This beautiful island, just a short drive from Washington DC, is both a wilderness reserve and a tribute to America’s 26th President. Situated on wooded lands in the Potomac River, the island has a rich heritage: it was once a Native American fishing village and thereafter owned by a Caribbean sea captain and an aristocratic family, and then occupied by Union troops in the Civil War. Today it has returned mostly to its natural state, a grove of thick trees and grassy hillsides.
At its center, a tall, bronze statue of Theodore Roosevelt stands in tribute to the man whose leadership shaped the many national parks, wilderness refuges, and public lands of the United States. His philosophies on youth and nature are immortalized by engraved quotations at the memorial site. Once you’ve paid tribute at the former president’s statue, be sure to immerse yourself in the surrounding nature on one of the many walking trails.
Theodore Roosevelt Island is located between Arlington Memorial Bridge and Key Bridge on the Potomac River. Get there by car from the northbound lanes of the George Washington Memorial Parkway. Designated parking is available. From the lot, take the footbridge across to access the island. Or, take the metro; it’s a 10-15 minute walk from the Rosslyn Metro station. The island is open year-round from 6 am to 10 pm. Admission is free.