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Run along the Mount Vernon Trail; sit under airplanes taking off, or hop on a kayak and tour the Potomac River - all from Gravelly Point Park and Columbia Island Marina.
For simple thrills by yourself or with friends and family, visit Gravelly Point Park. Located just outside of Reagan National Airport, the park lies adjacent to the Potomac River. From this strategic vantage point, you can watch planes take off up close and personal. Bring a picnic lunch, frisbee and/or your bike and explore beautiful national views.
Just across the George Washington Memorial Parkway, Columbia Island Marina docks yachts and serves as a put-in for kayaks and paddleboards. Or just sit and bird watch with the Pentagon as your backdrop.
Although both the park and marina are close to the airport and Arlington's urban villages, they can be a bit tricky to get to. Directions below are for a combined trip to Gravelly Point Park and Columbia Island Marina without a car, as it’s hard not to do them both in one trip!
Walking or bicycling to Gravelly Point and Columbia Island Marina (from Crystal City):
Take Metro to Crystal City, available on Blue and Yellow Lines
Exit Crystal City Metro Station and walk to the Crystal City Water Park
Closest Capital Bikeshare station:
Whether you’re walking or biking, there is an entrance to Mount Vernon Trail to the right of water park (if facing the water park).
From this entrance, follow the Mount Vernon Trail through the tunnel and around. At the top of the hill, go North (or turn left) towards D.C. (not South towards Alexandria). This walk is 1.2 miles (23 min) to Gravelly Point Park (map).
Follow the trail past the airport fields on your right, George Washington Memorial Parkway on your left. You’ll come to a large parking lot, with a huge field to your left. This is Gravelly Point Park. Picnic tables and portable bathrooms are available.
If you would like to continue on to Columbia Island Marina, you just need to get back on Mount Vernon Trail and keep walking North.
To get back to Crystal City, simply reverse your trip (a 2.4 mile walk)
Author: Kathleen Murphy