4.5 star rating: Recommended 962 Reviews

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  • Hours: Open 24 hours a day
  • Admission: Free

From its source in West Virginia to where it empties out in Chesapeake Bay, the Potomac River is an area rich in American history, so much that’s often called "the Nation’s River." George Washington, the first President of the United States, was born along the river, and all of Washington, D.C., the nation's capital city, lies within the watershed.

In Washington D.C., the West and East Potomac parks, both downtown and divided by the Tidal Basin, are pleasant, green, cherry-blossomed lined spaces, lovely for walking, picnics, and fishing. West Potomac Park is home to the Constitution Gardens; the Vietnam, Korean, Lincoln, Jefferson, World War II, and FDR memorials; a small island where ducks live; and the Reflecting Pool.

East Potomac Park is more of recreational spot, with picnic grounds, tennis courts, three golf courses, a large swimming pool, and biking and hiking paths. Across the river is Arlington National Cemetery.

Upriver, the Potomac flows through the National Zoological Park; Mount Vernon, the country home of George Washington; and the Great Falls, where the normally placid Potomac cascades 77 feet(24 meters) down a series of beautiful rapids. Parks line both sides of the river.

Practical Info

The park has many access points along its route. All those outside Washington D.C. are best accessed by car. In downtown D.C., the West and East Potomac parks are behind the National Mall, and are easily accessed on foot or car; there is no convenient metro stop near here. Ferries also ply the waters around here, most of which can be found docked on the downtown piers.

Tours & Tickets

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Viator VIP: Best of DC Including US Capitol and National Archives Reserved Access, the White House ... 
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Viator VIP: Best of DC Including US Capitol and National Archives Reserved Access, the White House and Lincoln Memorial

4.5 star rating: Recommended 343 Reviews

Experience Washington DC’s most sought-after attractions like a true VIP insider. Beat the long lines and enjoy reserved entry to the US Capitol Building ...  Read more

Location: Washington D.C., District of Columbia
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $124.99
Washington DC Dinner Cruise, Washington DC, Bus & Minivan Tours
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Washington DC Dinner Cruise

4.5 star rating: Recommended 69 Reviews

Come aboard Washington's premier dining ship! This 3-hour dinner cruise takes you along the Potomac River for panoramic views of the nation's greatest ...  Read more

Location: Washington D.C., District of Columbia
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

From USD $139.52
In the Footsteps of George Washington: Day Cruise to Mount Vernon, Washington DC, Dinner Cruises
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In the Footsteps of George Washington: Day Cruise to Mount Vernon

4.5 star rating: Recommended 222 Reviews

Veer from the standard Washington, DC, tourist path with this insightful 6.5-hour Mount Vernon cruise and tour. Your Mount Vernon boat tour kicks off with a ...  Read more

Location: Washington D.C., District of Columbia
Duration: 6 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $50.91
Washington DC Duck Tour, Washington DC, Day Cruises
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Washington DC Duck Tour

4.5 star rating: Recommended 182 Reviews

See Washington DC from the land and water on a unique duck tour! Traveling in an original WWII amphibious vehicle, this 90-minute tour takes you to the famous ...  Read more

Location: Washington D.C., District of Columbia
Duration: 90 minutes (approx.)

From USD $42.00
Washington DC Scenic Lunch Cruise, Washington DC, Duck Tours
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Washington DC Scenic Lunch Cruise

4.5 star rating: Recommended 30 Reviews

Experience the nation's capital on a scenic lunch cruise! On this Washington DC cruise, not only will you indulge in an all-you-can-eat buffet, but there will ...  Read more

Location: Washington D.C., District of Columbia
Duration: 2 hours (approx.)

From USD $63.71
Washington DC Sunset Dinner Cruise with Buffet, Washington DC, Lunch Cruises
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Washington DC Sunset Dinner Cruise with Buffet

4 star rating: Recommended 34 Reviews

Experience the Potomac River on a sunset dinner, dancing and sightseeing cruise, where you'll see Washington DC’s famous skyline from a luxury boat. As ...  Read more

Location: Washington D.C., District of Columbia
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

From USD $112.92
Mount Vernon Bike Trail: Independent Tour with Optional Potomac River Cruise, Washington DC, Dinner ... 
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Mount Vernon Bike Trail: Independent Tour with Optional Potomac River Cruise

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 12 Reviews

On this independent bike tour from Old Town Alexandria, enjoy views of the Potomac River as you cycle along the scenic Mount Vernon Trail to historic Mount ...  Read more

Location: Washington D.C., District of Columbia
Duration: Varies

From USD $48.00
Washington DC Monuments by Moonlight Cruise, Washington DC, Bike & Mountain Bike Tours
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Washington DC Monuments by Moonlight Cruise

3.5 star rating: Worth doing 22 Reviews

See Washington DC like never before on a mesmerizing nighttime cruise along the Potomac River. Admire DC’s most famous monuments and landmarks including ...  Read more

Location: Washington D.C., District of Columbia
Duration: 60 minutes (approx.)

From USD $26.00
Washington DC Sites by Day Plus Boat Cruise, Washington DC, Night Cruises
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Washington DC Sites by Day Plus Boat Cruise

4.5 star rating: Recommended 3 Reviews

See the best of DC on this action-packed day tour! See top DC attractions on a full-day city sightseeing tour - plus a one-hour boat cruise on the Potomac ...  Read more

Location: Washington, District of Columbia
Duration: 6 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $79.00
Washington DC Monuments and Memorials Cruise on the Potomac, Washington DC, Historical & Heritage ... 
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Washington DC Monuments and Memorials Cruise on the Potomac

4 star rating: Recommended 13 Reviews

Admire Washington DC's spectacular monuments and memorials from this boat cruise along the Potomac River. See the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, John F ...  Read more

Location: Washington D.C., District of Columbia
Duration: 90 minutes (approx.)

From USD $25.00

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