10 Bucket List Ideas for an Epic Summer in D.C.

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Summer in D.C….when the city comes alive with locals and visitors alike. 

With the warmer weather comes a surge of inspiration to get outside, explore new places, and take advantage of living in one of the coolest cities in the world by getting creative with your summer plans. 

With so many young professionals settling in the District—there is such a vibrant and active community—you won’t want to miss out this summer. 

Whether you’re new to town or just want to try something different this year, check out these 10 ideas for an epic summer in D.C. that are sure to leave you with lasting memories.

So ditch the air conditioning, and get ready for your best D.C. summer yet!

1. Learn to Sail in D.C.

bucket list sailing

Sailing and learning to sail in Washington D.C. in the summertime can be a great way to spend time with family and friends while being active and an awesome way to achieve an epic D.C. summer!

In addition to being home to the world’s largest yacht basin, Washington D.C. has several spots where you can learn about sailing, including:


      • DC Sail—one of the best places for beginners.

    There are also many opportunities around town to rent a boat and take your friends along for some sailing time. Whether you’re interested in learning how to sail or just want to get out on the water, there are plenty of ways to do both in Washington D.C.

    2. Anacostia Riverkeeper Friday Night Fishing

    Join the Anacostia Riverkeeper for a night on the water! Every summer, Anacostia Riverkeeper hosts free Friday night fishing events for all ages. 

    It takes place on the shores of the Anacostia River in Washington, D.C., at the Diamond Teague Park Recreation Dock and features free bait, fishing poles, and other gear.

    It’s an epic summertime activity that you can bring your family and friends to, or make new friends! If you love fishing or want to learn how, this activity deserves a spot on your D.C. summer bucket list!

    3. Camping at Mt. Vernon and George Washington National Forest

    bucket list camping

    There are so many beautiful places to go camping in the D.C. area, and all of them are great for a summer getaway. However, if you’re looking for a more unique camping experience, you can’t go wrong with George Washington National Forest and Mt. Vernon. 

    George Washington National Forest is the largest National Park Service unit in the eastern United States and is known as the “Wilderness by the Potomac”. It’s located right outside of Washington D.C. and has tons of options for outdoor activities in addition to camping. 

    You can go hiking, swimming, kayaking, canoeing, and fishing, among other things. There are numerous trails including the Appalachian Trail that pass through the park, and the views from them are spectacular.

    Camping in GWNF is a great way to experience nature and see some of the parks that are very close to the city. 

    Mt. Vernon is the former home of George Washington and is located just south of D.C. Mt. Vernon is open for camping from April to October. 

    This is a great opportunity to experience what it would have been like to live during the colonial era. Stay at the same place where George Washington lived for over 30 years, and walk the same paths he did. 

    If you’re from out of town, camping at Mt. Vernon is a great way to save money and stay off the beaten path while still having easy access to explore D.C. and its surrounding areas.

    4. Go to a Baseball Game in D.C.

    If you’re looking for summer things to do in D.C., heading out to a baseball game is a quintessential summer experience. 

    The D.C. baseball team is one of the most iconic parts of D.C. culture. With a new stadium and a great team, now is the time to catch a game and experience the magic of Nationals Park. 

    There are plenty of opportunities to catch a game throughout the summer. Plus, there are so many great things to do at the stadium—from grabbing a bite to eat at one of the many unique food options to shopping at the team store. 

    If you’re looking for the ultimate summer experience, nothing beats going to a Nationals baseball game. 

    5. D.C. Disc Golfing

    Disc golf is a fun and challenging way to experience the outdoors that requires skill and strategy. It’s not just about throwing a Frisbee as far as you can. 

    There are several courses in and around D.C. where you can go and play. 

    Disc Golfing Courses in D.C. to Check Out This Summer:


        • The Fields at RFK Disc Golf Course

        • Bluemont Park Disc Golf Course

        • Calvert Road Park Disc Golf

        • Joint Base Andrews Disc Golf Course

      6. Head to the Lake

      There are so many things to do in D.C. in summer, but a day by the lake is a great way to escape the summer heat and enjoy a day by the water. There are a few lakes in and around D.C. that make for an epic summer day.

      Lake Fairfax is just 35 minutes away and has:


          • A Water Park

          • A Skate Park

          • A Pump Track 

          • Campgrounds

          • Hiking Trails

          • Biking Trails

          • Athletic Fields

        Plus, there are tons of events and activities at Lake Fairfax throughout the year, so there’s always something to do when the weather is nice.

        7. Go Rock Climbing in D.C.

        bucket list

        Rock climbing is an extreme sport that requires skill, but you can easily climb at a level that is right for you. There are so many great places to rock climb in the D.C. area, and it’s a great way to experience the outdoors and challenge yourself. 

        Rock climbing gyms are great places to start because they have lower levels of difficulty that are ideal for beginners. They also offer training and classes to learn how to climb so you can become skilled and safe at it. 

        There are a few rock climbing gyms in the D.C. area to choose from, we love DC Bouldering Project and Movement Crystal City. 

        8. Check out the Edibles at Eastern Market

        If you are looking for things to do in D.C. this summer, Eastern Market is a fun and tasty way to enjoy the warm summer days. 

        Eastern Market is Washington, D.C.’s street food market. Where you will find everything from fresh fruit and vegetables to artisanal cheeses and freshly baked breads, all at incredibly affordable prices.

        There are always plenty of options for a summertime treat, from specialty ice cream to fried dough and homemade popsicles. Eastern Market has become a go-to spot in D.C. for foodies and families alike.

        What We Love About Eastern Market:


            • Eastern Market is incredibly cool and historic—a must-see for any fan of local history.

            • There are tons of delicious and unique food options to explore.

            • It’s a great place to grab a picnic and enjoy the sunshine.

          9. Go Kayaking

          If you’ve ever wanted to just sit back and relax while paddling down the Potomac River, now is your chance. You don’t have to be a seasoned kayaker to experience the beauty of the Potomac. 

          There are tons of places to rent kayaks in the D.C. area, and it’s a great way to explore the city from a different perspective. Rent kayaks from Great Falls Park, or go farther downriver and see the beautiful scenery at Seneca Creek and Muddy Branch. 

          You can also rent kayaks for a day trip at Horseshoe Beach and explore the Potomac River from an entirely new perspective.

          10. Hiking in the District

          The D.C. area is home to so many beautiful nature trails and hikes that are perfect for taking advantage of the summer weather. There are a ton of options in and around D.C., so you can easily find a hike that will challenge you, no matter what your skill level is. Plus, many trails are easily accessible by public transportation so you can get to them without a car. 

          Great Places to Hike in the D.C. Area Include:


              • The Potomac Heritage Trail

              • Theodore Roosevelt Island

              • Rock Creek Park Trail

              • Mt. Vernon

            Summer is a great time to get out and enjoy the outdoors. Get some fresh air, relax and let all your stress melt away. Plus, it’s a great time to get out and meet new people. No matter what adventures you embark on this summer, make sure you take advantage of the sunny weather!

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