Great places to visit when visiting Washington DC in the Fall.


Fall is one of the most beautiful times of the year in the Washington DC area as fall colors of red, yellow, purple, and brown start blanketing everything from the National Mall to charming neighborhoods. The beginning of fall offers an assortment of opportunities to enjoy the uniqueness of the nation’s capital. 

For some, fall brings the spookiness of Halloween, for others the perfect tailgating weather, or early evening meet-ups at local restaurant patios. Regardless of the tradition, it seems the phenomenon of autumn brings a particular excitement. To make the most out of your fall experience Rachel Cooper from TripSavvy offers some popular places to enjoy fall foliage in the capital region.

Rock Creek Park

One of the largest parks in Washington, D.C., and the third-oldest in the nation, Rock Creek Park stretches 30 miles from Montgomery County, Maryland, to downtown D.C. Here, you can enjoy some leaf-peeping and a picnic, take a hike, bike, or horseback ride, or attend a park ranger program.

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Washington.org

Throughout the year, you can explore the Rock Creek Park Nature Center and Planetarium, the historic Peirce Mill, or Old Stone House. Popular annual fall events include the Rock Creek Park Day in late September and the Heritage Festival in mid-October. Admission to Rock Creek Park and all attractions within the park is free.

Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park

Starting in Georgetown in Washington, D.C., the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park spans over 184 miles to Cumberland, Maryland, and offers guests breathtaking vistas and plenty of opportunities to hike, bike, fish, boat, and horseback ride along the towpath.

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 Guillermo Olaizola / Getty Images

Access to the park boasting more than 20,000 acres is free, except for the Great Falls Entrance Station, where you can purchase passes near the Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center. Popular events this time of year include the Dulcimer Music at Great Falls series, “A Very Retail Georgetown” historic walking tour, and Scary Stories on the Canal at the Great Falls Tavern.

United States National Arboretum

The United States National Arboretum in Washington, D.C., is a living museum that showcases 446 acres of trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants. You can tour the gardens on your own by foot, car, or bicycle or take the 40-minute tram ride and hear an informative taped narrative about the Arboretum, its history, and the display gardens and collections.

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Japanese maple trees in park, autumn (Connie Coleman / Getty Images)

The National Arboretum offers a variety of hikes and public education programs throughout the year, but they typically wind down for the winter season. In October, you can catch the annual Under the Arbor: Chile Pepper Celebration in the National Herb Garden or try some full moon forest bathing in the middle of October.

Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens

The 500-acre estate of George Washington, located along the shores of the Potomac River in Mount Vernon, Virginia, is exceptionally beautiful during the fall foliage season. You can tour the estate while you’re there, but make sure you spend plenty of time outdoors exploring the gardens and taking in the natural scenery, too. 

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Peter Johansky / Getty Images

Fall Harvest Family Days, Fall Dried Wreath Workshops, and Trick-or-Treating at Mount Vernon are among the most popular annual events on the estate. 

Great Falls Park

Stretching from Great Falls, Virginia, to Potomac, Maryland, Great Falls Park has some of the most spectacular views in the region. At various overlook points spread throughout the 800-acre park, you can witness all of the vibrant fall colors from 50-foot cliffs overlooking the Potomac River. Great Falls also offers hiking and biking trails, and picnic areas. 

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flownaksala / Getty Images

Due to flooding during the hurricane season (September through November), some trails and locations may be inaccessible. Swimming and entering the river are prohibited at the park due to deadly currents and flood possibilities, though kayaking with safety measures taken is allowed. Admission costs depend on if you are entering by vehicle or on foot, bike, or horseback, and grant access for seven consecutive days.

Seneca Creek State Park

Located in Gaithersburg, Maryland, Seneca Creek State Park spans over 6,300 acres alongside 14 miles of Seneca Creek. During October and November, you can spend an entire day hiking through the park, snapping pictures of the fall foliage reflected in the water.

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Richard T. Nowitz / Getty Images

The park is also home to the 90-acre Clopper Lake, hiking trails, a disc golf course, playgrounds, picnic areas, and a restored 19th-century cabin. You can witness all the brilliant fall foliage from the lake by renting a boat, canoe, or kayak (or bringing your own), and there are also plenty of opportunities to fish from the shore. There is a charge for Maryland residents and a higher charge for out-of-state guests to enter the park.

Sugarloaf Mountain

This small mountain in Dickerson, Maryland, is a National Historic Landmark with an elevation of 1,282 feet and a vertical height of 800 feet above the surrounding farmland. In addition, Strong Mansion on Sugarloaf Mountain is a popular destination that hosts events year-round.

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Matthew T. Carroll / Getty Images 

Hikers can enjoy striking views of foliage along the trails, including several well-marked loops ranging in distance from 2.5 to 7 miles. Horseback riding and picnicking are additional recreational possibilities. Those driving can also pull up to the Sugarloaf Mountain lookout point get equally stunning views. Access to both is free year-round.

Cunningham Falls State Park

In the Catoctin Mountains near Thurmont, Maryland, Cunningham Falls State Park has a 78-foot cascading waterfall, a lake, and hiking trails ranging from 0.5 miles to 8 miles long. The park is a great place to enjoy outdoor recreation all year, featuring swimming, fishing, canoeing, camping, and events throughout the summer and fall.

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Brittany22bm / Getty Images

Costs at the park are slightly higher if you are from out of state. You can rent camping and hiking gear from the park store.

Black Hills Regional Park

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Can Onur Gunay / EyeEm / Getty Images

Covering over 2,000 acres in Boyds, Maryland, Black Hill Regional Park offers a wide variety of activities, including hiking, picnicking, boating, and guided nature programs. Visitors can enjoy spectacular views over Little Seneca Lake, and hikers, bikers, and horseback riders can explore miles of trails in the park. There is also a visitor center that hosts nature programs and offers interpretive tours throughout the year, which are child-friendly.

Harpers Ferry National Historic Park

Harpers Ferry National Historic Park is located about an hour outside of Washington in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, and was the site of a famous battle in the American Civil War. The park covers over 2,300 acres and also crosses into Maryland and Virginia. Visitors can enjoy a variety of scenic hiking trails and exploring the historic town, ranger-guided tours, craft shops, museums, and restaurants.

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Walter Bibikow / Getty Images 

Harpers Ferry National Historic Park is open year-round, but some areas may be inaccessible in the winter months. Admission costs to the park are higher if entering per vehicle than if arriving on foot or bicycle, and you can also purchase an annual pass to save money.

Burke Lake Park

Burke Lake Park is located in Fairfax Station, Virginia, and offers a wide variety of recreational activities, including camping, hiking, fishing, and boating on the 218-acre lake within the park’s 888 acres. There is also a miniature train, a carousel, an 18-hole, par-3 golf course, disk golf horseshoe pits, an amphitheater, and a miniature golf course onsite.

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ablokhin / Getty Images

Burke Lake Park is open daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day each year, depending on the weather, and then on weekends until late October. There is no entrance fee for Fairfax County residents, but non-residents must pay on weekends and holidays only (weekdays are free).

Special events at Burke Lake Park include a sunset cruise, the annual Fall Family Campout, and the special Halloween campfire in October, as well as several fall foliage boat tours offered throughout November (until the leaves fall).


As we enter the fall season, take the opportunity to acknowledge the many blessings we enjoy in our lives. Don’t let the noise of our busy world distract you from the beauty of nature’s transition. Take a few minutes and stand still and take in the sights, the smells, and the feeling of life. (Andrew Appleton)

Disney Parks Salutes U.S. Military with Special Ticket Offers, Room Rates in 2020

Disney Destinations continues to honor active-duty and retired members of the U.S. military with special offers on theme park admissions and resort stays at Walt Disney World® Resort for most dates in 2020.  

Members of the U.S. Military can choose between 4-Day, 5-Day, and, new for 2020, 6-Day Military Salute Tickets. A 4-Day ticket costs $265, a 5-Day ticket costs $283, and a 6-Day ticket costs $301. The Park Hopper Option is included on all Military Salute Tickets, and the Park Hopper Plus Option can be added to each ticket for $50. Prices are the same for both children and adults. Tickets must be used during the period from January 1, 2020 through December 18, 2020. 

Your Clients can purchase tickets at U.S. Military Bases. Military Salute tickets will also be available to purchase at Walt Disney World Resort theme park ticket windows beginning January 1, 2020. Tax is added to the price of the tickets when purchasing at Walt Disney World theme park ticket windows. Because a valid military ID is required at time of purchase, Travel Advisors cannot purchase Military Salute tickets on their Client’s behalf. 


Your Clients can also enjoy great rates at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels for stays most nights January 1 through April 4 and April 19 through December 18, 2020 when booked by December 18, 2020*. Travel Advisors can book these rates on their client’s behalf by calling the Disney Reservation Center. Valid Military ID will be required upon check-in and military member (or spouse) must stay in the room. 

Memory Maker will also be available for a special price of $98 from January 1, 2020 through December 18, 2020 and can only be purchased at Walt Disney World theme park ticket windows.   

Disneyland® Resort Military Salute Tickets will go on sale beginning November 5, 2019. Special room rates are now available for booking at Disneyland® Resort by visiting with a Military Travel Agent. Stay tuned to Disney Travel News for more information! 

Here are some other important details you should know: 

  • Disney Military Promotional Tickets may be purchased at participating U.S. military sales outlets by Eligible Service Members (defined below) or their spouses (but not both), for use by themselves and family members and friends, as provided herein. These Tickets may not be otherwise transferred, distributed or resold. 
  • “Eligible Service Members” are active or retired members of the U.S. Military, including the National Guard, Reservists, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service (PHS), and the Commissioned Corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Spouses of Military Service Members also qualify if they are able to present valid and active U.S. Military IDs in the absence of active or retired Military Personnel or Commissioned Corps Members. 
  • The actual prices charged at the individual U.S. military base ticket offices for Disney Military Promotional Tickets may be less than the prices set forth above. 
  • Participating military sales outlets must require that Eligible Service Members (or their spouses) present valid military identification to purchase Disney Military Promotional Tickets. 
  • Subject to certain exceptions, Disney 4-Day, 5-Day and 6-Day Military Promotional Tickets for admission to the Walt Disney World Resort are not valid until activated by the Eligible Services Members (or their spouses) at Walt Disney World theme park ticket windows. 
  • Tickets and options expire and may not be used after December 18, 2020. Valid military identification will be required for purchase and use. 
  • No more than six (6) Disney Military Promotional Tickets may be purchased and (if applicable) activated by any Eligible Service Member or spouse (regardless of the place of purchase and whether purchased by that person or that person’s spouse). In addition, one of the six (6) Tickets purchased must be used by the Eligible Service Member or his/her spouse. 
  • Each Disney Military Promotional Ticket must be used by the same person on any and all days. 

*Room offers are subject to availability as the number of rooms allocated for these offers are limited. Eligible Service Members or spouse must present a valid military identification at check-in. If valid military ID is not presented, the non-discounted room price will be charged for the duration of the stay. Offer is non-transferable, and Eligible Service Member/spouse must stay in the room. Not valid on previously booked rooms. Advance reservations required. Not valid in combination with any other hotel discounts or offers. Subject to restrictions and change without notice. Separate Theme Park admission required to enjoy the Parks. Additional per adult charges may apply if there are more than 2 adults per room at Disney Value, Moderate and Deluxe Resorts. Offer excludes suites in Moderate and Deluxe Resort hotels. Advance reservations required. Cannot be combined with any other discount or promotion. Length of stay requirements may apply. Offer excludes the following room types: 3-bedroom villas, campsites, Cabins at Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, The Little Mermaid Standard Rooms at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort and Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows. 

Military Cruises with Disney

Disney offers great rates and specials for the military community. Please make sure you double check with one of our spouse & veteran certified Disney Agents before booking.

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