Tidal Basin is so out. Not fighting traffic, parking and crowds is so in! Here are five local cherry bloom alternatives, in order of our affection for them.
- Pack a picnic and head to Historic London Town & Gardens in Edgewater. They have a stunning ancient cherry tree, plus short 1-or-so miles of meandering trails through bunches of tulips, daffodils, and other blooming gardens along the South River waterfront. The kiddos will enjoy the Sound and Sensory Garden, in fact you might not be able to drag them out of there. If you like London Town, you might also like Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis -its bigger, with multiple playgrounds. You trade intimate blooms for more space, I guess.
- United States Naval Academy Take a stroll along the USNA grounds to find a number of blooming trees. We especially enjoy a stroll around Hospital Point, which features a stroller friendly walkway and is lined with gorgeous trees. The field itself is perfect for a picnic. Bring some balls or just let the kids run ’til they tucker out. Little ones will need to take care of the abrupt edge of the concrete along the water.
- We absolutely love our country’s National Arboretum, a treasure that we think is not on the radar of many families. Located just outside of Washington DC, (conveniently near the closet Costco with a liquor store) this huge park is full of all sorts of Spring Blooms. Because the arboretum boasts impressive waterfront, rolling hills, stroller-friendly walking paths, short trails and a variety of interesting exhibits, I think it may actually be first in our hearts if not on this list. The only reason it isn’t is for that wicked U Turn you have to make off New York Avenue onto the service road. Parking is ample and free. Pet friendly. BYO food and drink.
- Centennial Park in Columbia, Maryland may be an ideal Cherry Bloom destination for suburban families: Plenty of parking, proximity to a large mall and many restaurants, and the fact that you can do your grocery shopping and see some spring beauty all in one trip make a visit a very attractive proposition. Columbia is about 40 minutes from Annapolis.
- Meadowlark Botanical Garden, in Vienna, Virginia might be a drive, but we say its worth it, especially on a quiet Sunday morning when there isn’t much traffic. There is a small fee to enter the park, but plan to stay for a few hours and you won’t mind the $5 or so. Nearby is Reston Town Center, with a Whole Foods Market and other suburban shops, and on the way home is Tyson’s Corner, which I avoid like the plague but my daughter adores.
Where is your favorite place to view springtime blooms? Let me know in the comments- we are always curious to try new and exciting adventures!Feel free to share...