Driving and Parking in Washington DC

I don’t want to jinx anything by talking about this – but when we were planning a trip to our nation’s capital for last summer, our number one concern was parking.

Just take the train, that’s what we thought, until a week before we were slated to be there, the trains were down for three days.

And then friends told us about the time they were in DC and got stuck for five hours with no way to get back to their camper, again, because the trains were not running.

Now you need to understand that what they say about DC traffic is 100% accurate. It’s a nightmare. We were even up, out of the camper and on the road by 6am most days, and we STILL sat in traffic.

This, however, is not meant to be an all doom and gloom, or “don’t ever drive in DC” kind of post. Actually, I have some good news for you.

We were in DC for one week, and the first day we were a little worried about the whole 2 hour parking limit. We vigilantly moved our car, even if just a few spaces, just to make sure we weren’t violating any rules.

Day two we realized that no one was paying any attention.

From then on, we parked, and went about our business.

There is parking all over the city, but for the mall, the monuments and the museums, we mostly parked along the Potomac or near the Tidal Basin (by the swan boats). Everywhere you go in DC is a hike, so unless you get crazy lucky and find a spot immediately outside the place you are trying to go – just take what you can get and hoof it.