Bundle up and get going --adventures and a whole new year are in front of you!
If you’re looking for a healthy and refreshing w.ay to kick off 2023, how about enjoying the great outdoors with a “first day hike" (or walk if that's more your speed.)
Hundreds of free, guided hikes will be organized in all 50 states on New Year's Day for a "first day hike," but just because DC hasn't gained that elusive statehood stamp doesn't mean you have to miss out. Where there's a will, there's a way and there are plenty of great places to get out and enjoy a peaceful winter walk.
Of course, there's always Rock Creek Park, but let us introduce you to nine less obvious, but still awesome, places.
This 1,200-acre green space is a hidden gem that also happens to be the biggest park on the east coast (bigger than Central Park in NYC!). It has great trails for cycling, jogs or long walks and conveniently connects Anacostia to Navy Yard and to H Street corridor. It also has beautiful riverfront views with almost endless open grass area for picnics, play, etc and it happens to be one of the best bird-watching locations in DC.
A historic woodland garden, free and open every day, with 13 acres of peaceful wooded paths, a lily pond, stone bridges, streams, and native meadows that surround the original mansion (now home to the Washington International School), greenhouse, dacha, gardener’s cottage, and carriage house. You’ll find a forest of trees, 2,000 daffodils, numerous bushes and a variety of flowers.
Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens
Calling all birders: About 240 species have been spotted in DC’s Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens, according to the Maryland Ornithological Society. Wandering along the River Trail or the boardwalk could lead to sightings of great blue herons, soaring raptors, and quacking ducks.
Theodore Roosevelt Island
As a fitting tribute to the first conservationist in chief, nature reigns on this 88-acre island in the Potomac. Getting a piece to yourself is as simple as taking the 1.5-mile perimeter trail. A boardwalk cuts through marsh and swamp forest, with views of Georgetown.
Kingman + Heritage Island
Kingman and Heritage Islands are natural parklands found on the Anacostia River in Northeast DC. There are over 50 acres of green space to be explored on these two island habitats. This Southeast gem is a little off the beaten path, but is perfect for people looking for a spot removed from the crowds. You'll find heavily wooded trails, broad bridges over the river, and peace and quiet. Wooded trails, river views, and wetlands comprise much of the sights to be experienced when visiting the park.
Dumbarton Oaks Gardens
Just as they were designed to do, there are blooms throughout the year. With trails through the trees, fountains, terraces and Juliet style balconies, the gardens are a feast for the senses.
US National Arboretum
The gorgeous, 446-acre expanse of forests, meadows, and gardens connected by 9 miles of trails and roadways makes for an inspiring and visually captivating visit at any time of the year.
National Cathedral Grounds
The 59 acres surrounding the Cathedral, provide a beautiful sanctuary year-round. The grounds consist of cultivated gardens, including the Bishop’s Garden; the Olmsted Woods, an oak and beech forest; manicured lawns; a prayer path; and the landscaped grounds and athletic fields of the Cathedral schools.
C&O Canal Towpath
The canal, or rather the idea of it, is almost as old as our confederation of states, with George Washington himself founding a company in 1785 to open up the Potomac to parts west. The first stretch of towpath, behind M Street, is brick-lined and hushed, abutting low-slung brick buildings that evoke Georgetown’s Colonial past.
Curious? There's more!
Look up, down, and all around. Adventures can be found everywhere -- if you're curious enough to look. k for it