George Washington Memorial Parkway

Details

  • DesignationAll-American Road (2005)
  • Intrinsic QualitiesNatural, Historic
  • LocationVA
  • Length25 miles
Byway Visitor Information
National Parks Service
Statewide Byway Partners
Virginia Department of Transportation
Virginia Is For Lovers
George Washington Memorial Parkway
Catie Drew Photo

Overview

There are not many more roadways more historically significant in the United States than the George Washington Memorial Parkway. Travelling right along the Virginia side of the Potomac right across from Washington, D.C., visitors get a gorgeous view of our nation’s Capital. Visitors also have the chance to see Mount Vernon along this Parkway and the Great Falls of the Potomac.

Local Byway Partners
  • National Park Service - George Washington Memorial Parkway

Story of the Byway

If you are taking a trip to or around our nation’s Capital, the George Washington Memorial Parkway is the perfect road to take on your journey. Only 25 miles long, this road was designated as an All-American Road for its national significance. Visitors can view the beautiful monuments within Washington, D.C. from across the Potomac River in Virginia on this scenic road.

The north end of this Parkway is located right at the Potomac Gorge and then travels south to see the historic monuments in the Capital. While Washington, D.C. is located across the river, there are also plenty of locations to stop by on the Virginia side as well. The history of the area combined with the area’s natural beauty makes this road a must visit if you are travelling to Washington, D.C.

When it comes to the history that can be found along this Byway, it does not get much more patriotic than this. With monuments visible across the Potomac in the Capital, to memorials and statues on the Virginia side as well, this area is absolutely bursting with American history and pride. Visitors can stop by the US Marine Cops Memorial in Arlington at the start of the Byway and view one of the most iconic images in the entire nation. Seeing that picture of US Marines holding up the flag in Iwo Jima in the form of a statue form is breathtaking and a beautiful sight to see. Since this is the George Washington Memorial Parkway, there is also a lot of history regarding our nation’s first President. Mount Vernon can be found along the Byway, and visitors can experience multiple significant spots to learn about Washington’s former home.

Fort Hunt is a spot that you can stop by and learn about this farmland that was turned into a Fort as tensions were heating up with Spain in 1897. Before that, it was originally a part of Washington’s estate at Mount Vernon and used as farmland.

The natural beauty of this area cannot be overlooked as well. The views of the monuments in Washington, D.C. can only be described as breathtaking and there are multiple parks along the road as well to see the views outside of your car. This includes Lady Bird Johnson Park, which gives visitors an absolutely beautiful view of the nation’s Capital and Memorial Bridge which is the connector to Virginia. There is also an opportunity to view the Great Falls of the Potomac and the end of this Byway, and the views of the flowing water are incredibly relaxing while also breathtaking.

The George Washington Memorial Parkway is a true gem right outside of Washington, D.C. and it should be a part of your trip if you are headed over there. Just outside of the city, this Byway provides visitors with a quick trip with great views of the monuments while also providing some great history along the way. These 25 miles will enhance your trip to the Capital without a doubt and it will be absolutely worth it.

Driving Directions

The George Washington Parkway can be acessed from exit 43 on I-495 and is located right across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C.

Points of Interest

  • US Marine Corps War Memorial

    Built to replicate the iconic image of US Marines raising the flag in Iwo Jima during World War II, this memorial is truly a must-visit along this road.

  • Fort Hunt Park

    Fort Hunt Park was originally part of George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate and has been turned into a relaxing and beautiful park

  • Lady Bird Johnson Park

    Beautiful views of the Potomac River and Memorial Bridge highlight this beautiful and quaint park along the Parkway.

Itinerary

  • A Trip Across from our Nation's Capital

    Beginning around Claude Moore Colonial Farm at the intersection of Interstate 495 and the George Washington Memorial Parkway, you are in for a wonderful journey across from the nation’s capital. Take in the beautiful views and the fascinating history of the area at one of the many locations that is able to capture both.

    You can stop at Fort Marcy after driving for about 10 minutes. This historic Fort is located right along the Potomac and has so much history to offer. Next up, as you get an even better view of the National Mall and Washington, D.C., pay your respects at Arlington National Cemetery, which commemorates hundreds of thousands of Veterans who fought for our country. Once you are done there and get back on the Parkway, soon after you can find Lady Bird Johnson Park which provides wonderful views of Washington, D.C. and the surrounding area.

    After you continue to head south, you will eventually reach the city of Alexandria. Here you have plenty of opportunities to shop, eat, or even spend the night if you want to explore D.C. the next day. If you grab something quick to eat, you can drive to the Collingwood Picnic Area to enjoy your food with amazing scenic views.

    To round out your trip you can stop by the Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens, which gives you the wonderful history of Washington’s former home. Your trip may end here, but there is still plenty to explore along the way!

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