Location: On George Washington Memorial Parkway north of DCA
Readers’ pick: National Mall
As the middle school spring break trip season descends on the District, ditch the tourist-filled National Mall and bring your picnic blanket across the river to the park at Gravelly Point.
The spot, roughly a 15-minute drive or 20-minute bike ride from campus, is located in Arlington on the west side of the Potomac River. The park is uniquely situated directly across from Reagan National Airport and provides a scenic venue for plane enthusiasts and picnic-goers alike to watch the departing planes pass above seconds after taking off.
The planes regularly soar over the park only 100 to 200 feet above the grass. The runways are also clearly visible from the park, and the general goings-on of the airport provide endless entertainment.
Opposite the airport you can find a panoramic view of the Potomac and the District beyond it. The Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorial draw your eye to the left, and the Capitol Building peeks out between the office buildings of Southeast D.C.
The park itself is idyllic with a few picnic tables under leafy trees and a spacious grassy park perfect for stretching out with some sandwiches or fruit and champagne. Barring some traffic noise due to its proximity to the George Washington Memorial Parkway, the park provides a calm, out-of-the-city feel.
Bikers, roller-skaters and pedestrians frequent the Mount Vernon Trail that runs along the edges of the park. The park can host a variety of outdoor games from frisbee and spikeball to rugby games as the park has its own pitch.
There’s no better way to spend a leisurely weekend afternoon than with a picnic. Pack a lunch or an assortment of your favorite snacks and head to Gravelly Point for a picturesque view, serene landscape and an up-close view of Reagan’s majestic departures.