October 17, 2018

Where To Get Away From People In And Around Washington

By Ruth Tam

A turtle on the Mt. Vernon Trail in Alexandria, Va.

A turtle on the Mt. Vernon Trail in Alexandria, Va.

Living in the Washington region can be exciting.

There’s the thrill of passing D.C.’s famous monuments at night. The beauty of street musicians serenading you on the street. There’s also the anticipation of your car being rear-ended if you stop for a pedestrian at a crosswalk. The joy of discovering a tourist new to the “Walk Left, Stand Right” rule on Metro escalators. And the thrilling “Will he or won’t he?” game of being greeted by a petitioner outside the neighborhood CVS.

Yes, living in the city is simply the best. But on days where you’d like to find a peaceful moment in nature away from other Washingtonians, here are some places recommended by listeners of the Kojo Nnamdi Show.

Washington, D.C.

Valley Trail in Rock Creek Park

“Especially from Upshur St. NW to the park police station, there are usually very few other people.” – Cassandra

The Anacostia Riverwalk Trail

Butterfly Garden at the Smithsonian

Mt. Olivet Cemetery

“So many friends and family and beauty.” – Jim

Tudor Place Garden

Fort Dupont Park

Piney Branch Creek

Oak Hill Cemetery

Meridian Hill Park

“It’s an architectural marvel. And it contains the one of the longest, cascading fountains in the country and the only equestrian statue in D.C. featuring a woman: Joan of Arc.” – Jim

Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens

Lincoln Park in Capitol Hill

National Arboretum

“Amazingly so few know it exists and you truly lose yourself in the fact that you’re really in the nation’s capital. Until you see those columns though, then you kinda do know.” – Jim

Trails behind Oak Hill and Dumbarton Oaks Park

Roosevelt Island

Fletcher’s Cove

“It’s the perfect place to enjoy a coffee and a cigar and commune with nature.” – Jim



Tuckahoe Creek

“Didn’t see another human on the creek for five hours. Did see a heron, a bald eagle and big flocks of geese.” – AJ

Foraging in Maryland with Matthew Cohen of Matt’s Habitats

Bike ride to the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center

Rachel Carson Conservation Park Trail

“You can hit the Trader Joe’s on the way home.” – Sarah

Catoctin Mountain Park

Loch Raven Reservoir

Prettyboy Reservoir

McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area

“Extremely underrated!” – Aaron

Herring Run Park

Wyman Park

Cylburn Arboretum

Lake Roland

Sugarloaf Mountain



Huntley Meadows

“Last time I was on the boardwalk, the beavers had a lodge right over the side of the path and you could hear babies!” – Sarah

The Billy Goat Trail at Great Falls National Park

Lake Accotink Park

Winkler Botanical Preserve

“Lovely little spots just tucked away from the highways where you’d never think to look!” – Lauren

Big Schloss hike at George Washington National Forest

“The drive is totally worth it!” – Ethan

Manassas National Battlefield Park

“So good for a dive into green outside Washington, D.C.” – Frederick

Meadowood Special Recreation Area

“Always empty” – Matt


West Virginia

Harpers Ferry National Historic Park

Quotes were lightly edited for grammar and clarity.