4.5 star rating: Recommended 836 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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From USD $124.99

In the Footsteps of George Washington: Day Cruise to Mount Vernon

4.5 star rating: Recommended 198 Reviews

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

From USD $50.91

Washington DC Sunset Dinner Cruise with Buffet

4 star rating: Recommended 33 Reviews

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

From USD $108.99

Mount Vernon Bike Trail: Independent Tour with Optional Potomac River Cruise

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 11 Reviews

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

From USD $48.00

Washington DC Sites by Day Plus Boat Cruise

Location: Washington, District of Columbia
Duration: 6 hours 30 minutes

From USD $79.00

Cherry Blossom Riverboat Cruise on the Potomac

4 star rating: Recommended 8 Reviews

Location: Washington D.C., District of Columbia
Duration: 50 minutes

From USD $13.25
$15.00 Save $1.75

Washington DC Dinner Cruise

4.5 star rating: Recommended 56 Reviews

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

From USD $135.49

Washington DC Brunch Cruise

4.5 star rating: Recommended 16 Reviews

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

From USD $87.65

Cherry Blossom and Monuments Cruise in Washington DC

3.5 star rating: Worth doing 15 Reviews

Location: Washington D.C., District of Columbia
Duration: 50 minutes

From USD $19.00
$25.75 Save $6.75

Land and River Monuments Tour

3.5 star rating: Worth doing 6 Reviews

Location: Washington, District of Columbia
Duration: 6 hours

From USD $67.00

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