**We received a complimentary overnight stay at the Gaylord National in order to experience SummerFest and share with all of you. All opinions are my own.**
Instagram has been flooded with first day/last day comparison pics which means summer break is officially here, for most of us, and the kids are ready to hit the road for summer vacation.
For those who are heading to the D.C. area to take in the sights and sounds that make our nation great, there seem to be endless things to add to your itineraries. Whether you’re a family of history buffs or one that prefers outdoor adventures, you will be able to find plenty of things to do at a variety of price points.
Even though we live very near the city, we try to take a few days to visit the touristy parts of our nation’s capital each summer. There are always new additions to the landscape of the city and there are so many things, old and new, we’ve not had a chance to visit yet.
This summer we are hoping to visit The Building Museum, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, and the National Zoo.
If you’re planning to visit D.C. as well, I’m going to leave the what to see and do part up to you, and tell you about where you can stay.
We have been fans of Gaylord National at National Harbor for years.
We’ve always visited their ICE and holiday experiences in the winter and visited to enjoy some of their on-site dining locations. They invited us down this season for an overnight visited to experience their SummerFest offerings for the year.
Celebrating their 10th year as residents of the National Harbor, Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center has a host of American-themed, fun, family-friendly events planned for guests this summer.
From playing oversized games by the pool, to dancing the night away at the silent disco, families will have plenty to do all day long whether they are planning a sightseeing trip into D.C for the day, or taking a break to relax at the hotel.
Of course, when we visited, most of our time was spent in and around the pool, but outside of that, we loved walking around the harbor, shopping in the nearby stores, and capping off the night by watching the laser light show that lights up the hotel atrium every night.
If you and your family are planning to visit D.C. this summer, I encourage you to consider booking your stay at Gaylord National while you’re here.
D.C. with Kids: 15 Things You Must Do When You Stay at Gaylord National
Enjoy your room’s cool view from the balcony.
If you book a room on the atrium side, you will enjoy an awesome view down into the hustle and bustle of the hotel from your balcony. You can even catch the laser light show from right there each night.
Swim in the huge indoor pool.
Unlike other indoor pools that seem to be muggy and boring, the pool at Gaylord National is enclosed in glass so that you can still enjoy a bit of fresh air and sunshine when the weather is ripe for it in the summer.
Play on the splash pad.
Younger kids will love playing in the water and mom and dad can relax a little on the lawn chair covered patio while they do.
Go on a scavenger hunt.
Complete the daily scavenger hunt to put the American flag back together and you will be entered to win a free overnight stay. It’s a fun way to get to know the resort too.
Look for ghosts.
Luckily we didn’t see any when we took the ghost tour, but you never know! Nightly tours around the grounds of the Gaylord will enchant you and your family with historic tales of the Potomac. You will learn about some of the spookier history of the area. Totally kid friendly and fun.
Chill on a massive bean bag.
They drag them out into the atrium and you and the fam bam can cuddle up on them to enjoy the laser lights and dancing water jets. And, don’t worry, they have plenty of bean bags!
Watch a movie under the stars.
Just flip around in those bean bags toward the big screen and enjoy a family-friendly movie on their oversized screen, for Movies Under the Stars.
Get your dance on at the silent disco.
Visit the lobby bar 9pm-midnight, get your special, disco friendly headphones and jam out. Everyone inside has their own pair and can enjoy the night dancing to the beat of their own drums.
Take a ride on a huge Ferris Wheel.
The Capital Wheel is one of the National Harbor’s biggest attractions where you will soar 180-ft over the Potomac. You can see all of the National Harbor, The White House, Arlington Cemetery, and more as the wheel turns. Two-tickets are included in your stay when you book the SummerFest package at Gaylord National.
Check out the local shopping scene.
Between the eclectic shops along Waterfront Blvd. in National Harbor and those located at the nearby outlet mall (seriously, it’s SO close), you can enjoy a pretty comprehensive shopping experience where everyone in the family can easily come home with a fun souvenir.
Become a pirate for a day.
By booking a sea adventure with Urban Pirates. They will teach you to talk, dance, and play games like a pirate, blast enemies with water cannons and navigate treacherous waters to discover vast treasures on one of their hour and a half, interactive family adventure cruises. They sail several times a day from right there in the harbor, a few steps from the Gaylord National.
Rent a kayak, peddle boat, or paddleboard.
And enjoy the waters of the Potomac for a day. You can learn more about it here: BoatingDC
Ride the carousel as much as you want!
Located near the Capital Wheel, the carousel offers children $7 tickets for unlimited rides (adults ride free!). You can also enjoy the playground and picnic areas nearby.
Fill your belly at one of the amazing restaurants located in the atrium.
We are fans of National Pastime Sports Bar & Grill for lunch or dinner. With their 36-foot video wall and their kid-friendly, comfort food-filled menu, it’s a great place to grab a bite and soak up some AC if you have a sports fan in your family.
For breakfast, we always head to Pienza Marketplace. They have a great buffet style breakfast with hot and cold options. If you book a SummerFest Family Escape, it includes a Kids eat free at Pienza offer!
With it’s prime location near D.C., Old Town Alexandria, and countless other tourist attracting destinations, families can easily access places to enjoy from Gaylord National. You can head into D.C. and visit monuments, museums, and various other attractions with relative ease.