«  Return to Explore More

The Best Things to do With Kids This July in Washington, D.C.

Things to Do DC/MD/VA
Photo: Treetop Zipline Tour at Salamander Resort & Spa Photo: Treetop Zipline Tour at Salamander Resort & Spa

"Summer, summer, summertime," may have been time to "sit back and unwind" for DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, but we've had about all the "sitting" and "unwinding" we can handle over here!

If like us, you're itching to make the switch from 'at home' to (safely) 'out and about,' we've rounded up some great options for socially-distanced summer family fun in the Washington, D.C. area. For those still feeling more comfortable staying put, we've included some at-home fun and virtual options as well. Happy Summer!

Celebrate Independence Day in our Nation's Capital

While the National Independence Day Parade is canceled this year, the White House recently announced that the July 4th festivities will go on, albeit on a smaller scale. "President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump, along with the Department of Interior, will host the 2020 Salute to America on the South Lawn of the White House and Ellipse on Saturday, July 4," according to a White House statement. The celebration will include music, military demonstrations, and flyovers to honor our Nation's service members and veterans, and will conclude with the traditional spectacular fireworks display over the National Mall. 

Visit (Newly Reopened!) George Washington's Mount Vernon

George Washington's Mount Vernon
Photo Courtesy of George Washington's Mount Vernon

Mount Vernon recently reopened many of its facilities for the public to enjoy, including its grounds and gardens, historic area, plantation outbuildings, pioneer farm, slave cabin, Slave Memorial and Cemetery, and main gift shop. Outdoor tours and experiences of the grounds and gardens are available, and guests can visit with historic characters in period costume and watch historic trade demonstrations as well. Most indoor facilities remain closed at this time, including the Mansion interior and the Museum and Education Center. Check their Reopening Information Page for the most up-to-date information on what is open. 

Dine Al Fresco

Reentry of any kind comes with a certain degree of risk, but experts agree that outside is safer than inside. If you've been missing dining out (haven't we all?!), then enjoying an outdoor meal (or even just drinks!) with the family is a great first step, and Washington, D.C. is filled with great spots for dining al fresco. Check out the Georgetown Outdoor Dining Guide and this list of 20+ Great Patios for Eating & Drinking in Washington, D.C. for some ideas.

Send Them to Camp

AR Workshop DIY Summer Art Camp
Photo: AR Workshop Summer Art Camp

With schools closed and extracurricular activities canceled or transferred online, it's been months since our kids have had any kind of normalcy or peer interaction. Fortunately, with phased reopenings happening in D.C., Maryland and Virginia, many camps have been able to adapt to new social distancing and COVID-19 health and safety requirements to open this summer, providing opportunities for some 'semi-normal' summer fun. Check out our Social Distancing Camps Page to find camp options in your area and save up to 50% off. If you don't feel comfortable sending your child to camp in-person this summer, we have you covered with our NEW! Virtual Camp Directory.

Discover a New Trail

One of the silver linings of the pandemic for many of us has been discovering or rediscovering all of the plentiful opportunities for outdoor adventure in the Washington, D.C. area. Our family, who rarely had the time to take a weekend day (or even afternoon!) to hike or bike before, now finds ourselves exploring a new trail almost every weekend. TrailLink is one of the best resources I've come across for finding trails in your desired location. TrailLink provides trail maps, reviews and even photos from other users. 

Take to the Water . . . or the Trees

Outdoor recreation and activities are now open for your family to enjoy - from water activities like boating, rafting, kayaking and tubing to land activities like ziplining and aerial adventure parks. Check out our article on The Best Kid-Friendly Places to go Water Tubing, Rafting, and Kayaking Within 3 Hours of Washington, D.C. for some suggestions. We also have some great money-saving deals for paddle boat and zipline tours, and even a sailboat tour in the Chesapeake Bay

Shop Outside and Support a Local Farmer (or Baker!)

One of our favorite things to do on Saturday mornings is visit the Reston Farmers Market at Lake Anne Village to shop for our fresh produce and meat for the week and pick up some delicious pastries to enjoy breakfast by the lake. Farmers markets are a fun experience for the whole family, and a great way to teach kids the importance of supporting local businesses (especially right now!) and healthy eating. They also offer a much more enjoyable, less stressful shopping experience than traditional grocery stores these days! While I feel pressured inside the grocery to get in and out as quickly as I can, at the farmers market, I feel like I can be a bit more at ease in the outdoor setting. There are many farmers markets in the D.C. area. Here are a few websites to check to find one near you:  https://www.freshfarm.org/marketshttps://www.northernvirginiamag.com/guides/farmers-markets/; https://www.visitmaryland.org/article/maryland-farmers-markets

Experience a Drive-In Movie

Family Drive-In Theatre Stephens City, Virginia
The Family Drive-In Theatre Photo by Helen W., CertifiKID Subscriber

While movie theaters are, for the most part, still dark, drive-in movies are making a big time come back. The Family Drive-In Threatre in Stephens City, Virginia and Bengies Drive-In Theatre in Middle River, Maryland (home to the biggest movie theatre screen in the U.S.!) are classics that have been around since the mid-1960's. The Boro Tysons, Capital One Center in Tysons and Mosaic in Fairfax also recently launched drive-in theatre experiences. 

Plan a (Socially Distanced) Getaway

Getaway DC Tiny Cabin
Photo Courtesy of Getaway Tiny Cabin Rentals

After being confined to our houses for the past several months and perhaps having planned summer vacations canceled, many of us are dying for a change of scenery, but perhaps still a bit reluctant to travel. Rest assured that there are still ways to travel safely and responsibly this summer. Check out our round up of social distancing-friendly vacation ideas for families and view our Getaway deals to save up to 50% off on social distancing-friendly options like tiny cabin stays, RV rentals, camp resorts, beach getaways and more.

At-Home Activities

Build With the National Building Museum

As of this writing, the family-favorite National Building Museum is still closed but they have provided a lot of great resources for kids to continue building and learning at home. One of our favorites is their collection of 3D Paper Model printables. Kids can learn about and build the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Johnson Wax Headquarters Research Tower, the National Building Museum, a suspension bridge and more.

Make Your Own Invisible Ink With the International Spy Museum

While the International Spy Museum reopened on June 22 with limited capacity, they also offer lots of cool "Spy Resources" on their website for fun things to at home. We recommend their Invisible Ink activity where kids can learn how to make eight different formulas for creating invisible ink. 

Take an African Dance Lesson at The (Virtual) Kennedy Center

African dance refers to a wide variety of dances and movement styles performed in those countries located south of the Sahara Desert. In this Five(ish) Minute Dance Lesson, a Zimbabwean dancer and drummer introduce the traditional rhythms and movements of the Dinhe, a dance from their native country.


Check out NEW CertifiKID From a Distance to save up to 50% off social distancing-friendly activities and events, getaways, camps and classes, birthday parties and more.


CertifiKID was founded by a mom with a passion for helping parents provide the best experiences for their children on a budget. From outings to adventures, classes to camps, theater to sporting events, amusement parks to getaways, CertifiKID provides the best family-friendly experiences at unbeatable prices. Sign up for family-friendly deals in your area and start saving!