Washington DC Transportation
Washington DC Airports
Washington DC National (DCA)
Washington DC Dulles (IAD)
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Cities near Washington DC for a road trip
Baltimore, Central Maryland
Frederick, Capital Region
Potomac, Capital Region
Rockville, Capital Region
Bethesda, Capital Region
College Park, Capital Region
Gaithersburg, Capital Region
Germantown, Capital Region
Greenbelt, Capital Region
Silver Spring, Capital Region
Aberdeen, Central Maryland
Annapolis, Central Maryland
Towson, Central Maryland
Ellicott City, Central Maryland
Pikesville, Central Maryland
Chestertown, Eastern Shore
Saint Michael's, Eastern Shore
Stevensville, Eastern Shore
Saint Charles, Southern Maryland
Chesapeake Beach, Southern Maryland
La Plata, Southern Maryland
Solomons, Southern Maryland
Leonardtown, Southern Shore
Prince Frederick, Southern Shore
Saint Mary's, Southern Shore
Waldorf, Southern Shore
Hollywood, Southern Maryland
Rock City Falls, Capital Region
Lorton, Northern Virginia
Alexandria, Northern Virginia
Aldie, Northern Virginia
Colonial Beach, Northern Neck
Fredericksburg, Northern Neck
Mount Vernon, Northern Virginia
Washington's Columbia Gorge, Washington Cascades
Laurel, Capital Region
Sterling, Capital Region
Arlington, Northern Virginia
Herndon, Northern Virginia
Fairfax, Northern Virginia
Falls Church, Northern Virginia
Columbia, Central Maryland
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Washington DC Transportation
Situated more or less in the middle of the east coast, Washington is accessible by pretty much any mode of transport.
For visitors traveling to DC from within the US, Canada, or Mexico, Ronald Reagan National Airport (or "National Airport", as the locals who remember its original name still call it) is the most convenient option. In addition to the standard airport transportation services (cab, Super Shuttle, rental car facilities and bus), Reagan also boasts a Metro station, making it imminently easy (and inexpensive) to travel to and from there.
International flights (and certain airline carriers like JetBlue) come through Washington Dulles International Airport. It's farther away from the center of town, and there is no direct Metro service, but the aforementioned Super Shuttle runs to and from here, and there are several bus services from which to choose, including one operated by the Washington Flyer that travels to Dulles from West Falls Church Metro station.
Baltimore-Washington International Airport is the farthest of the three airports from the center of town; travelers willing to deal with the 30+ mile commute (via a number of options, including buses, trains, cabs, and car services) might get a slightly cheaper fare here than at the other two airports.
All three airports have the prerequisite coffee chains, souvenir stores and news agents; more substantial shopping or dining options, aside from Duty-Free, are pretty limited.
Amtrak and MARC trains run directly into Union Station, near the Capitol; Greyhound and Peter Pan share a bus terminal close by. Offshoots of these and other large bus companies (like Bolt Bus or Megabus) are generally cheap, clean and reliable; they pick up and drop off their passengers in or near the center of the city.
Finally, anyone up to the challenge of navigating the Capital Beltway (the Washington area's interstate highway, which intersects in the north and the south with I-95) will find several modes of entry into the city via car.
Once You've Arrived
Washington is surprisingly navigable. Divided into four quadrants (NW, NE, SW and SE), the city is planned on a grid (though perhaps not quite as straightforward as, say, New York's). For the most part, lettered streets run east to west, and numbered streets run north to south. The streets are crisscrossed by avenues, named after the country's 50 states. That said, you should certainly invest in a map to get your bearings and prepare yourself for some of the odd streets, alleys and parks that prove exceptions to the grid rule.
The Metro is a fantastic way to get to all of the city's major neighborhoods without the hassle of driving, parking, or spending too much money. WMATA (the overarching transit authority that includes Metrorail and Metrobuses) are generally very reliable. Cabs are plentiful, and meter-based (a recent change from the zoned system that caused many tourist confusion and frustration).
If driving is a necessity, it's easy to rent a car in DC from any of the major rental agencies - check their individual websites for more information about rates and location. Bear in mind, though, that parking in central Washington can be pricey.
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[ source data from CostDrive
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