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There are 36 National Park Services in Washington DC, however, there are no National Parks. The national park services are comprised of a wide range of different sites, for instance, scenic trails and historic memorials. So, whether you are into waterways or pathways, following in the footsteps of patriots or explorers, the District of Columbia has something for you. Ready to explore? Here are some of the best National Parks in Washington DC.

7 of the best National Parks in Washington DC

1. Anacostia – Park

Anacostia Park is a place to unwind amid a bustling city – a neighbourhood national park in the heart of Washington DC. It is one of Washington DC’s largest and most important recreation areas and it includes Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens, and Kenilworth Marsh. There are over 1,200 acres of park to enjoy where you can try all manner of activities, for instance, roller skating, biking, basketball, tennis, and other ball games. There’s also an 18-hole course as well as a driving range, a host of marinas, boat clubs, and public access to the tidal Anacostia River for recreational boating.

best national parks in washington DC

2. Potomac Heritage- National Scenic Trail

The Potomac Heritage is the corridor between the Chesapeake Bay and the Allegheny Highlands. It flows through Washington DC, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia. This corridor formed over thousands of years as the Potomac River carved its way through layers of rock; creating cliffs, waterfalls, and wide winding bends. All along the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail, you can enjoy lots of history and recreation activities, for example, hiking, biking, and paddling.

3. Captain John Smith Chesapeake – National Scenic Trail

The Captain John Smith Chesapeake is America’s first water-based National Historic Trail. These waterways extend roughly 3,000 miles (4,800km) along the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia. It follows the routes of John Smith’s historic voyages on the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries in 1607-1609. The trails are based on the English explorer’s documents, for instance, his map and written accounts. Along the trail, you will also take lots of other National Park Servies, for example, 16 National Wildlife Refuges, 12 National-Parks, and three other National Trails.

best national parks washington DC

4. George Washington – Memorial Parkway

The 25-mile long George Washington Memorial Parkway runs along the south bank of the Potomac River. Stretching from Mount Vernon to McLean in Virginia, it links sites that commemorate important episodes in American history. It also preserves habitat for local wildlife. There are lots of interesting places to stop along the way in Washington DC, for instance, Lady Bird Johnson Park.

5. Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route – National Historic Trail

The 680-mile (1,090km) Washington–Rochambeau Revolutionary Route follows in the footsteps of the Continental Army. In 1781, French and American troops, under the command of George Washington and Jean-Baptiste de Rochambeau, marched along these roads. They did so for 14 weeks from Newport in Rhode Island, to Yorktown in Virginia. Some 7,000 soldiers marched, therefore, making this the largest troop movement of the American Revolution.

6. Star-Spangled Banner – National Historic Trail

The Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail is a 560-mile land and water route commemorating the War of 1812. It links historic sites in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. The route tells the stories of the events leading up to the Battle for Baltimore, the aftermath of which inspired Francis Scott Key to write the Star-Spangled Banner – the American national anthem.

7. Chesapeake Bay Watershed – National Treasure

The Chesapeake Bay watershed and network of streams, creeks, and rivers cover 64,000 square miles of the East Coast of America. It stretches from upstate New York to southern Virginia, from the West Virginia panhandle to the Delmarva Peninsula. Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States. It is also one of the largest and most biologically productive estuaries in the world. It is home to several thousand species of plants and animals, for instance, blue crabs and bald eagles. All along the watershed, you can enjoy lots of activities, for example, fishing, hunting, boating, water sports, hiking, bird-watching, and relaxation.