Due to the fact that I am in the process of completing six weeks of daily radiation treatment, which is a Monday-through-Friday process, we had not planned any summer trips yet. I was thrilled when I found out that my sister and her family would be spending two weeks with us and that my aunt, from the UK, and uncle, from Ireland, would also be joining us for the same period over the Fourth of July weekend. When you can't travel it is wonderful when others travel to see you.
As the Fourth of July weekend approached I found out that the radiation office would be closed on the holiday and I began to think about how much fun it would be for the group of 14 of us to go and see the fireworks in DC. Since booking hotels for such a large group would break the bank, especially at the last minute, I thought about camping as a cost-efficient option. Then I thought about the weather and wondered if we would be crazy to try and camp near DC in July.
I then threw caution to the wind and figured that the experience of seeing the fireworks on The National Mall with our extended family was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I was sure we would be able to stand the July heat. I talked to my mom and dad, who were also going to be joining us, and they reminded me of Bull Run Regional Park in Centerville, Virginia. We used to go there as kids and they had camped there over a decade ago. I called and they had two tent sites spaces available over the Fourth of July weekend! We wondered if we were crazy but booked it anyway!
We left Cary just ahead of Hurricane Arthur and were caught in the torrential downpour—now I was worried about a soggy camping experience instead of a hot one. A late start, and a bad traffic accident between Richmond and Fredericksburg, meant that we were nearing our location at midnight. Instead of waking the entire campsite with our group of 14 we decided to stay in a hotel and lucked out in finding The Crowne Plaza at Tysons Corner for $99 a room. It was a great hotel and I thought the price was right considering the proximity to DC on a holiday weekend.
The next morning we set off for Bull Run Regional Park and fell in love with it! Rolling lawns, picnic shelters, tree-covered tent sites, multiple playgrounds and the Atlantis Waterpark meant we had arrived at camping heaven just a short drive to DC. The weather was on our side as well since the rain had cleared the humidity and the entire weekend the temperature was 75 degrees, perfect camping weather! I seriously could not believe our luck.
For the Fourth of July fireworks we took the Metro into DC to avoid traffic delays. Bull Run Regional Park is 25 minutes from Vienna Metro. We had a fantastic evening watching the fireworks with the Washington Monument in the background.
The following day we drove back into DC and parked two blocks from The Air & Space Museum and The Smithsonian at the L'Enfant Plaza Parking Garage. We split up and between us took in The Air & Space Museum, The Native American Indian Museum and The National Gallery. A walk down the Mall to see The White House, The Reflecting Pool, The Second World War Memorial, The Vietnam War Memorial and The Lincoln Memorial completed our day.
The following day the kids were able to spend the entire day at the Atlantis Waterpark at Bull Run and a family picnic completed our amazing camping and sightseeing weekend. I am still pinching myself over the weather and think that combining DC with camping was a perfect way to satisfy all the seven kids and seven adults alike. We will definitely be going back to Bull Run Regional Park to take in the rest of the DC sights on another trip.