Enjoy Gravelly Point Park and Columbia Island Marina Car-free!

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!

Bring a picnic lunch, frisbee and/or your bike and explore beautiful national views.

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

  • 0.2 mile walk if you exit on S Bell Street
  • Crystal City Water Park is located on Crystal Drive, across from Crystal City Shops (most noticeable Morton’s Steakhouse)

Closest Capital Bikeshare station:

  • 18th and Bell Street (across 18th street where they exit the Metro and are walking towards Crystal City Water Park)
  • Visitors can grab a bike on their way to the Water Park
  • Daily memberships $7; first 30 minutes are free. Usage fees do apply after the first 30 minutes.

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).

  • If you’re in front of Crystal Place Apartments, the entrance is just to the left.

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).

  • Pro tip: Remember to walk on the right side of the trail; no more than 2 people across and single file, if possible. This is a shared-use trail and there is likely to be a lot of bikers and runners out during your visit.

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.

  • Columbia Island Marina is another 1.2 mile walk (map).
  • To reach the Marina, you will need to veer off the trail just after you pass the Navy-Merchant Marine Memorial (birds/waves, that one!). Turn right as if you’re walking towards the water and loop to the right so you pass under GW Parkway bridge. Follow the trail to the Marina.

To get back to Crystal City, simply reverse your trip (a 2.4 mile walk)

  • Visitors also have the option to walk to Arlington National Cemetery (and Metro Station) – this walk is an additional 1.3 miles and is shorter than doubling back to Crystal City.
  • If visitors *just* want to visit Columbia Island Marina, they should walk the 1.3 miles south along Mount Vernon Trail from Arlington Cemetery Metro (map).

Author: Kathleen Murphy