Capital Region Self-Drive
The capital’s corridors of power are the starting point for this self-drive, a trip that takes you back in time to the birth of a nation. Tales of early colonial settlers come alive in Williamsburg and things take a Revolutionary turn in Yorktown before you return to Washington D.C. along the Atlantic coast.
Suggested route & duration
Suggested duration: 8 nights Washington D.C. round-trip
• Washington D.C.: 2 nights
• Shenandoah National Park: 1 night
• Charlottesville: 1 night
• Williamsburg: 1 night
• Virginia Beach: 1 night
• Ocean City: 1 night
• Baltimore: 1 night
About this independent tour
Why you’ll love this itinerary
• Visit Washington D.C.’s national monuments and prestigious Smithsonian museums
• Drive Shenandoah National Park’s 105-mile Skyline Drive or hike part of the epic Appalachian Trail
• Immerse yourself in 18th-Century life at Colonial Williamsburg
• Hear stories of early English settlers and the American Revolution in Jamestown and Yorktown
• This itinerary can also be done in a motorhome.
Suggested self-drive itinerary
Day 1: Washington D.C. Start your holiday in America’s capital city, full of epic memorials and monuments. Stay 2 nights at Capital Hilton.
Day 3: Shenandoah National Park Explore this picturesque national park, home to a range of wildlife including black bears and deer. Stay at Big Meadows Lodge.
Day 4: Charlottesville Head to the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains for this charming city, known for its sprawling vineyards and cycling trails. Stay at Omni Charlottesville.
Day 5: williamsburg Be sure to visit the Colonial Williamsburg living-history museum – it’s part of the famous Historic Triangle of Virginia, which also includes Jamestown and Yorktown and is linked by the Colonial Parkway. Stay at Kingsmill Resort.
Day 6: Virginia Beach Lap up the laid-back vibes at this popular coastal city, home to a three-mile-long boardwalk lined with shops and restaurants. Stay at Sheraton Oceanfront.
Day 7: Ocean City Spend a day in Maryland’s only coastal community, stretched along ten miles of beautiful beach and known as the White Marlin Capital of the World. Stay at Hilton Ocean City Oceanfront Suites.
Day 8: Baltimore Discover the maritime history of ‘Charm City’, including the historic seaport of Inner Harbor and star-shaped Fort McHenry just across the water. Stay at Revival at Mount Vernon Place.
Discover enchanting artefacts at the world’s most visited natural history museum
National Park Drive
Pass through forests and enjoy the views in Shenandoah National Park’s Blue Ridge Mountains
Explore the grounds of Monticello, the beautiful home of the USA’s third President
Experience 18th-Century life at the world’s largest living history museum
Tailor your tour
Make it your own
We’ve crafted this self-drive based on our own experiences and customers’ feedback. It’s fully flexible, so talk to us and we can create your perfect trip.
Where to stay
Accommodation in Shenandoah is very basic – choose something further away from the park if you’re looking for more comfort (and are prepared to drive more). Washington D.C. is full of upscale luxury hotels, like the award-winning Four Seasons Hotel in historic Georgetown.
Washington D.C.’s monuments look spectacular at night – it’s a safe city so you can explore by yourself or easily find a tour. The 17 Smithsonian Museums are all free and suitable for different interests – the Air & Space Museum houses the Apollo 11 re-entry capsule.
We’d recommend at least two nights in Washington D.C. to experience the monuments and Smithsonian Museums in more depth. Or you could see more of Virginia – cross the Potomac River to Alexandria for its red-brick old town and the boutiques of King Street.
After ending your holiday in Baltimore you could easily add on other eastern USA cities. Try a famous Philly Cheesesteak and spend time browsing galleries in the old City of Philadelphia; or unearth some of the lesser-known hipster haunts in New York City.
Good to know
When to go
• September to November is a great time to visit the USA Capital Region as the summer crowds disappear and temperatures are cooler
• You can see the fall foliage around Shenandoah National Park and the Blue Ridge Mountains from mid-October to early November
• Washington D.C. is pretty in the spring – the National Cherry Blossom Festival usually takes place from late March to mid-April
• July and August is the busiest time along the coast