Warm weather brings out the best in Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, one of Washington, DC’s most remarkable natural attractions. Located in the southeast quadrant of the city along the east bank of the Anacostia River, Kenilworth is the only national park devoted to the propagation and study of aquatic plants. The park spans 14 acres, with 45 ponds that sustain a collection of more than 100,000 water lilies, ferns and lotuses. Each July when the blooms near their peak, Kenilworth welcomes hundreds of nature lovers for its annual Water Lily Festival.
If there’s a full moon, head to the National Arboretum for a moonlight hike. The Arboretum offers several hikes each month following the full moon. An Arboretum staff member leads hikers on a five-mile trek through the 444-acre park tucked away in the northeastern corner of DC. On the two-hour guided tour, hikers travel past scenic woodlands, often catching a glimpse of the creatures who venture out after dark. The paved trail also rambles past a magnificent set of Corinthian columns that were once part of the East Portico of the U.S. Capitol. A number of other talks and outdoor activities are also offered at the National Arboretum.
For an invigorating day out, locals love the Billy Goat Trail at Great Falls Park in suburban Maryland. The 4.2-mile trail traces the Potomac River near magnificent waterfalls. It’s not an easy stroll, however; hikers scramble over rocks and climb over inclined boulders for breathtaking views of the river. When you’ve traversed the trail, rest your feet at Old Angler's Inn, a vintage 1860 restaurant known for its inviting outdoor terrace in summer and cozy fireplace in fall and winter - and half-priced wine on Mondays and Wednesdays.
Biking is one of the best ways to navigate the nation's capital. Visit DC's familiar monuments on a guided tour with Bike and Roll. Two- and three-hour overview tours of the city are offered daily from March through November. Capital City Bike Tours and Bike the Big Capital also offer comprehensive tours.
The Washington, DC area also has several distance bike trails, including the C&O Canal, the Mount Vernon Trail, the Capital Crescent Trail and Washington & Old Dominion Trail, all providing scenic vistas and physical challenges.
Runners can join a knowledgeable local for a jog past the city’s most famous sites with City Running Tours. Sign up for a 5K or 10K past the city's iconic monuments and memorials, or book a personalized tour and choose what you'd like to see in Washington, DC. Runners receive a water bottle and goodie bags with run-friendly treats, plus insider tips from knowledgeable guides. Ask for restaurant picks, great date spots and hip nightspots.
Near Washington, DC, the calm Potomac is an ideal spot to learn to sail against an impressive backdrop of monuments and memorials. Never manned the helm? The Washington Sailing Marina offers classes as well as boat rentals for seasoned sailors on most spring, summer and fall weekends, plus some evenings and weekdays. If you prefer to navigate the river in a canoe or kayak, swing by Jack’s Boathouse, Fletcher’s Boathouse or Thompson Boat Center to rent one for a daytime adventure.