Summer vacations are truly the stuff from which dreams are made. Whether it’s walking the beach to collect seashells, building sandcastles on the shore, or stargazing on a dark, peaceful night – it’s easy to understand why so many wish summer would never end.
And while luxurious, lengthy summer vacations are nice – it’s not always a realistic option with a military lifestyle, particularly if you’re stationed near the frenzied hub of our nation’s capital.
If you find yourself at Fort Meade, or in the Washington D.C. area this summer, and are short on time, but big on wishes – there are several amazing last-minute summer weekend trips from Fort Meade to take advantage of!
See the Wild Horses on Assateague Island
If your idea of summer includes s’mores and camping on the beach, building sandcastles, swimming, and digging for seashells as the ocean tides sweep in – consider relaxing on Maryland’s prettiest barrier island, Assateague.
The Assateague State Park is managed by the Maryland Park Service, and the island offers 350 camping sites. One of the best features of the island is the beautiful range of wildlife who call the island home, including dozens of wild horses.
Watch Summer Meteor Showers
Watch Mother Nature’s fireworks in August with one of the most popular astronomical events of the year – the Perseids Meteor Showers. Traditionally peaking between August 10th through 13th, the Perseids is one of the most reliable showers, usually averaging 60 – 70 meteors per hour.
Make a weekend of it, and check out one of the many Maryland State Parks that offer stargazing events. With the close proximity of so many parks, this can be a quick and easy summer weekend trip from Fort Meade.
See Summer Mansions of Newport
Step back in time to the Gilded Age and see where some of America’s tycoons used to “summer” in picturesque Newport, Rhode Island. Many of the Newport mansions and gardens are available for viewing including ‘The Breakers,’ a magnificent 70-room, 126,000 square foot, Italian Renaissance masterpiece once owned by the Vanderbilt family.
Spend the evenings walking through the town’s historic center and admire 17th-century buildings, historical sites, and even explore America’s oldest tavern – the White Horse dating back to 1673. The tavern is also wildly rumored to be haunted and is frequently cited as one of the nation’s most haunted places.
Hike Part of the Appalachian Trail
Located just 75 miles south of Washington D.C., Shenandoah National Park offers the perfect weekend getaway. Escape the hustle of city life and traffic, and enjoy a summer hike on one of the park’s trails. And there’s plenty of nature to explore with over 500 miles of trails, including sections of the iconic Appalachian Trail.
Hikers can enjoy traditional trailhead camping, or select from a number of lodges within the national park. It’s cool at night in the Valley, so this could be the perfect summer weekend trip from Fort Meade—if only to escape the heat!
Soak up Summer in the Big Apple, New York City
It’s often said that New York is the city that never sleeps, but the city does seem to relax a bit in the summer. Spend warm summer afternoons meandering through Central Park, or take a day cruise through the harbor around Ellis—or Liberty—Island.
Plan a perfect day at the beach and head to Coney Island, or make it a romantic evening with a rooftop bar beverage and a stroll along the High Line to admire the cityscape at night.
With a range of hotels to fit every budget, New York makes for a great, last-minute summer getaway. And zipping up to the city is easier than you’d think, with Amtrak.
There’s still time to take a summer break – especially when it’s a last-minute summer weekend trip from Fort Meade!
Written by: Kristi Adams