10 National Parks You Should Visit Before Summer Ends


Residents of Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., know that summer is synonymous with day trips. From the National Zoo and National Aquarium to Busch Gardens and King’s Dominion, there’s a day trip for everyone. For the nature lover and hiker in your life, we suggest checking out a nearby national park. Here’s IKO Community Management’s quick guide to national parks and sites you should visit this summer:

Antietam National Battlefield - Sharpsburg, Maryland: More than 23,110 men were killed, wounded, or listed as missing during the Battle of Antietam in 1862. The quiet village of Sharpsburg quickly became a safe haven for the injured and a burial ground for those lost in war.

Constitution Gardens - Washington, D.C.: A literal living legacy to the republic’s founding, Constitution Gardens is a signature destination for any city-goer. “A memorial island in the middle of an artificial lake has stones bearing the names and signatures of the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence.”

Fort Washington Park - Fort Washington, Maryland: Known as one of the more picturesque national parks, Fort Washington overlooks the Potomac River and the Washington, D.C., and Virginia shoreline. Visitors can see the silent gun that stands behind the masonry wall as a reminder of the once powerful fort that guarded our Nation’s Capital.

Monocacy National Battlefield - Frederick, Maryland: The Battle That Saved Washington occurred in 1864 as 18,000 Confederate forces fought only 5,800 Union soldiers. The fight thwarted a raid meant to take over Washington, D.C., and took the Civil War south.

National Capital Parks - Washington, D.C.: The National Capital Parks-East encompasses more than 8,000 acres of protected land through three counties. From historic sites and recreational areas to forests and meadows, NCP-East has something for everyone.

National Mall - Downtown Washington, D.C.: Established in 1965, the National Mall and Memorial Parks contain some of the oldest protected lands in the United States. These areas provide visitors space to commemorate presidents, honor the sacrifice of war veterans, and celebrate our nation’s freedom.

Richmond National Battlefield Park - Richmond, Virginia: As the capital of the Confederacy during the Civil War, this city was a major target for warfare. Farms were turned into battlefields, and hospitals turned into morgues as disease and war ravaged the town until thousands of lives were claimed.

Robert E. Lee Memorial - Balitmore, Maryland: The Arlington House was the Lee family's home for 30 years and is a memorial to George Washington, who was Robert E. Lee’s step-grandfather. At this structure, visitors will be able to stand where Lee stood when he made his historic decision to resign from the U.S. Army, and instead use his influence to heal a war-torn nation.

Rock Creek Park - Washington, D.C.: Visitors can walk the footsteps of the Piscataway Indians, tour some of the oldest structures in the area, and enjoy a bounty of outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, tennis, golf, horseback riding, and boating.

The White House and President’s Park - Washington, D.C.: The White House was originally constructed from 1792 to 1800, but was reconstructed after British soldiers burned it down during the War of 1812. As a home to every president since John Adams, the structure is iconic. As for President’s Park, it’s served as a place for infantry drills, inaugural celebrations, Easter egg rolls, and the National Christmas Tree lighting.

With more than 400 national parks in the United States, there’s plenty of natural splendor and history to check out this summer. We’ve listed a few of our local favorite spots, but feel free to visit the National Park Foundation to see a comprehensive list. You can also make a donation to keep our parks beautiful for generations to come.

From all of us at IKO Community Management, safe travels!

Download IKO's Guide to Vacationing In and Out of Your Community