While we can’t get enough of energetic, buzzing Washington, D.C., sometimes we need a break from the city.
That’s why we’ve rounded up five of our favorite driving-distance destinations that offer something for everyone, from family-friendly spots to cozy inns for a romantic getaway. Best of all: every trip is within a four-hour drive, making for the perfect long weekend escape.
For Family Fun: Nemacolin Woodlands Resort
A three-hour drive from D.C., Nemacolin Woodlands Resort will keep the whole family entertained. From poolside activities to the just-opened Shepherd’s Rock golf course, a sumptuous spa, an adventure center, a field club and even a zoo onsite, your biggest problem will be figuring out how to fit all the excitement into a single weekend.
For true pampering, book the butler levels at the resort’s Chateau Lafayette, which offers Parisian-themed accommodations modeled after the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Ritz Paris (don’t miss a visit to the Five-Star Lautrec restaurant).
For a slightly more rustic stay, opt for Falling Rock‘s contemporary Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired boutique rooms, which sit along the 18th green of the hotel’s Mystic Rock golf course and provide perks like a pillow menu, bath butler and milk and cookie turndown each evening.
For Water Lovers: The Inn at Perry Cabin by Belmond
The historic-mansion-turned-high-end-hotel along the Miles River in St. Michaels, Maryland, has been playing host to guests since it first opened as a private home for purser Samuel Hambleton in 1812. It has operated as a hotel since the early 20th century, and today is managed by luxe brand Belmond. You may even know it from the 2005 comedy classic, Wedding Crashers, which was partially shot at the property.
After an easy 90-minute drive from Washington, an early afternoon check-in to one of the Four-Star hotel’s Water View Luxury Suites, which boast terraces and spectacular river vistas, sets the stage for relaxation.
Once you’ve settled in, enjoy an afternoon high tea, a massage at the onsite Linden Spa or a sail on one of the inn’s six yachts. Or take a stroll through the quaint shops of nearby St. Michaels.
By evening, dine on Maryland classics (be sure to try the crab cakes) at Forbes Travel Guide Recommended Stars or gather for a cocktail at The Purser’s Pub.
For Foodies: The Ivy
It’s just a 45-minute ride from D.C. to Baltimore, but Charm City has a way of feeling wildly different from its counterpart. Perched on a residential street in the heart of downtown, Four-Star The Ivy is a combination of several 19th-century row houses transformed to a grand inn that makes for a romantic retreat.
Check into the 18-room boutique hotel in time for high tea, complimentary for guests, and partake in a plate of housemade treats and petite sandwiches before heading up to your uniquely designed room or suite, most of which feature king-sized beds and oversized bathrooms (we love suite 17 for its skylights and chic animal-inspired décor.)
Tour the city or relax before dinner at Four-Star Magdalena, the hotel’s upscale restaurant with a British twist. It boasts the country’s only cellar to bear famed U.S. wine critic Robert Parker’s name.
Take in a show at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall or Hippodrome Theater before retiring.
Be sure to wake up in time to enjoy the multi-course breakfast (also included in the rate) at Magdalena before checking out, refreshed and revived from your night away.
For Instagram Inspiration: Quirk Hotel
A mix of creative and curious, Quirk Hotel is a fun stay in nearby Richmond. The chic boutique property was opened in 2016 by husband-and-wife team Ted and Katie Ukrop, already local legends as the purveyors of the popular nearby Quirk Gallery and former owners of Ukrop’s Super Markets.
Today, the Ukrops’ passion is the 74-room hotel, which is decorated in a colorful array of pink, gray, white and black. Dine at the farm-to-fork Maple & Pine restaurant, unwind at the rooftop bar or browse the incredible collection at the in-house gallery, thanks to a rotating artist-in-residence program.
For History Buffs: The Greenbrier
Step back in time with a trip to The Greenbrier, one of America’s grand old resorts, opened in 1778. Enjoy the signature Dorothy Draper décor (refreshed with the keen eye of designer Carleton Varney), tour the bunker that would have once housed Congress during a nuclear attack or get outside and take advantage of the property’s sprawling 11,000 acres.
The Greenbrier provides more than 55 onsite activities, including a casino, a full-service spa with treatments designed around the resort’s mineral waters, nine dining options and five golf courses, including the newly restored Old White TPC Course, which annually hosts a PGA Tour FedExCup tournament.
When you book your stay, be sure to request one of the 200-year-old Legacy Cottages, which offer multiple bedrooms and spacious living areas. Our favorite is the Florida Cottage, located just steps from the resort’s entrance.