How To Beat The Dog Days Of Summer In The DMV

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By: Sophie Normand

The COVID-19 pandemic turned everything upside down and has canceled all sorts of events for the summer. One thing it didn’t cancel? That DC summer heat! While some of the things you might have been looking forward to this summer aren’t happening, or it might not be safe to attend some of the usual festivities, there are still some fun things to do in the DMV this summer! Keep reading for IMPACT Collective’s tips on how to beat the dog days of summer in a safe, socially distant way.

1) Explore the great outdoors

There’s no shortage of great outdoor activities in DC and the surrounding areas. Rock Creek Park offers gorgeous hiking trails, picnic areas, and scenic views right in the heart of DC. There’s also Great Falls Park in Virginia, with the dramatic waterfall views and beautiful trails. For our Maryland readers, check out Billy Goat Trail and Annapolis Rock on the Appalachian Trail!

If hiking isn’t your scene, lots of these areas have picnic areas where you can sit and enjoy the views. The National Mall is also a classic DC picnic location, surrounded by beautiful gardens and the monuments.

No matter where you’re going outside, don’t forget to bring your mask and stay 6 feet away from others!

Photo: Great Falls Park, Facebook

2) Test some of the best ice cream in the DMV!  

Don’t get me wrong, I love Dairy Queen just as much as the next girl. If you’re looking for something a little different that’s based closer to home, DC has lots of amazing ice cream and gelato shops! Eater DC compiled a list of some of the top ice cream shops in the area for you to check out and try for yourselves! Dolcezza in The Wharf is a personal favorite and I already can’t wait to try some of the other ones this summer.

Credit: Dolcezza, Facebook

3) Check out the local beaches—but be careful!

There are some nice beaches not too far from DC: think Virginia Beach, Rehoboth Beach, Ocean City…there’s no better summer activity than sitting by the water! As far as we know now, it’s unlikely that you’ll catch coronavirus in the water at the beach—the danger, however, is from other people there that are not social distancing properly. If you do decide to head to the beach for some fun in the sun, don’t forget to bring your mask along with your SPF! Be sure to also set up your towels far away from other beachgoers, to maintain social distancing.

4) Visit the museums

 If you’re looking for some air-conditioned fun, to take a break from the DC heat, head to the museums! The International Spy Museum and the National Gallery of Art have recently reopened some of their exhibits to visitors, with enhanced cleaning and social distancing protocols. Most places require you to book tickets in advance, to limit the number of people that are in the building at one time, so check out their websites to book your spot.

If you don’t feel comfortable going to the museums yet, or would rather stay home and still want to enjoy the exhibits, check out the Smithsonian’s website to access virtual tours of some of their exhibits.

5) Ride the water taxis on the Potomac

DC has several water taxi companies that operate along the Potomac. Check out the gorgeous views of the National Mall, the District, and Virginia from the water as you cruise along the Potomac! Different companies operate from different ports (Alexandria, Georgetown, The Wharf, etc.), so have a look at the map to see which one is closest to you. Be sure to bring your masks, sunglasses, and sunscreen, and put your feet up!

6) Walk or bike around the monuments in the evening

This is one of my favorite things to do in DC: when I first came to the city on vacation, my friend and I decided to wait until the sun went down (because it was so hot!) and then head to the National Mall to see the monuments all lit up. We picked up two Capital Bikeshare bikes down by the Lincoln Monument and went all the way up to the Capitol and it was amazing!

Be sure to bring lots of water—it’s still hot, even in the evenings!—and hand sanitizer if you’re taking a bikeshare.

Credit: Sophie Normand, personal files

There are lots of fun things to do in DC in the summer, despite the pandemic. If you are going out to experience the District, don’t forget to bring your mask and socially distance from others. Happy exploring!


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