Mount Vernon—the former Virginia home and final resting place of George and Martha Washington—is a carefully restored National Historic Landmark on the banks of the Potomac River. The site is comprised of a 21-room, white-brick mansion, a 23-gallery museum, a four-acre farm, and elaborate gardens featuring fruit trees and a red-brick greenhouse. Visitors can experience Washington’s waterwheel gristmill and learn about the long-held tradition of distilling small-batch rye whiskey onsite. A world away from the hustle and bustle of Washington DC’s action, George Washington’s Mount Vernon continues to transport visitors to a regal but rural retreat for American colonial gentility.
Mount Vernon is commonly visited on a day trip tour from Washington DC, either by river cruise, group tour, or private tour. If visiting independently, be sure to book your tickets in advance to gain flexibility on your mansion tour time. A visit to the site is often combined with a tour of Old Town Alexandria or the Arlington National Cemetery. To truly appreciate how the Washingtons lived, join one of the regular on-site tours of the first two of the estate’s three floors (included in general admission). Guests should also head to Orientation Center for a 25-minute educational film, then visit the museum and education center to see popular George Washington artifacts including letters and his famous wooden teeth.
Things to Know Before You Go
- It’s best to wear comfortable clothes and walking shoes while exploring the grounds.
- Free WiFi is available throughout the Mount Vernon estate, and the site’s downloadable app offers audio tours, a map, and even a scavenger hunt.
- Photography is prohibited in the mansion, and all bags and containers must be smaller than 16x16x8 inches.
- Fans of the ”National Treasure: Book of Secrets” film can take an hour-long tour highlighting historical details and settings employed in the onsite production of the blockbuster.
- The off-site gristmill and distillery can be reached via a shuttle that runs regularly from April to October.
How to Get There
Mount Vernon is located 18 miles (29 kilometers) south of Washington DC and just under 10 miles (15 kilometers) along the Potomac from Alexandria, Virginia. By road, cross the Memorial Bridge and take George Washington Memorial Parkway, which ends at Mount Vernon. By public transit, take the metro to Huntington Station and then connect to bus 101 for a 25-minute ride to the estate. Potomac cruises are also a leisurely and enjoyable arrival method—the Spirit of Mount Vernon departs from Pier 4 in downtown DC and the Potomac Riverboat Company docks in Old Town Alexandria.
When to Get There
Though the site is open 365 days a year, it is busiest from March to June, September to October, and on holiday weekends, especially Presidents Day (George Washington’s birthday and an admission-free day).
Visiting Mount Vernon in Winter
Offered from late November through December, special character-guided, candlelit evening tours of Mount Vernon highlight traditional festive holiday celebrations and draw huge crowds to the historic estate during an otherwise slow season. Purchase tickets well in advance to experience period dancing, 18th-century holiday traditions, and rooms lit by lantern light.