets them apart from the rest.

Several Open House events are taking place this spring at Bright Horizons locations all around the DC-Metro area where you can:

* Meet engaging teachers
* Visit the bright and beautiful classrooms
* Learn about their world-class curriculum
* Discover how children’s interests are incorporated into classroom experiences
* Find out how parent/teacher partnerships contribute to your child’s success

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Visit Bright Horizons online for more information and to find an event near you!

This post is sponsored by Bright Horizons, however, I only promote programs, places, and services that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.

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Filed under Daycare, DC, Educational, Free, Maryland, Preschoolers, Schools, Sponsored Post, Spring, Toddlers, Virginia

Chime is Celebrating Moms with a Spa Giveaway and Free Babysitting!

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Moms, our big day is coming up soon. And Chime, the awesome on-demand babysitting service from Sittercity, wants to celebrate it — and all of you — with a fabulous spa giveaway and free babysitting!

You might recall I first mentioned Chime back in the summer, just after it launched in the DC area. At that time, I hadn’t even used it yet myself. But I can tell you now from experience that it’s a fantastic, easy way to find a great sitter right in your neighborhood.

Their child care experts find popular sitters in every area they serve and pre-screen them, checking references with local parents and meeting with every sitter in person. Only the best of the best are invited to join. This makes finding a sitter very convenient, since all you have to do is access the free Chime app or website, submit a request, then choose from a selection of available sitters. Video profiles and parent reviews are provided and are very helpful in making a decision. Once you choose your favorite, your booking is confirmed instantly!

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We’ve used the service several times and have had nothing but excellent experiences. Every sitter we’ve book through Chime has been very responsible, friendly, and adored by the kids. Friends I’ve recommended it to have said the same.

There are no membership fees — you simply book a sitter when you need one. And something I really appreciate is that payment is easy and cash-free. Your credit card is on file and charged at the end of the night. (No last minute, late night stops at the ATM on the way home!) And if your plans change, they never charge a cancellation fee.

Chime is currently available in DC and surrounding areas, including Alexandria, Arlington, Bethesda, Silver Spring, Takoma Park, Falls Church, and Springfield. They also serve Boston, Chicago, and NYC, something to keep in mind if you’re traveling there and are hoping for some KidFree time.

So, Chime wants to get your Mother’s Day celebration started a little early. Not only are they offering a chance to win a $200 gift card to Bliss Spa along with $100 in Chime babysitting credit, if you’re a new user and sign up for Chime here, they’ll gift you with a $50 credit to your account to use whenever you’re ready to book a sitting.

Now, go sign up and make plans for some “me” time!

* * * * *

Giveaway: For a chance to win the $200 gift card to Bliss Spa and $100 in babysitting credit, simply leave a comment below telling me your favorite way to enjoy some “me” time (i.e., sans kids). To be eligible to win, you must sign up for Chime here (remember, you’ll get a $50 credit when you do!) and subscribe to KidFriendly DC (see sign up to the left). This giveaway will run through April 25, 2017, then a winner will be drawn at random and notified shortly thereafter — plenty of time to plan for some Mother’s Day pampering. 🙂 Good luck!


This post is sponsored by Chime by Sittercity, however, I only promote programs, places, and services that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.


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Filed under 2017, DC, Giveaway, Maryland, Moms, Professional Service, Sponsored Post, Spring, Virginia

Where to Play on the Weekdays: April 10-14

Behind the waterfall at Yards Park

Behind the waterfall at Yards Park


* Along with these recommendations, be sure to check out the Spring Break guide with more ideas for things to do with kids off from school this week!

Monday – Go hang out at Yards Park. The recreational space in the Navy Yard is a perfect place to spend a beautiful spring day. Play in the sprays, hang out in the grassy areas, stroll the boardwalk, take in the views, and have a picnic by the water or go for lunch at one of the many new nearby eateries. Admission to the park is free.

Tuesday – Hit the beach on the 80-degree day! The water may still be too chilly for swimming at Flag Ponds Nature Park, but you can build sandcastles on the shore, have a picnic by the water, spot wildlife in the woods, and do some fossil hunting — the park in Calvert County is a great place to search for shark teeth and other prehistoric remnants. Hours are 9am – 4pm (beach closes at 3:30pm), admission is $6/car. (Update! The park may be closed on Tuesday, so call head to confirm day/hours. If it is, head to Sandy Point State Park near Annapolis for beach fun instead.)

Wednesday – Catch a performance of Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp at Adventure Theatre. Showtimes for the all-ages production are 11am and 2pm. Tickets are $19.50. The show runs through May 21.

Thursday – Head to Upton Hill Park for an egg-citing event. Activities will include coloring, games, a moon bounce, and pictures with the Easter Bunny. The fun starts at 11am, and an Egg Hunt begins at 11:30am. Admission is $13 in advance, $14 day of. Add on a mini-golf and food voucher for $7 more and get a great deal on lunch (pizza, chips, and choice of drink) and two hours of mini-golf from 12-2pm.

Friday – Make a day of it at the National Arboretum. Explore the plant collections, go for nature walks through the woods, visit the Washington Youth Garden, and see the old Capitol columns. There are so many ways to enjoy one of the loveliest places in the city. Hours are 8am – 5pm, and admission is free. Read more about the Arboretum in the round-up of the best places to spend a day outdoors — it tops the list!


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Filed under 2017, All ages, DC, Free, Holidays, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Spring, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays