Your Ultimate Guide to Visiting Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens

If you’ve ever visited D.C. or ever plan to, there are probably a few things on your list: the White House, Capitol, Library of Congress, Lincoln Memorial… and Mount Vernon! George Washington’s estate is best-known for being the home of the first President of the United States, but there’s more to George and his estate than that! Take a look, and start planning your trip!

We visited during COVID, so we masked up to be cool like George and Family!

Know Before You Go

As with all travels and life in general, it’s best to be prepared!

You will be outside more than you will be inside.

So dress for the weather! Wear comfortable shoes, bring water, wear a practical coat in the winter, wear sunscreen, use bug repellent, and have a wonderful time!

There are a lot of steps! But also a shuttle.

There is always a way to get where you need to go that does not involve stairs, but the shortest way often does involve stairs. But just in case, there is a free shuttle between the historic area and the lower farm with the 16-sided barn and the wharf.

Catch that shuttle!

Your mansion ticket has a time, and it matters.

Hundreds of people want to visit George Washington’s mansion every day. That means they have to run a tight schedule! Please abide by the time on your mansion ticket. Otherwise, there is no guarantee that you’ll get in!

There are multiple onsite dining options.

Don’t be worried about getting hungry! There is a food court with coffee, breakfast, pastries, burgers, chicken sandwiches, Papa John’s pizza, salads, wraps, and dessert!

For something a little fancier, check out the Mount Vernon Inn for fine Colonial fare!

Get something a little bit special at the Mount Vernon Inn!
Want to know what we got? Check out Where to Eat in Alexandria, VA!

You can get grits and cornmeal made at George Washington’s Gristmill!

This is a pretty cool souvenir! The Washington Gristmill is just 2.7 miles down the road, and admission is $10 per person. You can purchase grits and cornmeal that was ground there. Just check out the gift shop!

There is a bag rule.

There is a rule on the website that says any bag you bring in that is larger than a clutch must be clear. I purchased a clear backpack and used it here with no issue, but I also saw plenty of people with non-clear bags of a variety of sizes. So, do with that information what you will.

In case you’re a rule follower like me, here are a couple of clear bag options! The links below are affiliate links with Amazon. By clicking the links to shop with me, you’re supporting my small business at no additional cost to you!

You can take pictures inside the mansion!

Yes! You can take as many photos as you like inside the mansion, but please turn off your flash. If you don’t know how to turn off your flash, ask someone to help you or Google it! Flash photography rarely makes photos better, and the light damages artifacts over time.

Don’t forget to take some gorgeous shots out back, too!
More here: 9 Habits of Successful Travelers

Getting There

There are multiple ways to get to Mount Vernon. In fact, getting there can be part of the fun!

By Car

Parking is FREE! Mount Vernon’s address is:
3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway
Mount Vernon, VA 22121

Your car’s or phone’s GPS will have no trouble finding it! If you’re coming from D.C. or Alexandria, all you need to do is follow the George Washington Memorial Parkway south. You literally can’t miss it!

By Bike

You can easily ride your bike (or rent one) to or from Mount Vernon on the Mount Vernon Trail, which is an 18-mile, mixed-use, paved trail that runs from Mount Vernon to Georgetown. It’s very popular and is my personal favorite for running. It follows the Potomac River most of the way, and is beautiful in all seasons.

Cyclists will LOVE the Mount Vernon Trail!
Related: 5 Things to LOVE about Alexandria, VA

By Boat

It’s true! You can take a Potomac River Cruise from either Alexandria or Washington, D.C., and your trip includes admission. One-way cruises are also available, in case you’re prefer to bike there and cruise back, or vice-versa. The boat option is 3 hours round-trip and includes sightseeing!

Take the Yellow Water Taxi!

By Metro and Bus

If you’d prefer to take public transportation, it’s easy! Simply take the Yellow Line Metro to the Huntington Station (where the Yellow Line terminates), and board the Fairfax County Connector 101 to Mount Vernon.

Must read: Your Ultimate Guide to D.C.’s Metro System

Hours

Mount Vernon is open 365 days a year—yes, even on Christmas! It opens at 9:00am daily, and closes at 5:00pm April-October; 4:00pm November-March.

Note: The Museum and Education Center stays open one hour after the estate closes.
Don’t forget to pick up a brochure when you visit so you can have a map of the estate! There’s a lot to see!

Admission

Admission to the Mansion is $20 for ages 12 and up, $12 for children ages 6-11, and FREE for children 5 years old and younger. This admission price includes the mansion tour; you will just have to select your time. Click here to purchase tickets online and skip the ticket office line. Members of the military receive a $6 discount.

Note: Purple Heart recipients always visit for FREE.
Mount Vernon Mansion
Want the ultimate George Washington experience?
How to Stay at George Washington’s Townhouse in Alexandria, VA

The Mansion

Now we’ve gotten to the good stuff! This is the part you came to see. As you’re looking at the mansion, you’ll line up at your appointed ticket time to the left of the mansion, in front of some of the outbuildings. There will be someone there to make sure you’re in the right place, and to answer any questions you may have. They’ll also tell you about the exterior of the house and maybe give you some interesting trivia information while you’re waiting!

As mentioned above, you can take non-flash photographs inside the mansion, so please do! Here are some highlights:

View of the mansion’s front room, complete with plenty of chairs for company and a spinnet for entertainment! Also, notice the period prints in the back.
Key to the Bastille Prison in Paris, along with a print of the Bastille. The key was a gift from General Lafayette to General Washington after the storming of the Bastille during the French Revolution.
One of the beds in the house. The curtains on all sides were meant to keep heat in during the winter months, and they were changed out for mosquito netting in the summer months!
A casual meal set in the small dining room. There is ice cream on the table for dessert!
General Washington’s office, complete with fan chair, swivel chair, and many original pieces owned by Washington himself!
A peek into the detached kitchen. Those cones on the table are sugar!
More like this: Presidents’ Homes within a Day’s Drive of D.C.

The Gardens and Grounds

The vast majority of the experiences to have at Mount Vernon are in the gardens, farms, and the grounds!

Gardens and Farms

There are always fruits, vegetables, and grains growing at Mount Vernon, and there are always costumed interpreters to tell you about them! Explore at your own pace, and be sure to wear appropriate shoes!

There are always fresh fruits and veggies growing in the upper gardens!
The Washington’s even kept tropical plants growing year-round with their massive greenhouse!
Don’t miss the 16-sided barn used for threshing grains. It was George Washington’s own invention!
They had just added an outdoor oven when we visited. They have already used it to make pizza!

Outbuildings

Mount Vernon estate always required a whole team of people to operate well! You can see where these people lived and worked, as well as see how they worked, thanks to the historical interpreters.

Food sotrage in the Salt House.
Fabric and repairs were made in the Spinning House.
Men’s bunk house.
Shoes were made and repaired in the Shoemaker’s Shop.
More here: Washington, D.C., for History Lovers

The Family Tombs

There are multiple Washingtons and relations buried and entombed on the property, and their family tomb is just a short, downhill walk from the mansion.

See where George, Martha, and other family members are entombed.

The Museum and Education Center

I recommend reserving about an hour of your visit to make sure you have time to go through the museum and education center! There are plenty of Washington-original artifacts, you’ll find cool information about George Washington’s early life before he ever inherited Mount Vernon from his older brother, and some “facts” you know about George Washigton will be debunked as myths!

You’ll find out some interesting things about Martha, too!
He wasn’t always President of the United States. He started as a land surveyor—he made maps!
Yep, those are his teeth!
More here: How to Go Inside the Washington Monument

Special Events

Mount Vernon hosts special events all year long, from unique tours to the annual Patriot Run on September 11, from Whiskey tastings with George and Afternoon Tea with Martha, from the annual Colonial fair and market to Christmas at Mount Vernon, there’s always something special to celebrate! Check out their calender to see if there’s something special happening during your trip to the area!

Christmas at Mount Vernon is one of the best times of year!

Want more? Check out my Washington, D.C., and United States Pages!

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Published by quickwhittravel

Hey there! I am an avid traveller and adventurer, and you're always welcome to join me! The things I love most are God, my husband Steve, and seeing new places! My favorite places include Sydney, Australia; Ise City, Japan; and Bergen, Norway--but there's always room for more favorite places!

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