MICHELLE XU/THE HOYA  The Melvin C. Hazen Trail, part of Rock Creek Park, is a beautiful track well worth exploring when you need some fresh air and a break from the busy District life.
The Melvin C. Hazen Trail, part of Rock Creek Park, is a beautiful track well worth exploring when you need some fresh air and a break from the busy District life.

With summer right around the corner, it’s finally that time of the year to close the books and open the door. Whether you’re getting in shape for that long-sought beach body or you just feel like exploring, D.C.’s got an outdoor activity for you. Check out this guide for summer fun that’ll help break you out of that Georgetown bubble.

Riding on the River

You’ve always considered exploring the Potomac, but you’ve never found the time to do it. Now is your chance to finally get down to the water and try something new.

Make your way to the familiar Key Bridge Boathouse, only a 15-minute walk from campus. Here you can rent kayaks, canoes and paddleboards from $15 per hour and take that gorgeous sunset river ride you promised you’d take since you got here.

Been there, done that? No problem. Try branching out to National Harbor instead. Located about 15 miles from campus, the harbor offers the same water sports as its sister boathouse while mixing it up with a change of scenery. You’ll get wonderful views with an entirely new array of shops and dining opportunities right along the harbor. Spend your day on the water and then make your way to the Tanger Outlets for a satisfying commercial finish to your adventures.

Trails to Explore

If you’re tired of riding the same old bike paths, consider branching out to the famous Zoo Review circuit. With a starting point less than three miles from campus at the Thompson Boat Center, this trail is the perfect alternative to shake things up on the weekends.

From the Thompson Boat Center, ride east until you reach the Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway path. Head north through the National Zoo and past Pierce Mill. Get back onto Rock Creek Parkway and continue past Meadowbrook Stables into Bethesda, Md. Take the Georgetown Branch Trail until you reach the Capital Crescent Trail. From here it’s a downhill ride back to the start. This bike route is well-known among tourists and locals for its diverse sightseeing opportunities, ranging from the nature-oriented landscape of the Capital Crescent Trail to more touristy attractions like the National Zoo.

Located near Fort Belvoir, Va., roughly 20 miles from campus, is the Accotink Bay Wildlife Refuge. The Beaver Pond Trail sports an amazing view of the bay, and the way back is lined with several small ponds filled with turtles and frogs. You’ll encounter ospreys, waterfowl and all kinds of smaller wildlife, making this trail the perfect daytime getaway. Come here to kick back and read a book along the trail, be inspired by a nature walk or take a pleasant jog through the woods.

Closer to campus in McLean, Va., is the Scott’s Run Trail. Situated on a nature preserve, the trail snakes through woods and provides a great amount of scenic foliage. It crosses the water twice before emerging beside a waterfall that splashes into the Potomac. The hiking is slightly more difficult, but it is a viable option for someone searching for a relaxing nature walk. Take advantage of the waterside views without having to venture too far from campus.

Flying Trapeze

If you are feeling particularly adventurous, maybe flying trapeze is for you. Located at the Navy Yard, the Trapeze School offers a variety of hands-on activities incorporating all kinds of trampoline exercises and acrobatics. Classes are designed to fit anyone, whether you’re just getting into shape or you’re an experienced gymnast. Prices range from $40 to $60, and courses can take place both inside and outside, depending on what you’re comfortable with.  It’s a surpringly effective form of exercise. Be sure to sign up with your friends for moments that you’ll never forget.


If you’re not one to travel along these land and water routes, consider more stationary outdoor activities. Yoga in the Park is an annual event that provides free yoga sessions for anyone interested. It takes place every Sunday during June through August from 5  p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Located in Meridian Hill Park, this yoga class is just under three miles away from campus. Improve your flexibility and balance while gaining that valuable vitamin D, and all for the price of absolutely nothing.

The T’ai Chi Ch’uan Study Center hosts free T’ai Chi classes for anyone willing to experiment. An ancient form of Chinese martial arts, T’ai Chi involves slow-moving exercises designed to improve your balance and posture. It’s perfect for yoga fans looking to try something different, and it’s open to all beginners. The session runs every Saturday morning throughout the summer from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. in McLean Central Park, Va., and is just 20 minutes away by car.

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