Washington, D.C. can actually be very budget-friendly. Bookended by the many free things to see, and by affordable timeshare rentals, the dream of introducing your children to America first-hand can be a done deal.
First the Free Stuff:
- The Capitol Building
The stunning rotunda is worth your time just by itself. Based on the huge Roman Pantheon, this imposing round entranceway (a soaring 180 feet high) is the connecting spot between the House of Representatives on one side and the Senate on the other. The rotunda is filled with busts and statues of America’s Presidents, which your children will find anything but boring. You can also take a fun walk through a tunnel to the Library of Congress.
- Ford’s Theater
A tour of America’s most infamous theater will give the kids an intimate understanding of Abraham Lincoln as never before. On a self-guided tour of the Ford’s Theater Museum they’ll learn about Lincoln’s presidency from his first inauguration to the fateful night when he arrived at Ford’s Theater with his wife, Mary. Unbelievably on display is the actual derringer used by John Wilkes Booth to assassinate the 16th President. There are a limited number of free tickets for the tour available on a daily basis. If you miss those, the cost of the tour is only $2.00.
- Tidal Basin
This two-mile loop passes the Reflecting Pool, turns into West Potomac Park, and circles the water. From here you can see beautiful views of the Jefferson, Lincoln and Washington monuments, as well as war memorials. For a small fee you can even rent paddle boats, a fun way for the kids to get a different perspective of our Capital’s most famous structures.
- The National Mall
This rectangular open-air park is an area commonly thought of as being located between the Lincoln Memorial and the Capitol Building. Along both sides are the free museums of the Smithsonian, including the amazing Museum of American History, the exciting Air and Space Museum, and the Smithsonian “Castle.” The National Gallery of Art is also located here. Within walking distance are other free museums such as the National Archives.
Budget-friendly places to stay for your family’s Washington, D.C., visit can be obtained by renting a timeshare at Wyndham’s Old Town Alexandria, starting at just $88/night, or at Wyndham’s Vacation Resorts at National Harbor, starting at $120/night. It’s easy to get around Washington, D.C., via its award-winning METRO system, which has a station near each of these timeshare resorts.
(Photo credits: Capitol Building - DC SHPO; Ford Theatre - natelcoelectric.com; Tidal Basin - visitingdc.com; National Mall - destination360.com)