Exploring the Washington DC Waterfront

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6 Exciting Things to Do By the DC Waterfront

Washington DC has plenty of things to do in the city streets, but what about on the water? DC has a beautiful waterfront scene right on the Potomac!

Looking for a nifty way to spend a day on the water without leaving home? There are plenty of places to start.

1. Stand Up Paddle Boarding

man paddle boarding

The Potomac might not be the ideal river to swim in, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get your feet wet!

Take a shot at stand up paddle boarding on the river. You can rent these boards and cruise around the National Harbor, the Tidal Basin’s cherry trees, or the monuments.

There are plenty of different stand-up paddle boarding tour options. Try a fitness class and see if you can manage to do a pushup on a moving platform! Or, take a beginner class and learn the ropes.

Love paddle boarding? Season passes are available so that you can keep coming back all Spring.

2. Boating

Stand-up paddleboarding isn’t for everyone. If you like having something a little more solid under your feet, try your hand at a boat trip.

There are boat options for everyone. For the kids in the family, a peddle boat might be the best choice. If you’ve got a big family, take everyone in a canoe and cruise down the river as a group! Or, if you want to go solo, take a seat in a kayak.

girl in a yellow boat

Some of the more unique boating options out there include the Swan boats. These beautiful boats are paddle boats, but they have a motor. When your legs get tired, take a rest and let the engine do the work!

Another quirky boat to try is a hydro bike. These are bikes with pontoons attached to them so that they float on the water. You’ll feel pretty cool as you maneuver your way along the river, and discover DC adventures.

 3. Go On A Cruise

Who said you had to go to the Bahamas to go on a cruise? DC has some sweet entertainment cruises that float along the Potomac.

And, better yet, there are plenty of different options. Entertainment cruises don’t just have one or two boats; they have an entire fleet.

This beautiful boat is styled after European river cruisers like those you’ll find in Paris. When you book a trip on the Odyssey, you don’t just get the sights of DC; you get the tastes and sounds of the city as well!

All tickets on the Odyssey include a three-course meal with craft beer and excellent wine pairings. You can also enjoy live music and the dance floor on board!

As you sail past the white house, the Washington Monument, and the other gorgeous spots along the national mall you won’t be disappointed! This season, you can even book special tickets on The Odyssey to see the cherry blossoms.

Spirit of Washington

This unique boat is similar to the Odyssey, but it’s a little more family friendly. Not only can you enjoy a sit-down meal with dancing, but you can also play fun games!

The ship offers giant Jenga, foosball, and more for anyone who is feeling competitive. Better yet, free coffee and tea are available on the ship so you can stay caffeinated and ace those games.

Spirit of Mount Vernon

The Spirit of Mount Vernon isn’t just a short trip down the Potomac. This cruise takes you for a roundtrip visit to George Washington’s home at Mount Vernon!

Cruises depart in the morning, and the ride down the Potomac is about an hour and a half. Once there, you’ll be granted entry to the park where you can enjoy a tour of the mansion and walk around the grounds.

The boat sets sail again in the afternoon when it will take you back to the nation’s capital and home to your cozy apartment.

4. Catch Some Fish

Well, maybe not catch any fish, but you can definitely eat some delicious fish at the Fish Market down by the DC Wharf!

This market on the district wharf has been in operation for over 17 years and has some sweet deals on fresh seafood. There are dozens of vendors at this open-air market selling all kinds of sea creatures.

father and son going fishing

If you’re feeling fancy, you can grab some raw bushels of blue crabs or take a pound of oysters home to fry up. Or, if you’d rather just enjoy a nice meal, catch a bite to eat at any of these vendors stalls.

The Fish Market is currently being renovated, so it’s going to get even better! Be sure to check it out in its current state and to keep an eye out for new updates.

5. Get Your Scuba On


For this one, you’ll need to put in a little bit of work before you can enjoy the fun.

Washington DC has several great scuba schools that can teach you how to dive your way under the Potomac River. These schools have classes ranging from beginner to advanced.

If you’re looking for a class for newbies, take your first breaths underwater with a basic course. Or, you can take special classes for advanced learners; check out sessions for eco-friendly diving or underwater rescue sessions! If you want to bring the whole family, there are special scuba classes for teens and children that your kids can participate in.

What’s really cool about scuba diving in the city is that once you get your certification, you’ll be able to dive when you go on vacation, too.

6. Ride the Ferris Wheel by the Washington DC Waterfront

ferris wheel

National Harbor has a beautiful Ferris wheel overlooking the Potomac. It’s a great way to end a busy day in the city — with a ride on the wheel!

The capital wheel has been open just five years and is positioned right out on the Potomac.

It’s a beautiful spot to watch the sunset from. Take in the beautiful views of the city from the DC waterfront. There are so many fantastic waterfront activities to do in the district; that’s one of the many reasons why we love to call DC home! Call up our office today and get your own home in this gorgeous city.

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