Boating in DC
So, the Potomac River isn’t known as the most pristine of waters. But touring it via kayak is a surprisingly fun outdoor family adventure that breaks up the museum visits and trips to historical sites in the best way. This outfitter makes it easy to rent kayaks, as well as canoes, row boats, hydro bikes, etc. And conveniently, they have a handful of waterside hubs.
Monuments + Memorials
Almost too obvious to include, but unlike many other popular tourist destinations in other American cities, seeing the monuments and memorials in D.C. is really such an iconic, impressionable experience, and one that kids remember. Absolutely walk the National Mall and check out as many of the big ones as you can, including: Lincoln Memorial, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, and the Vietnam Veterans wall. And in terms of government buildings, touring the U.S. Capitol is an interesting, behind-the-scenes sort of activity if your kids are on the older side, but it’s best to plan advance (see how here).
Aside from being a great place to stroll, the National Mall is lined with the amazing (and free) Smithsonian museums. We particularly love the National Gallery, chock full of contemporary and Modern art, and the National Air and Space Museum, a fun and interactive place for kids and families.