How to plan a kid friendly trip to Washington D.C.

As most of you know we homeschool as we travel and I am always looking for opportunities to sneak in education while visiting certain destinations. So when we decided to head to Washington D.C. I knew it was going to be a goldmine opportunity for our kids to learn about American history and more. I couldn’t wait to walk around the National Mall, museums and other historical sites and watch them soak in all that our nation’s capital has to offer.

I had a full itinerary, flights and transportation but I was missing the perfect hotel. While I knew we would be out sightseeing quite a lot I still wanted a hotel that enriched our trip. A hotel with all the comforts of home to come back after a long day and just relax. As soon as I came across The Gaylord National Resort I knew it was the one! Since we have the kids in tow on most trips a huge requirement of ours is a kid friendly property. Our kids are really well behaved, but checking in and feeling like your kids don’t belong there is not a great feeling.

The Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center is warm, welcoming and has an incredibly friendly staff to take care of any need you might have while on the property. This can really come in handy with the kiddos around! While the hotel has location, comfort and fantastic amenities there is one feature you can’t miss and will always remember; the 19 story atrium!

We have stayed at many hotels with impressive atriums, but The Gaylord’s atrium blew all of those out of the water. The fantastic part is that rooms with balconies can look over the giant atrium with an amazing view of the Potomac. The sunsets from our balcony were amazing and the kids loved sitting looking down at the adorable recreation of Alexandria you can find on the first floor.

While the National Harbor has many restaurants to choose from as a mom I love that the property has many restaurant options to choose from for those who are a little too tired to head out.

National Pastime Sports Bar and Grill

Our family absolutely loved eating and hanging out here. The food was fantastic and we loved being able to just chill and watch a game or two. The sports theme is great and it’s a fantastic place for the whole family to sit down and enjoy a meal together. I went with a classic burger and it was so good! Although I would highly recommend my husband’s choice of the three cheese macaroni with Brussels sprouts.  

Pienza Marketplace

Everyone needs to start out there day with a hearty breakfast when sightseeing and The Pienza has you covered. Our family loved all the many delicious options served up for the breakfast buffet. The kids couldn’t get enough of the made to order oh so yummy pancakes. The staff at The Pienza was amazing! Our server brought the kids their favorite drinks every morning and she even helped my son cut his pancakes! By far the best service we have received in a long time. I was also very impressed with the assortment of fresh fruits including my favorite, raspberries!

Old Hickory Steakhouse

This is a fantastic option for parents looking to get out for a little date night, but not leave the property. Savor decadent premium beef, artisanal cheeses and handcrafted cocktails. After dining you can visit the outdoor terrace for unrivaled views.

The Cocoa Bean

I love when a hotel anticipates the need for a little pick-me-up. As a mom coffee is an essential and I was thrilled when I saw The Cocoa Bean. I really enjoyed sitting in front of the fountain in the wonderful atrium enjoying a cup of freshly brewed coffee. They also serve light snacks the whole family can enjoy for a quick bite.

Belvedere Lobby Bar

During downtime, be sure to visit the casual lobby bar. Sip on some their signature cocktails as you gaze at the lush atrium and watch the sunset over the Potomac River. They also offer various draft beers, champagne, wine and light meals.

Pose Rooftop Lounge

At Pose you can take in panoramic views of National Harbor or dance the night away! Open to hotel guests 21 and over only.

Even if you don’t plan on heading to see the sights in D.C., The National Harbor has so much to offer families. I felt that the area was very kid and family friendly. You can find many stores and shops that the whole family will enjoy like the Peep store!

There are also many activities like The Capital Wheel. This 180-ft Ferris wheel will give you unbelievable views of the Potomac River and more. The cars are enclosed for extra safety and air-conditioned for the summer months. Definitely an experience the whole family will love!

Kids will also love “The Awakening”. While it sounds kind of ominous, this 72 foot statue is actually a blast as kids can climb all over it!

One of the best things about being on the harbor (Other than the amazing water views) is being able to take advantage of the water taxi and heading to Alexandria, Georgetown and D.C. not by car but by boat!

The Potomac River Boat Company has you covered on transportation to all the surrounding areas. This is a fantastic way for the whole family to enjoy all the sights of the area and skip what might be another boring car trip for the kiddos. The Potomac River Boat Company also has many sightseeing tours if you are looking for more activities! Our kids really got a kick out of riding up and down the Potomac and it was definitely way better than trying to drive into and find parking in D.C.!

To have a smooth time once you are in D.C. remember not to over plan. Keep it to one or two activities per day to avoid burnout. We planned one day to look at the National Mall and the next day to visit the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. As a great tip if it’s part of the Smithsonian it’s FREE to get in! Our kids were able to learn so much and it was all free to visit.

After our sightseeing was done I couldn’t think of a better hotel to come back to and relax at than The Gaylord National Resort. Every night there is a light and water show with the fountain in the atrium.

The Gaylord National Resort really is the best family friendly option that has everything you could need! I would highly recommend staying in one of their atrium view luxurious suites to really soak in the complete experience. Head over here to book your Gaylord National Resort family experience!

A big thank you to The Gaylord National Resort for hosting to facilitate our trip, all opinions and information are my own.

Check out more pics from our trip below:


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