Sunset over the water with trees and clouds

Looking for the best scenic drives near DC, Maryland, and Virginia? If you live near Washington, D.C., or are just visiting, you don’t have to wait until Valentine’s Day to plan a special trip. Short scenic drives in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia will make any day special. Let’s check out some of the best ones!

Scenic Drives In or Near Washington, D.C.

Rock Creek Parkway

If you want a quick and easy drive, visit the Rock Creek Parkway. This scenic road runs through Rock Creek Park, a beautiful green space right in the city. You’ll drive past lovely trees, a flowing creek, and even the National Zoo. It’s a peaceful escape without leaving D.C.

Beach Drive

Beach Drive also winds through Rock Creek Park, offering a quiet and picturesque route. On weekends, parts of the road are closed to cars, making it perfect for biking and walking too.

Sunset at Rock Creek Park
by Der Berzerker

Journey Through Hallowed Ground Byway

This road starts in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and goes for 180 miles through historic Civil War sites and towns, including one of my favorites, Harper’s Ferry, where John Brown masterminded his historic raid. Consider visiting Gettysburg National Military Park and Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s home in Virginia.

Scenic Drives in Maryland

George Washington Memorial Parkway

a small lighthouse named Jones Point Lighthouse

This parkway runs along the Potomac River, offering beautiful views of the water, key monuments, and lush landscapes. You can stop at Great Falls Park to see the waterfalls or visit Arlington National Cemetery. Another great stop is Mount Vernon, George Washington’s home. My favorite park in the area is Jones Point Park. It’s an urban park located under the bridge with fully shaded basketball courts, clean bathrooms, and a fishing pier. There’s also Jones Point Lighthouse, which was built in 1985.

Chesapeake Country Scenic Byway

Starting 30 miles from D.C. in Chesapeake City, this drive takes you through Maryland’s Eastern Shore. There are pretty farmlands and charming waterfront towns like Chestertown and St. Michaels. Is there anything better than old, charming towns with local shops and restaurants?

Antietam Campaign Scenic Byway

Sunset over the water with trees and clouds

This drive is about 60 miles from D.C. and goes through Sharpsburg. It follows the routes of Civil War battles, featuring lots of history and rolling hills. Visit Antietam National Battlefield and Harpers Ferry. You can also stop by South Mountain State Battlefield.

Scenic Drives in Virginia

Skyline Drive

About 75 miles from D.C. in Shenandoah National Park, this road is 105 miles long and goes through the Blue Ridge Mountains. There are many spots to pull over and enjoy the view. You can hike on different trails or explore Luray Caverns. Don’t miss the cute towns like Front Royal and Waynesboro along the way.

Blue Ridge Parkway

Brown Trees on Mountain Under White Clouds

Starting about 100 miles from D.C. at Afton Mountain, this drive is famous for its amazing mountain views and vibrant fall colors. Visit places like Peaks of Otter and Mabry Mill. There are also lots of hiking trails and scenic overlooks to enjoy.

Old Dominion Scenic Byway

Starting in Fairfax County, this drive takes you through Virginia’s horse country and historic towns. Middleburg and Upperville are fun to visit, and Sky Meadows State Park is a great spot for a picnic or hike.

Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail

This trail follows the Potomac River from the Chesapeake Bay to the Allegheny Highlands. Along the way, you can visit Great Falls Park, Mount Vernon, and many hiking and biking trails along the river.

These scenic drives in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia offer a perfect way to spend the day enjoying the beauty and history near Washington, D.C. So, put Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” on repeat, hop in the car, and make some great memories with your family and friends. Remember, you don’t need to wait for a special occasion to enjoy these drives—romanticize every day!

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