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Mount Vernon

In & Outdoor $$
History Museums, Educational, Historical, Touristy
Mount Vernon, Virginia, Mt Vernon, VA
URL: Mount Vernon  Phone: 703-780-2000

Activity Overview

Get a first hand view of the life of America’s first "first family" at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Explore the beautiful mansion and grounds and get to know the man, the ideas and the values that founded a nation. It’s a place where history truly comes to life.

Things to Do

  • Tour the beautiful 21 room mansion (you can choose a self-guided tour or an audio tour). The the mansion tour requires walking up some stairs (not stroller friendly).
  • Admire the view of the peaceful Potomac from the beautiful back porch (great place for a family photo op).
  • The museum has over a dozen original outbuildings, The Washingtons' tombs, a working blacksmith shop and the Pioneer Farm, a 4-acre demonstration farm where there is a reconstructed slave cabin and a 16-sided treading barn.
  • Stroll the impressive and innovative gardens - they are absolutely beautiful.
  • Take a self-guided walking tour along the road through the forest leading to the threshing barn, the garden and the river front.
  • Make the 3 miles drive down the road to see the grainery and the distillery. You get a full tour of both buildings. The mechanical systems in the grainery are stunning, especially given the time in which they were built. There are tour guides at this location who go into a lot of detail and do a nice job of answering questions.
  • Enjoy action-packed theaters, fascinating exhibits and meet characters from Washington’s world. The film titled “We Fight to Be Free” presented in The Ford Orientation Center is well done.
  • The Donald W. Reynolds Museum & Education Center has 25 theaters and galleries that tell the story of George Washington's life in detail with 11 videos and over 500 original artifacts.
  • Hop on board a 45-minute sightseeing cruise along the Potomac.
  • Choose from a number of interesting "Add-on Tours"; including the "National Treasure Tour", which explores the areas that were featured in the movie National Treasure 2; "Gardens & Landscape Tour"; or the "Slave Life Tour"; "Dinner with the Washingtons" and a few others.

Mount Vernon Insider Tips

  • It is best to visit this destination when the weather is nicer because many of the sites to see are outdoors.
  • It is best to buy tickets ahead of time. This destination is one that gets a lot of visitors. Reserve your House tour in the morning if possible to minimize the crowds otherwise you will be waiting in line for a while...even with a ticket.
  • We highly recommend adding the "Through Your Eyes tour: where you will receive a guided tour by George Washington himself ( an actor of course). If you can do this tour before anything else I think you will get more from the whole trip.
  • No pictures or video allowed inside the mansion.
  • The movies are very well done, but may be a little graphic for younger kids.
  • You'll be doing a lot of walking, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes. Some of the paths are hilly
  • There are air-conditioned shuttle services to the various parts of the property.
  • The audio tour provides a lot of information about the various rooms in the mansion. However, they do keep the line moving [i.e. you cannot go at your own pace] so you'll most likely miss facts about each mansion room on the audio tour.
  • We recommend eating before you arrive. There is a Food Court, (which is expensive) but has stations that serve everything from French café-style baked goods, upscale grilled burgers, subs, salads, personal pan pizzas from Pizza Hut, and Mrs. Fields cookies, plus soft-serve and hand-scooped ice cream. There is seating in a glass-enclosed pavilion and you must consume the food in that area before entering the grounds..
  • The gift shop has a lot of interesting items, so you may want to leave extra time to peruse the store.

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