Everyone is familiar with West Potomac Park because of the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, etc. But I bet you’ve never heard of or visited East Potomac Park. That’s because it has no monuments nor anything really iconic anymore (at one point it did have an art installation, The Awakening, that has since been moved to National Harbor). However, if you are visiting DC and you need a break from history and the hot tourist spots (I bet your kids are), you should consider visiting East Potomac Park.
It’s about a mile and half walk from the Thomas Jefferson Memorial along the Potomac River. There’s also ample parking if you want to drive. Here’s why I like hanging out there.
If you have older kids, there’s a public golf course (East Potomac Golf Course) with range, an 18 hole course, a 9 hole course, a 9 hole par 3 course, and putt putt. In addition to that you can play foot golf, only in the afternoon. What’s foot golf? It’s like golf, except you kick a soccer ball into a larger hole. It’s actually a lot of fun and great for kids. You can rent all the equipment you need (golf clubs, soccer balls, etc.) at the clubhouse. The best part about this golf course is when you are hitting your next shot with the Washington Monument in front of you. How cool is that?!
If golf is not your thing or you just want to save a few bucks, walk to the southern tip of the island. There you will find a playground, picnic tables, and bathrooms! The playground is a pretty standard playground. Why we love this area? There are two play structures–one side is for younger tots and the other is for elementary aged children. It’s completely fenced in, in case you have a kid that is a runner. There’s also ample green space if you want to kick a ball around, all within a fenced area.
But the pièce de résistance of this island is National Airport across the river! Here you can view airplanes taking off and landing (another cool place to see planes coming and going from National Airport is Gravely Point because they fly over your head). If you have children who are quite sensitive to noise, but loves planes, this is your location. Because the airport is across the river you don’t have to worry about protecting their ears, but still get the awesome views of large planes moving about. My son can sit here for ages watching the planes.
There are a few kid friendly things to do at East Potomac Park. It’s also not very crowded because no one really knows about it. So if you want to take a break from the Federal City without actually leaving the city, you should take your family here!