If you’re looking for somewhere near Washington D.C. to go with your kids, National Harbor is a great family destination, especially for families with young kids.
There are tons of free things to do, yummy food to eat, and a host full of fun summer activities! There’s always something fun to do when you visit National Harbor with kids!
I have a special place in my heart for National Harbor. I remember before it was even a place, when it was just being built, and they were begging companies to move there.
I know firsthand because they convinced the company I was working for at the time to move there. I actually worked my last three years as a project manager at National Harbor and while everyone else was driving in to visit, I was driving out to get away from the crowds.
In the past three years since I quit my job, they’ve done some awesome things with the place. And now I’m one of those moms who is driving in to enjoy everything with her kids (or in my case, kid).
This past week I met up with one of my good friends for our final visit to National Harbor before our big move to Texas next week. And the place has changed so much. There are a ton of things to do, but these are six of my favorites at National Harbor with kids.
Things to Do at National Harbor with Kids
#1 – Walk around.
One of my favorite things to do is to just walk along the water, walk out on the pier, walk around the trails, and walk around the shops. There’s plenty of space and very little traffic, making it perfect for families like mine that move a little slow. I packed up some snacks and our favorite drinks and we walked around and checked out a bunch of the shops.
#2 – Enjoy an outdoor TV show or movie.
Right in the middle of National Harbor is a huge green area with a big screen. They regularly host outdoor movies there where families can come and watch free outdoor movies together. They’re often super busy, so if you’re going to go, get there early.
They also use the screen for other things like televising huge sporting events and when there’s not a big event going on, they often play kids TV shows during the day. When we were there this week, we stopped to watch a quick episode of Wonder Pets. And then I was singing the teamwork song the rest of the day.
#3 – Get sandy.
This is by far the most popular attraction for kids. Right in the middle of the area is a huge sandy area that has a metal man coming out of it. It’s actually called the awakening, but my son just calls it the man.
#4 – Ride something.
There are a handful of rides at National Harbor including the Capitol Ferris Wheel (a little scary for young kids), a carousel, and canoes you can rent and ride together.
I’d definitely recommend trying the ferris wheel at least once because it’s not often that you can see all the famous Washington DC monuments from a ferris wheel.
#5 – Eat something sweet.
Our adventures at National Harbor always end up with us getting a sample of candy, a small cup of ice cream, or a cupcake.
#6 – Participate in a family fun activity
National Harbor also hosts a bunch of fun family activities both on weekends and during the week. You can check out their full calendar but some of the activities are things like family fitness classes, pirate parties, story time, and more.
We love to participate in the activity, take a ride on the carousel, and finish off the day with a cupcake.