Washington DC

Awesome Airbnbs Near DC to Book This Spring

One of them has big Bridgerton vibes.

Photo Courtesy of Airbnb
Photo Courtesy of Airbnb
Photo Courtesy of Airbnb

For many, this spring is probably the first time you’ve even thought about taking a trip in well over a year. And while you may have dreams of travel to faraway places, like Tokyo or Tel Aviv, your best bet for a safe, affordable, and easy trip, at least at the moment, is in your own backyard.

Luckily, DC is home to plenty of charming, beautiful, and outdoor-centric places that are easy enough to reach for a staycation in the city or quick road trip. Plus, there are several unique Airbnb options that make the trip feel more like a transformative experience, especially if you’re a hopeless Bridgerton romantic or a tried-and-true Lord of the Rings nerd. So check out these stays in the District and the surrounding area, and explore the Mid-Atlantic region at its springtime best.

Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb

Victorian Vacation in Dupont Circle

Washington, DC
2 guests, $74 per night
For a romantic staycation with big Bridgerton vibes, book this quaint Victorian-style room at the historic Dupont Circle Inn. The room features a canopy bed and historic decor in an old brownstone building on a beautiful tree-lined street. The Inn is self-check-in and contactless, and you’re within walking distance to Dupont Circle for outdoor lounging and people watching-who knows, maybe you’ll cross paths with your own Duke of Hastings.
Things to do nearby: If it’s Sunday, visit the Dupont Circle Farmers Market for one of the largest selections of organic produce and year-round vendors selling handmade treats. A spring picnic in the circle is an easy option after visiting the market, or buy a book at Kramers and find a cozy park bench for some outdoor reading. For dinner, book a reservation in the courtyard at Iron Gate-it’s one of the longest-running restaurants in DC and features Mediterranean dishes and wines from one of the best chefs in the city, Anthony Chittum.

Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb

Discover Nautical Charm in Naptown

Annapolis, Maryland
6 guests, $179 per night
Distance from DC: 1 hour
Take to the water in Maryland’s state capital, Annapolis, a historic city known for sailing, fresh seafood, and the U.S. Naval Academy. Directly adjacent to the academy is this charming rowhome, with nautical vibes and enough space to sleep an entire family. Its proximity to Main Street makes it a must for your next “Naptown” retreat. This property has all the comforts of modern living in a charming turn-of-the-century rowhouse. Plus, there’s a front porch with a red rocking chair for sipping your favorite cocktail on a warm spring day.
Things to do nearby: When you’re ready to explore Annapolis, we suggest crossing the bridge over into Eastport where you’ll find plenty of fresh seafood and waterfront activities. Start with lunch at Davis Pub, one of the oldest neighborhood bars in the city, and a spot is known for its crab dip and pretzels, plus Maryland beers on tap. If you’re more in the mood for brunch, then order up a Bloody Mary and a dozen Chesapeake Bay oysters at the Boatyard Bar & Grill followed by a crab benedict or crab cakes. And after all that eating, you’ll need an outdoor activity to help work off all the carbs. Might we suggest the kayak and stand-up paddleboard rentals at Annapolis Canoe and Kayak

Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb

Stay at a Hobbit House

Broadway, Virginia
2 guests, $139 per night
Distance from DC: 2 hours
If your vacation is well… precious, then you might want to check out this Lord of the Rings-inspired stay in scenic Broadway, Virginia, just two hours west of Washington near plenty of hiking in Shenandoah National Park. This Hobbit house looks very similar to what you might find in Middle Earth, but with some upgrades including heated tile floors, recessed lighting, and a waterfall shower. This Airbnb is set on a sprawling farm and comes with Adirondack chairs, a fire pit, and acres of gardens and woods to explore. 
Things to do nearby: Hikers will want to head to this destination for an endless number of trailheads that can take you to soaring views of Virginia’s Shenandoah region. To get here, you can cruise Skyline Drive and just a few miles away you’ll find the Massanutten Trailhead, as well as the Mountain Run Swimming Hole, a refreshing way to cool down after a strenuous, uphill hike. Plus, it’s just over the mountain range to Luray Caverns, an underground labyrinth of cave exploration.

Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb

Sleep Under the Stars in a Music City

Floyd, Virginia
2-4 guests, $59 per night
Distance from DC: 4.5 hours
Go glamping in a yurt overlooking one of the darkest stretches of skies on the Eastern seaboard. This farm in southwest Virginia, near Roanoke, is a stargazer’s delight. It’s also perfect for those who hate camping because these outdoor accommodations have queen beds, running water, and air conditioning. Each geodesic dome is situated on a rolling pasture with skylight flaps so you can stare from bed at the celestial night sky-sweet dreams guaranteed.
Things to do nearby: Tiny Floyd, Virginia has small-town charm and no shortage of bluegrass and other musical offerings. The Dogtown Roadhouse is where locals gather for wood-fired pizza, beer, and live music every Saturday. Meanwhile on Fridays, head to The Backyard Jamboree for two hours of live music starting at 6 pm. Admission is free and seating is outdoors with social distancing in effect-just be sure to bring your lawn chairs and blankets. Meanwhile, musical acts are returning to Epperly Mill, a landmark stop along Virginia’s “Crooked Road” heritage music trail.

Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb

Caboose Quarters Near Natural Bridge

Natural Bridge, Virginia
4 guests, $182 per night
Distance from DC: 3 hours
The kid at heart will love an overnight stay in a historic railroad caboose that has been converted into tiny house living. This train car is now permanently situated in Shenandoah Valley, but it was once a historic rail car so the interior is decorated with vintage railroad signs and other memorabilia. The site has access to a campfire plus other outdoor activities, like horseshoes and volleyball courts, making it the perfect location for family vacations or a restful getaway for those seeking to unwind and visit nearby scenery and wineries.
Things to do nearby: Natural Bridge State Park is located just a few minutes from this tiny house accommodation, and it’s a breathtaking and enormous rock bridge that attracts throngs of tourists each year. Aside from rock formations, Natural Bridge, Virginia is also home to some award-winning wineries, breweries, and cideries, including Great Valley Farm Brewery and Winery and Halcyon Days Cider Co.

Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb

Beachside Retreat in an Enchanted Garden 

Ocean View, Delaware
2 guests, $105 per night
Distance from DC: 3 hours
A custom-built tiny house set in a beautiful garden by the beach? Yes, please. Sure the accommodations are cozy, but the outdoor space includes a private deck, organic garden, and an on-site farm-to-table restaurant and bar with wine, craft beer, and cocktails, so you’ll want to spend most of your time outside anyway. When you’re ready to hit the surf, there are several beaches nearby to choose from.
Things to do nearby: Tourists vacation in Bethany. Locals stay in Ocean View, Delaware, a quiet village, that’s just a short bike ride away from the beach. Skip crowded and congested Delaware Route 1 for restaurants that keep folks coming back, like hook-to-table seafood at Northeast Seafood Kitchen or the frozen treats at Bonkey’s Ice Cream and Snoballs. Breakfast is also on point. Head to Morning Buns Bake Shop for coffee and sticky buns, or Ocean View Deli and Restaurant for flapjacks in the a.m. 

Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb

Barn-Chic Stay in Easton

Easton, Maryland
2 guests, $125 per night
Distance from DC: 2 hours
This converted barn has won architecture and design accolades making it hard to believe that it was once a corn crib, a granary to dry and store corn. The vaulted ceiling space makes this Airbnb stay appear bigger than it actually is, and it comes furnished with a queen-sized bed, a coffee counter, and a bar fridge. Plus, you’re just minutes from historic Easton with a refined drinking and dining scene.
Things to do nearby: The Bluepoint Hospitality Group rules the roost along Easton’s main drag and it’s for good reason-you’ll find plenty of incredible dining options. Chef Harley Peet oversees Bas Rouge, a swanky, upscale bistro with three- or four-course dinners perfect for a vacation-worthy splurge. Plus, The Stewart, a Scotch bar, is a great place to end the night. For lunch, two casual cafes Bumble Bee Juice and Sunflower & Greens, are among the options, and Bonheur and Weather Gauge have your caffeine and sweets needs covered.

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Tim Ebner is a food and travel writer based in Washington, D.C. and writes for Eater, Edible, Washington City Paper, and Forbes Travel, among others. He’s from Maryland and has a weakness for Old Bay seasoning. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

Washington DC

The Eight Most Exciting Suburbs Outside DC

You could use a little space.

Regine Poirier/Shutterstock
Regine Poirier/Shutterstock
Regine Poirier/Shutterstock

When people say Washington, DC, it’s hard to tell if they’re talking about The District proper, or the sprawling metro area that is sometimes nicknamed the DMV: The District, Maryland, and Virginia. The fact is that DC is made whole by its vibrant suburbs, whether you’re looking for a shopping center dedicated almost entirely to Vietnamese cuisine, a rock climbing wall in-you guessed it-Rockville, or a wetland preserve that’s wide open for hiking and fresh air.

The DC suburbs practically have it all, and you can reach many of these neighborhoods by bike, public transit, or a set of four wheels. Here are eight great suburban destinations that you may find yourself visiting soon. We won’t judge you if you want to stay.

Earth Treks Rockville
Earth Treks Rockville
Earth Treks Rockville

Rockville

Distance from DC: 30 minutes
Many people will inevitably cruise Rockville Pike, aka 355, for all of its big-box delights, since this retail corridor has always been a sprawly place to shop for decades. But more recently, Rockville has become something entirely different. It’s walkable and bikeable, thanks to the Pike & Rose development. And it remains a destination for some of the best Chinese soup dumplings in the DMV at A&J Restaurant and Bob’s Shanghai 66. Rockville is also, fittingly, home to the best rock climbing wall attracting serious spelunkers and climbing newbies alike. And it remains a place for family-run restaurants, many of which are run by immigrants. For a small taste of the magic of this Montgomery County suburb, visit Bombay Bistro for Chef K.N.Vinod and Surfy Rahman’s take on Indian fare from the country’s southern region. Like many of the best eateries in Rockville, this restaurant is tucked away in a shopping strip. When you find it, you’ll be rewarded with mouth-watering dosas, biryani, and vindaloo.

Fresh Baguette
Fresh Baguette
Fresh Baguette

Bethesda

Distance from DC: 20 minutes
Anyone who grew up near Bethesda has probably spent their early teenage years loitering at the Bethesda’s Regal Cinema or by The Barnes & Noble water fountain. Now, both of those legendary spots of yesteryear have been transformed into a suburban-style city with sidewalk cafes, trendy shopping, and an upgraded Capital Crescent Trail-a longtime favorite with joggers and bikers. Bethesda is also home to a world of flavors: Fresh Baguette for Parisian-style pastries, Pesca Deli for Portuguese, Taqueria El Jalapeño for tasty tacos, and Passage to India just to name a few. To reach all of these places, you can hop aboard the Bethesda Circulator, a free shuttle service that picks you up at the Bethesda Metro station and takes you in a loop around town.

Brookside Gardens, Montgomery Parks
Brookside Gardens, Montgomery Parks
Brookside Gardens, Montgomery Parks

Wheaton

Distance from DC: 20 minutes
There is absolutely no beating Wheaton when a food craving hits, whether it’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner. This Maryland suburb, just north of DC on Metro’s red line, has one of the best diners in the region, Nick’s Diner, owned and operated by Nick Markopoulos and his Greek family. For lunch, Wheaton is home to a handful of pupuserias that are indicative of this neighborhood’s Salvadoran community. Pupuseria La Familiar, Los Chorros, and Irene’s Pupusas are three great options. Finally, for dinner, Peruvian chicken at El Pollo Rico or Bolivian fare, and specifically the beef silpancho, at Kantuta’s are hearty and tasty offerings. Finish your day of dining on a high note with a cannoli or rainbow cookie from Filippo’s Deli. After a day of eating, you’ll need to walk off all those carbs. Go for a leisurely stroll around the pond at Wheaton Regional Park’s Brookside Gardens. The park is a five-minute drive north of Wheaton’s retail corridor, and it’s free and open to the public year-round.

Streetcar 82 Brewing Co.
Streetcar 82 Brewing Co.
Streetcar 82 Brewing Co.

Hyattsville

Distance from DC: 20 minutes
A brewery tour is a safe bet when visiting Hyattsville, Maryland-a community with a small-town vibe, located in Prince George’s County, just across The District line. A primary reason why beer nerds flock here is Franklins, a brewpub that last year opened a tiki-themed bar in its parking lot to adapt during the COVID-19 pandemic. There are more than a dozen beers on tap, plus Franklins makes its own root beer if you prefer some nonalcoholic suds. That’s in addition to a historic hardware shop that’s been converted into a bottle shop, with a wide collection of craft beer and local wine. Nearby on Route 1, find a local brewery that specializes in outdoor drinking. Streetcar 82 Brewing Co. opened two years ago and is named in homage to the 82 Streetcar line which ran by the brewery’s site from 1888 to 1957. This converted auto garage now serves hop-forward beers and has bike rack parking and picnic tables, perfect for a Sunday Funday. For more craft beers from around the country paired with wood-fired pizza, Pizzeria Paradiso is a top-notch eater across the street, and cap off your crawl by swinging by Maryland Meadworks, which serves a range of meads from sweet to semi-sweet to dry.

Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary
Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary
Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary

Upper Marlboro

Distance from DC: 45 minutes
Fulfill your childhood wonder and delight at the greatest playground in the DMV. Watkins Regional Park is great for kids (or the kid at heart) looking to romp around themed playgrounds. The first is a horse-racing-themed playground, part of Maryland’s legacy as a horse racing capital. Meanwhile, the second option is the stuff of fairy tales-a Wizard of Oz-inspired playground, complete with a yellow brick road, a ruby slippers slide, and an Emerald City climbing wall. Grownups and kids alike will also enjoy the hiking options at nearby Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary, an expansive preserve that’s part of the tidal reaches of the Patuxent River. There are more than 1,700 acres of unique freshwater marshes, forested wetlands, creeks, meadows, pines and sand barrens, plus fields and park areas for an afternoon picnic. If you’d rather fuel up than bring-your-own food, Upper Marlboro’s Main Street Coffee & Treats is where the community gathers for coffee, pastries, fresh-pressed juices, and vegan cupcakes at all hours of the day.

Photo Courtesy of Ada's on the River
Photo Courtesy of Ada’s on the River
Photo Courtesy of Ada’s on the River

Old Town Alexandria

Distance from DC: 20 minutes
With waterfront views, historic homes along cobblestone streets, and a trolley that goes up and down King Street for free, it’s hard not to imagine why Old Town Alexandria wouldn’t be on our suburban list. You might come for the charm, but there’s a lot more to this city than just Instagram-worthy streetscapes. The Torpedo Factory is a burgeoning artist enclave for purchasing one-of-a-kind sculptures and artwork. Those who prefer a pleasure cruise down the Potomac can take the Potomac River Water Taxi to or from the city. And outdoor eating by the water offers plenty of space and social distance. The food and outdoor surroundings at Ada’s on the River and King & Rye, two of Alexandria’s latest eatery additions, are great places to book a weekend brunch.

Eden Center
Eden Center
Eden Center

Falls Church

Distance from DC: 30 minutes
Most people know Falls Church as the home of Eden Center-a shopping center with dozens of Vietnamese businesses and restaurants. This might be the biggest draw for Falls Church food lovers. However, there are several more reasons to make this Northern Virginia suburb a part of your food bucket list. Start at Takumi, a popular Japanese sushi spot, serving quality grade sashimi, sake, and sushi tastings. Got a craving for cavatelli? Then book it to Thomspon Italian. Chef Gabe Thompson and Pastry Chef Katherine Thompson are a husband and wife team who make this spot feel more like home. While the dining room remains closed, Thompson is offering several of its top dishes, including housemade pasta and gelatos, for pickup.

Wolf Trap
Wolf Trap
Wolf Trap

Tysons Corner

Distance from DC: 30 minutes
When you visit Tysons Corner, you’re probably here to do one thing-shop until you drop. Tysons is home to two malls, sometimes nicknamed Tysons I (Tysons Corner Center) and Tysons II (Tysons Galleria). The former is pretty typical while the latter leans more upscale. Not surprisingly, Tysons II also has good taste in food. Find the Urbanspace Food Hall, home to Donburi DC and Andy’s Pizza, plus an upscale pastry shop called Lady M. Aside from the shopping and dining, another good reason to visit Tysons this summer might be for a concert. The Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts recently announced its outdoor summer concert lineup, which could start as soon as the end of May. We’ll keep our fingers crossed!

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Tim Ebner is a contributor for Thrillist. 

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