Convenient Washington DC Cherry Blossom Stroller Runs
Expert Tips For Checking Out The Cherry Blossoms On Foot
The frenzied guessing regarding peak cherry blossom bloom is a favorite pastime of DC locals and tourists alike, and the National Park Service just released their Bloom Watch Prediction. People flock to the top viewing spots before the sun rises to get the perfect photo among the beautiful blossoms during these days.
You'll want to skip the happyly Memorial Loop Stroller Run. Having tried to run through the throngs of oglers one year during marathon training, I quickly came up with several running routes that will give you a view of the cherry blossoms without all the pedestrian traffic. These runs are all stroller friendly, so keep your eyes on the Peak Bloom Forecast and lace up those shoes.
SW Waterfront to Tidal Basin: about a 1.5- mile run, out and back
The Tidal Basin boasts the most concentrated and beautiful collection of cherry blossoms, but it will be PACKED with people. Instead of parking right on it, this run starts down the road a bit at the District Wharf. You'll park at the Wharf's underground garage, which has elevator access for strollers.
Ascend from the garage and walk to the Wharf's "boardwalk" along the water. It's a great place to stretch and let the kiddos play a bit before getting started. The Wharf piers offer fun swings and outdoor games to enjoy before or after your run.
When you're ready, head north along the water towards the Tidal Basin. Just as you reach the historic Fish Market, turn right to catch Maine Avenue SW. Make a left onto the Maine Avenue sidewalk and continue north. You'll cross under both the 395 and 14th street bridges before reaching the Tidal Basin.
Then walk as long as you want around the basin, checking out the gorgeous cherry blossoms. When you've had your fill, head back the way you came to return to the Wharf.
Want to make the run even more fun? If it's late enough in March (check first to see if it is operating), try parking just across the river and taking the free Wharf Jitney. They'll take strollers and it's a great way to park for free at East Potomac Park and extend the activity. In doing so you can check out the playground at Hains Point while you're at it!
Capitol Hill: about a 2-mile loop
There are a fair number of cherry blossom trees around the Capitol and we suggest checking out the Architect of the Capitol's map to get the lowdown on the different varieties. We're going to start this run at the United States Botanic Garden and loop around the Capitol. There is metered street parking around the gardens and nearby museums, as well as several metro stops. You can use the restrooms and fill up water inside the gardens before you start.
Start out east along Maryland Avenue toward the Capitol and pick up Southwest Drive. Stick on this path, spotting a few cherry blossom trees as you run, until you reach First Street SE. Turn left (north) and run along the sidewalk -- you'll see the Library of Congress across the street which is another great place to visit. You'll see another cherry blossom tree as you run past the Supreme Court too.
When you reach Constitution Avenue, turn left (west) and run until you come to Delaware Avenue and Senate Park. Turn right (north) and continue along Delaware Avenue. You can see cherry trees outside the Russell Senate office building and inside of Senate Park. Cut west across the park along D Street, jogging down Louisiana Avenue to reach New Jersey Avenue.
Head south down New Jersey, tracing along the west side of Senate Park. You'll cross back over Constitution and pick up Northwest Drive along the north side of the Capitol. Turn right and follow this back to the front of the Capitol and back to the Botanic Garden where you started.
National Arboretum: 3-mile loop
The National Arboretum has several varieties of cherry blossom trees, which often means the blooms there last longer than around the Tidal Basin. Before you go, try downloading the Arboretum's app and reading through the self-guided Cherry Tree tour. That will give you a great overview of some of the trees you'll see on your run. You can also access a map of the entire Arboretum. It sounds a little complicated, but you're never really lost inside the Arboretum and as long as you check the map ahead of time, you'll be fine.
Park at the Arboretum's parking lot next to the R Street Entrance. There are several species of cherry blossom trees right around the parking lot (stops 3 - 5 on the app if you want to look). Walk over to the Arbor House to use the bathroom or fill up on water before getting started. You'll be running along the side of the road in the Arboretum, which plenty of runners and bikes do, but still keep an eye out for cars.
Head south along Eagle Nest Road -- there are a few cherry blossom trees off to your left as you run. When you reach the intersection with Azalea Road, turn to the right and run just a bit to check out a few others. Turn back around and run east along Azalea Road as it turns into Crabtree Road. You'll run right by the Washington Youth Garden and can stop to let the kids explore or return here after your run too.
Keep heading east until you reach the intersection with Hickey Hill Road. Turn right here and you'll spy several different species of cherry blossom trees. Continue running northeast along Hickey Hill Road, and wind your way through the Arboretum. The road will curve left (west) as it intersects with Conifer Road. Run just a bit west along Conifer Road to see several additional species of blooms.
Then turn back around, but stick to Conifer Road this time and run the loop north until you reach Hickey Lane. Turn left to catch Hickey Lane and you'll see one more species of the tree just before Valley Road. Continue down Hickey Lane to return back to the parking lot by the R Street entrance.
*Photo credit: some photos by Mark Slidell
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Be sure to check out State By State Road Trip Travel: Virginia. We also welcome you to explore our blog for more inspiration such as Build a Summer Bucket List and Camping, Glamping, or RV Travel: What Suits Your Family? or take a few moments to check out our Summer Road Trip Destinations in Maryland to make sure you're ready to give summer all you’ve got!!
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