Before the pandemic, whenever it was too cold to be outside, I would go to the mall for some window shopping, take the kids to the mall’s free playground, visit museums, the movies, anything indoors, or go to my favorite place in D.C., The U.S. Botanical Garden.
Of course now all of that is out of the question. So in light of reinventing ourselves and adapting to the situation, here’s a few things I’ve done during winter time that have been pretty awesome!
I present you the following ideas:
- Go for a Scenic Drive
- Wait for a sunset at an overlook you can drive to
- Take a road trip
- Scout parks and places for the future
- Opt for shorter trails to hike (very short)
- Visit places that don’t require a lot of time outside such as landmarks and monuments
Let’s dig deeper!
- Go for a Scenic Drive
Who said you need to get out of the car to have an outing? Just driving around, through the towns and the back roads can leave your spirit full of wonder. For example, back in December 2020, we took the scenic drive towards Garrett County in Maryland and encountered a beautiful overpass and a scenic overlook at a town called Accident. We parked, got out, climbed to the top of the car and took in the view.
You can find scenic drives by doing a quick Google search. Literally type “scenic drives” and name of the state, county or town you wish to explore.
Checkout Maryland’s official scenic byways list here and another great list here.
Read my instagram post to learn more about how to find scenic drives in Maryland.
2. Wait for a sunset at an overlook you can drive to
You will be surprised at the amount of overlooks that exist. Most importantly, many overlooks can be accessed from the comfort of your car. You don’t even need to get out to enjoy the views!
Recently we watched this beautiful sunset from an overlook close to home, off 270 towards Frederick.
Finding drive to overlooks isn’t that easy, but right off the bat I can tell you that the following are drivable: Sugarloaf Mountain, Skyline Drive, Black Hills Regional Park (Little Seneca Lake overlook), Great Falls Virginia Side (you can park super close to the overlook, very short walk), The National Mall (why not, you can just drive around), The National Harbor, Washington Monument.
When on the road, keep an eye out of for the road signs!
Here’s a video of the overlook off to 270:
3. Take a road trip! and 4. Scout parks and places for the future.
These two go hand in hand because winter is the perfect time to get on the car and just drive. It’s a great opportunity to explore routes, parks and places to know where they are, what to expect, plan routes to hit multiple places on the same day and such. Since it’s cold outside, no one will complain about being inside the car for long periods. Bring the tablet, the Switch, plenty of fun snacks, hot chocolate on a thermos, and just driiiiive. Explore your surroundings by driving. This will pay off when Spring and Summer come because you’ll have the knowledge of mapping.
We recently drove through all of Frederick’s Covered Bridges and ended up finding the most amazing playground!
Make a list of playgrounds, parks, trails, historic towns, landmarks, anything you wish to visit, and start driving. Many of our roads have quite a historic background, take the Old National Pike for example (Rt 40). Two hundred years there!
Be open to getting out of the car or not. You’ll be amazed at how satisfying it is to just drive to places, see where it is and with that first hand knowledge, plan for the future.
Check out this video of our road trip through the Covered Bridges!
4. Opt for shorter trails
Now is the time to go for short and easy walks. Visit the county parks! Search their website, if you invest your free time into visiting as many local parks as possible, winter will be over sooner than you think and you’ll gain the knowledge of experience!
For example, go somewhere you can watch planes, even without having to get out of the car. Here’s a visit we paid to Gravelly Point Park which overlooks the DCA Airport.
Also, here’s a guide of short, easy and stroller friendly trails in Maryland:
6. Visit places that don’t require a lot of time outside such as landmarks and monuments
Now is the time to visit all those National parks that are monuments, battle fields, landmarks and just a place where you don’t have to walk much, and sometimes can even see it from the car.
Here’s a trip we made to Fort Washington National Park in Maryland.
Winter can be the the time to gain knowledge and experience for when warmer weather comes. Especially, the time to visit places that are not very enjoyable during summer.
Leave all the places that involve water for later, but maybe scout them now so you are better prepared and more efficient when summer comes!
Lastly, if it turns out that the scenery makes you want to get out of the car, be prepared. Keep winter gear in your car!
I hope you have a great time visiting this beautiful place. Being in contact with nature is proven to make you feel better and happier. Let me know if you go how it goes and remember that the easiest way to stay posted and in touch is to follow me on insta, where I also share videos of the places in my stories/highlights!