Celebrate National Park Week, April 17-25, 2010!

If you’re planning a trip to the nation’s capital, you may be able to name a number of stops on your itinerary without even cracking a guidebook. Memorials to presidents; museums devoted to natural history, air travel and space exploration, and the visual arts; the White House; the U.S. Capitol—these sites or some combination of them draw many visitors. But you might look at your schedule and wonder if several days of marble monuments, glass display cases, rooms of paintings, and iconic buildings will have you hankering for a break.

Slate a day or two to get away from the Mall and explore a much different national park—a pocket of America’s great outdoors within the boundaries of the District of Columbia. Rock Creek Park, located in northwest D.C., offers a mixture of scenery, tranquility, adventure, and activity. 

Among Rock Creek’s slopes, trees, and slabs of rock, and near its eponymous body of water, you can ride on horseback, take a run, bicycle, or rollerblade. This week’s Getaway destination also beckons to hikers and kayakers, although, equipped with multi-use paths, it more than accommodates those seeking the proverbial stroll in the park.

Want to hit the links? Paddle downstream? Set sail? Head to Rock Creek Golf Course or the Thompson Boat Center. The latter rents kayaks, canoes, small sailboats, and rowing shells (and bikes, if you’re a cyclist who likes to travel light).

To plan your excursion and get a taste of the history of Rock Creek Park, the 45th national park in the Getaways series, visit www.nps.gov/getaways. Also check out previous Getaway articles. Each week, the series helps you find a new place to reconnect with nature, history, family, and friends.   


photo by tomfs








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Ellen Barone has been creating words and images for travel and tourism since 1998. She co-founded and publishes the group travel blog YourLifeIsATrip.com and is currently at work on her first book "I Could Live Here".