Dog Days of Summer staycation picks

If you are seeking an escape before the end of summer but want to avoid the hassle of planning for a faraway getaway, we have some convenient nearby staycation ideas

Hilton Washington DC National Mall The Wharf

Formerly the L’Enfant Plaza Hotel, the Hilton Washington DC National Mall The Wharf was completely renovated and reopened in 2019. It has 367 contemporary guest rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows and one or two king-sized beds. Its many amenities include an outdoor rooftop pool, fitness center, and business center. The onsite dining options include L’Enfant Grill, L’Enfant Bar, and a Starbucks Café.

The hotel is just steps from the International Spy Museum and easy walking distance to The Wharf‘s many dining and entertainment venues and the National Mall’s many museums and memorials. The DC Circulator picks up right in front of the hotel and L’Enfant Metro Station is directly below the hotel making it very easy to visit most of the city.

Suggested Activity: Catch the world premiere of the musical American Prophet: Frederick Douglass in His Own Words playing at Washington’s Arena Stage through August 28th

Omni Shoreham Hotel

Since 1930, the Omni Shoreham Hotel has hosted presidents, world leaders, and numerous inaugural balls, making it a true landmark in our nation’s capital. It has 834 guest rooms with a variety of bed types (one king, one queen, one double, two queens, or two doubles). Property highlights include an outdoor resort-style pool, hot tub, and pool bar as well as a spa and health club overlooking the hotel’s 11 lush acres and stunning landscape. The onsite dining options include Robert’s and the Marquee Bar and Lounge.

Located just behind the Omni, Rock Creek Park provides more than 32 miles of hiking trails and paths to explore. In addition, the nearby Woodley Park and Adams Morgan neighborhoods are filled with eclectic bars, music venues, and restaurants.

Suggested Activity: Visit the giant pandas at the Smithsonian National Zoo, located just a short walk from the hotel. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the zoo’s panda conservation efforts.


Gaylord National Resort

Located on the banks of the Potomac River, the Gaylord National Resort is the largest hotel in the Washington, DC area. It has nearly 2,000 spacious rooms that just recently underwent a multi-million dollar renovation. Accompanying the many rooms are a plethora of amenities including a spa, fitness center, indoor pool, and video game arcade. There is also a one-and-a-half-acre, 19-story glass atrium, complete with lush gardens and a nightly light show. The onsite dining options include Old Hickory Steakhouse, Potomac District Café & Market, Belvedere Lobby Bar, Harbor Social Sports Bar, and 80’s themed Replay pop-up at Pose Rooftop Bar.

Although guests can stay plenty busy onsite at the Gaylord, the resort is just steps away from National Harbor‘s many shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues and its hallmark attraction, The Capital Wheel. Guests also have free access to the National Harbor Circulator Bus that stops at the Tanger Outlets and the MGM National Harbor Resort & Casino.

Suggested Activity: Grab a ringside seat to see UniverSoul Circus, performing at National Harbor through September 5.

The Hotel at the University of Maryland

The Hotel at the University of Maryland is a LEED Gold certified, AAA Four Diamond hotel located adjacent to the University of Maryland. It has 297 oversized guest rooms, with a standard room starting a 450 sq.ft. All of the rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows, plush custom Turkish robes, and environmentally friendly BeeKind bath and body products. It also offers an indoor pool, fitness center, and spa. The onsite dining options include The Lobby Bar, Potomac Pizza, and Bagels ‘n Grinds.

The Hotel’s location makes for easy access to the University of Maryland Arboretum & Garden and Golf Course. In addition, it has recently partnered with Vino 301 to provide a special package that includes a tour of local wineries and overnight accommodations at the hotel.

Suggested Activity: Take a step back in time with a visit to the College Park Aviation Museum, a Smithsonian Affiliate. Located on the grounds of the College Park Airport, the world’s oldest continuously operating airport, the museum contains historic and reproduction aircraft associated with the history of the airfield.

Embassy Suites by Hilton Alexandria Old Town

Old Town Alexandria was voted one of Travel + Leisure’Best Cities in the U.S. 2022 and Southern Living’Best Cities on the Rise 2022, — and The Embassy Suites by Hilton Alexandria Old Town puts guests in the heart of this historic city. Each of the hotel’s nearly 300 suites include a refrigerator and microwave. Its other noteworthy amenities include an indoor pool and fitness center. A free made-to-order breakfast and evening reception with cocktails and snacks served in the hotel’s Atrium Lounge is included with every stay.

The Embassy Suites is located on King Street, which is lined with unique shops and restaurants. There is a free trolley that runs along King Street between the hotel and historic Alexandria City Hall & Market Square, which is just blocks from the city’s popular Torpedo Factory Art Center and waterfront.

Suggested Activity: Purchase a Keys to the City attractions pass that provides free access to many of city’s historic sites including the George Washington Masonic National Memorial and the Gadsby’s Tavern Museum.

The Watermark Hotel

The Watermark Hotel is a new hotel located at Tysons’ Capital One Center. It features 300 luxury residential suites ranging in size from 300 to 1,200 sq.ft. with floor-to-ceiling windows, premium bedding and kitchenettes. On the top floor is a 2,000-square-foot state-of-the-art fitness center with Peloton bikes
and a FORME interactive fitness mirror. A free locally-sourced breakfast is provided to guests a The Aviary and evening dining and cocktails is available for purchase at Wren.

The hotel has direct access to The Perch, an urban rooftop green space that includes Starr Hill Biergarten and Perch Putt, an 18-hole mini putt putt course and retro vehicles repurposed as food trucks. Also connected to the hotel is Capital One Hall, which has numerous events scheduled for the remainder of the summer. For guest wishing to do some retail therapy, the hotel is walking distance to Tysons Conter Center and Tysons Galleria, two of the region’s top shopping malls.

Suggested Activity: Be amazed by Cirque du Soleil’s KURIOS performing at Tysons through September 25.

Troy Petenbrink

Troy, also known as The Gay Traveler, is a well known travel and food writer. His has been a regular contributor to a variety of outlets including National Geographic, Travel Channel, DCRefined, CBS Local, and Metro Weekly. He also appears on local Washington news outlets as a travel expert.

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