Tips for Traveling to Washington DC with Kids

Tips for Traveling to Washington DC with Kids

Like any trip, traveling with children can be difficult if you are not prepared. Washington DC is a busy metropolitan area that has lots of tourist attractions but is also a busy city with hazards and pitfalls galore. Check out these tips for traveling to Washington DC with kids to make your next trip a smooth success!

Be Prepared…No, Be OVERLY Prepared
Nothing is worse than getting to your hotel room and realizing that you don’t have Mr. I Can’t Sleep Without Him Bear or Ms. Holy Cow I’m Going to Throw a Total Fit Blanket. Your child will be a nightmare without the things that they are attached to. Instead of fighting them when packing, make as many concessions as you can feasibly fit into the suitcase. Let them bring their favorite toys or blankets or games. If it will make them happy during their small amounts of down time, it’s a must, make room in that suitcase. Also, make sure you bring along extras of things that typically get dirty really quickly. If you have a messy eater, pack some extra shirts and that type of thing. They will be less stressed and so will you if you can just throw on another shirt and deal with the ketchup stain later!


A lot of the sightseeing you can do in Washington DC is nearby and walking tours are a great way to see the sights on a budget. The last thing you want to do is end up dehydrated or have a dehydrated little one. Pack their favorite juice or pick some up along the way if you are flying and make sure you drink plenty of fluids as well. Extra snacks are never a bad idea to keep everyone satisfied between meals and it can also save you a costly stop at some tourist trap food location or gift shop when your kiddos want snacks and you don’t have any in the bag!


Book Ahead
Book as many of your tours and restaurants ahead of time as possible. Not only will this keep you on a schedule it will also ensure that you don’t show up for things only to have to change plans at the last second due to long lines or rebooked tours. Kids are not going to want to wait patiently as you try and yelp search for a family friendly food spot nearby and they definitely are not going to be happy when you say “Sorry the Spy museum is really busy today so we’re going to do something else”. Traveling with kids successfully is all about being prepared for those moments so make sure you book as much as possible in advance to help keep yourself sane!


Find a Happy Medium
I don’t necessarily mean go find someone to talk to the spirits on your behalf, I mean balance is key. If you want to know the best tip for traveling to Washington DC with kids here it is: the happy medium is where you want to live. It is tempting to try and hit all of the great and historic monuments and museums but when you are traveling with kids you have to find a balance of fun and learning. There are plenty of fun things to do in DC that are affordable and exciting that will also teach them something (on the down low) and mixing these things in with the historic landmarks and museums will ensure that everyone has fun on their trip and also learns something!


No matter how well you plan there will always be a mishap, a snafu, someone is going to lose a shoe. The best advice for any trip with the kids is to be flexible and let it roll. Use these tips to help make your trip a success but remember that as long as you are all spending time together and having fun then you trip is a success…even if someone really does lose one of their shoes.

About Taylor Nikaci


  1. Jeanette

    I think it’s can be used just about anywhere, I know my son cannot go on vacation without his teddy bear. I would love to explore Washington DC with my kiddo. They’re such great history it’s Rich with the past! I cannot wait to see some of the museums.

  2. Tara

    My daughter is a teenager now but these are some great tips. Booking ahead is a great idea. No need to wait for a spot to open up.

  3. Pam Wattenbarger

    We always try to book ahead for vacations. It saves so much stress.

  4. Nancy at Whispered Inspirations

    I have always wanted to visit DC, it looks so historic and for the architecture alone. I will definitely keep these tips in mind for the kiddos.

  5. meagan

    I went to DC right before having kids. I’ve always wanted to take my family back. Great tips so the whole family can enjoy.

  6. Danielle

    No matter where we go, we always plan ahead of time when the kids are going. Sometimes it’s not as easy to be spontaneous when they’re around, haha. I’ve never been to DC, but would love to visit and definitely bring along the kids.

  7. tp keane

    Oh wouldn’t that be great, just to drop everything and run away to some distant land. How amazing would that be.

  8. Liz Mays

    I tend to plan some and then wing some. I’m the planner, so that part makes me happy, but not everyone likes to keep that same pace, so downtime for chilling is good for the family.

  9. Mary Edwards

    Great tips. I was hoping to travel to D.C. this summer, but it looks like we are moving it to next summer. Will check back then!

  10. Jenn Mitchell (@comebackmomma)

    Great tips. I have not been there with my kids yet. I’ll pin this post for future reference.

  11. Annemarie LeBlanc

    Lucky you living so close to Washington DC. I’d love to visit all the museums and historic places there. We have to plan for a trip, and although my children are all grown ups now, I might take the grandchildren with me so that they may also see all the beauty this place has to offer.

  12. Kathy

    Wonderful tips. I would love to visit Washington D.C. sometime. I think it would be so nice to see all the historical things.

  13. Amanda

    Ive never been to DC before, but really need to one day! Didn’t think about the planning that would have to be done. Thanks for the insight!

  14. Ann Bacciaglia

    I have been planning a trips to Washington DC. These are great tips for traveling with kids.

  15. gingermommyrants

    I always leave time for the unexpected when I travel with the kids. I used to try to plan a bunch of activities and would get frustrated when we would run late.

  16. Lisa Collins

    I haven’t been myself but would love to take the kids some day. Thanks for the great tips!

  17. Donnabeth

    Though we may never go to Washington DC, these tips will be useful for any travel with my children! Washington DC looks fantastic!

  18. Alli Rutherford Smith

    It’s so important to stay hydrated when sightseeing in the summertime. I like the tip about bringing along that special blanket or stuffed animal that your child can’t sleep without.

  19. Janeane Davis

    The tips you gave here are good for trips to any location. I like the idea of – “be prepared, be overly prepared.”

  20. Terri

    You have perfect timing! We leave tomorrow and I’ll be online with a bit of planning later – after packing for the road trip. Thanks, Robin!!

  21. Tracy @ Ascending Butterfly

    I haven’t visited Washington yet, I was supposed to intern there during College, long story but didn’t end up making it out there. I have visited Virginia which is pretty close, but not quite the same. Thanks for these tips, especially about booking restaurant reservations in advance of the trip, I tend to forget to do that!

  22. Mimi Green

    I do a bit of planning and winging it when traveling. The Mr. doesn’t like a schedule when on vacation.I’m local so a trip to DC is nothing. The lines can get insane though.

  23. Annemarie LeBlanc

    I have been to Washington DC but sadly I was not able to tour the entire place because of time constraints. I wish to go back again. I will take note of your tips. Maybe I would get a chance to visit again.

  24. Anita Fonte

    Your tips are right on the mark. The more we plan, you have to keep in mind that last minutes things change. Go with the flow.

  25. Terri Steffes

    I took 4 fourth graders there in 1992. I could have used your advice, then! We had a great time, even though we set off the alarms in one of the museums.

  26. Melanie Smith

    Great tips! I would keep this in my mind for our travel to Washington.

  27. Inspiring Kitchen

    You are right. No matter how well you planned, something will always happen. Being flexible is key.

  28. Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle

    These are all really great tips. In a city as big as DC with so many things to see, you really need to keep your ducks in a row.

  29. Pam Wattenbarger

    Hydrating is so important when you’re out and about. You don’t want the kids o get too ho, sick, and dehydrated.

  30. karen

    You’re right – mishaps occur even when everything is planned to a t! However, you had great tips and it will make it much easier to travel utilizing those strategies!
    Karen |

  31. Chrishelle Ebner

    Great tips to for traveling with kids. I remember when mine were little planning was the key. Like you said be overly prepared.

  32. tp keane

    I travelled to Washington DC with the kids not too long ago. Great tips, our flight was cancelled because of storms which meant we only had two days instead of three to enjoy it. but it was great fun.

  33. Val

    What a great list of tips for traveling to Washington, DC with kids. I love the sights to see there, it really is a great place to visit!

  34. Melisasource

    These are great tips! I took my family to Washington D.C a loooooong time ago. My younger ones probably don’t remember it, I’d love to go back.

  35. lisa

    I would love to check out D.C myself! I think my kids would enjoy all the historic things to see.

  36. Meagan

    Hydration is so important. It has been an unusually hot summer this year.

  37. Rosey

    I always let my kids bring their favorite things too. And yep, definitely have to hydrate!

  38. Cindy Ingalls

    These are great tips for family travel. Having an agenda, or at least an idea of what you are going to do, can save you time, money, and melt downs.

  39. Amy Jones

    Washintong is an amazing place to visit, thanks for the tips!

  40. Kim Smith

    My kids were older when we went, but it was a great experience. Water and snacks would be my best advice. We didn’t plan well and were so starved and grumpy by the time we’d taken the whole tour. This is great advice here.

  41. Jasmine Eclipse

    I just went to DC with my boyfriend a few weeks ago, and this post made me so nostalgic for the good times we had there! DC is definitely a great place for kids because there’s so much history there, and so much to see and do!

  42. Bella

    These are awesome tips! We have been on a few trips that were more history based and keeping the kids entertained can be difficult.

  43. Elizabeth O.

    I think these tips pretty much apply with any trip that you’re planning with the family. It’s important that you allow the kids to bring a little toy with them that they’re currently attached to. It’s going to help you in the long run.

  44. Nikki Wayne

    These are nice tips, I am planning to travel this weekend with my son but not there. These are great tips to every travel that we will make.

  45. Jeanine

    I know my oldest is DYING to go to Washington so I think this would be such a fun trip for he and i to take together! These are some wonderful tips I will have to keep in mind if we ever make it!

  46. Joyce Brewer (@MommyTalkShow)

    Great tip on scheduling tours and getting tix ahead of time.
    Our son isn’t the most patient person in the world. He’s never been to Washington, D.C. but he’s a history buff and I’m sure he’d like it.

  47. Cynthia @craftoflaughter

    DC is such an amazing place to visit. So much history and beauty and so easy to over extend yourself and your kids. Know when enough is enough is my biggest tip!

  48. Simple Healthy

    DC is such an amazing place to visit. So much history and beauty and so easy to over extend yourself and your kids. Know when enough is enough is my biggest tip!.

  49. Chrystal | Nevermore Lane

    I would love to go to Washington DC one day. I know it will be great if I can take kiddo with me. She and I talked about going when she got a little older.

  50. Amanda Tempel

    My daughter isn’t really old enough for trips like this, but I definitely have some tips stored in my head for when we do go somewhere!

  51. Mandy

    Great tips that I will need in a few years. It is on my list of places to take the kids when they get in middle school.

  52. Debra

    I have always wanted to take my kids to Washington DC. It is one of the big places that we still haven’t been.

  53. Karlaroundtheworld | Karla

    I’d love to go to DC just for a stay-cation instead of a usual business trip or event. Washington always has this historic appeal no matter how you look at it, I’m amazed. Good thing I go solo for now, no kids.

  54. Kiwi

    I have yet to go to the White house myself. No kids yet but I will take these notes for myself.

  55. Nicole Haas Etolen

    DC is a great place! I like these tips. It is really hard to bring along some kids but with some good tips, it can be so easy!

  56. Karlyn Cruz

    We are planning to go to DC this holiday season. These are great tips as we are bringing kids with us.

  57. James

    These are great tips for taking a trip anywhere. I like the tip of being over prepared. So important when you are far from home.

  58. Agnes Dela Cruz

    Great tips to explore a new place specially the historic places there in the US. Bet the kids enjoyed it and lots of memories to cherish.

  59. Carol Cassara

    I always make sure that I do some research on the place days before our actual trip so I know what to expect and I can plan it all out. I know it doesn’t always go as planned but it helps to have a list of activities and a schedule of the tours!

  60. Rebecca Swenor

    These are all great tips for traveling to Washington D. C. with kids. It really is better to plan ahead for any trip with children. I love the idea of making it a fun trip as well as a learning one too. Thanks for sharing the tips.

  61. Amanda Love

    Water is in important in any trip especially this summer! I think it’s nice to have a stash at the back of the car and a bottle in each bag. That’s how much I value being hydrated throughout the trip. These are great tips!

  62. pjkuhn

    “Be flexible and let it roll.” That’s good advice on every vacation. I think Washington DC is a must-see for our children. I was 17 when I went for the first time. Things were different 40 years ago in regards to security. The day we visited the FBI building they caught a man on the most wanted list.

  63. Roxanne

    All great tips! Best advice I’ve been given, vacation with kids is just a change of location. They won’t suddenly morph into compliant little humans just as interested in things as you. Expect the melt downs and the freak outs over the same small things they do at home. I agree- be over prepared!

  64. Heather

    This is ver practical advice. I never plan a trip without my son’s bunny and definitely not with out technology like iPads. I love getting away from those things on vacation, but I think maybe bringing them to avoid some meltdowns during certain situations can be helpful.

  65. AnnMarie Brown

    These are really good tips and my favourite is finding that happy medium so everyone stays happy. Great advice.

  66. Rachel

    Thank you for these tips! We need to get back to DC. It’s so important for kids to see.

  67. Kristin

    My husband and I went to DC and had so much fun. I’d love to go and take my girls too. Great tips ere, thanks for sharing. I’ll remember these!

  68. ricci

    I absolutely love DC and if I ever have kids I am definitely taking them there one day!!! Great post!!

  69. Tamason Gamble

    I don’t have children but I can still relate to this post. Sometimes, even adults get to the stage where they are ratting and miserable when travelling and it is often down to some simple thing we are lacking – like water or comfy shoes.

  70. Kita Bryant

    My husband and I went while on our honeymoon just as an extra stop and we didn’t have any kids. It was still a lot to take in!

  71. Jill Conyers (@jillconyers)

    Our trips to DC are some of our favorite family travel memories. A lot of walking but nobody seems to mind.

  72. Beeb Ashcroft

    This can be a hefty trip to take with kids. Love these tips!

  73. Seattle Travel Blogger

    This is a comprehensive list. I think it will be a valuable resource for families out there wishing to check out D.C.

  74. Bonnie @wemake7

    These tips are great! We always try to make sure we are prepared when traveling with kiddos as well.

  75. Kim

    These are great tips! I’ll take my son when he is older.

  76. The Mad Mommy

    These are great tips and boy, do I need them. I am terrified of traveling with my kids, LOL!

  77. Paula

    It’s definitely important to remain flexible when you’re traveling with kids, while at the same time, planning for as much as you can. We are looking forward to our vacation this year!

  78. Terri Ramsey Beavers

    It’s tuff traveling with kids when I forget something. Especially something they sleep with. These are all great tips and I will use them when I finally get to travel to Washington DC.

  79. Taty Pradilla

    I have been wanting to visit Washington DC for some time now. There is a Dino museum there that I am really wanting to take my kids to.

  80. Mauie

    I’d love to see Washington DC with my boys in the future. We have relatives over there.

  81. kean raph

    What a great tips, I always wanted to visit to DC if I have a chance.

  82. Kathy Kenny Ngo

    I have a son, and he wants to travel to Washington to. I might use your tips when we travel. Thanks for the awesome tips!

  83. Nikki

    I’ve always wanted to go to DC but I didn’t know you could book tours ahead of time. That’s a great tip!

  84. Amber NElson

    This is another city on my bucket list. Orlando next year and then DC the next! great tips!

  85. Theresa

    I’d love to go with the whole family some day. Only Jason and Mariah went a few years back. It does seem like a great place for the entire family.

  86. Nicole Escat

    Oh, I wish I can go there too! I will put on my travel bucket list, very nice place!

  87. Melissa Llado

    Thanks for all of the great information! When my kids get a little bit older, DC is definitely on the bucket list!!

  88. Shirley Martinez

    I’d love to visit with my child, thanks for sharing these tips for traveling with my kid.

  89. Eileen Kelly

    I travel most weekends in the summer with my youngest for lacrosse. I would be lost without her favorite blanket and pillow. Great suggestions and staying hydrated is key and love taking the extra snacks. Great tips for traveling with the kiddos

  90. Peachy Adarne

    I have an 8 year old daughter and when we travel she easily gets bored finding something that she’s interested in makes her happy during the trip and makes our adventure more fun and memorable.

  91. Enricoh Alfonzo

    hahahah find someone to talk to the spirits for you, that cracked me up. I admit at first I thought that’s what you meant by medium but it quickly changed in relation to this post. Brilliant tips, I would love to visit there.

  92. Anosa

    Booking ahead can really help with navigating around a busy metropolitan city like Washington DC

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