How to Beat the Heat on Your Trip to D.C.

So, you’re coming to D.C. in summer! It seems like a great idea! It’s educational, it’s a great thing to do on a school break, it’s something every American should do! 

Y’all, it’s also HOT! Now, I grew up on a farm in the South. I know hot. I know humid. D.C. is both in the summertime! Don’t get me wrong: I totally love it, and I actually love a hot summer’s day. But I know many others (including my husband!) who don’t. Here is how to beat the heat on your summer trip to Washington, D.C.!

Drink Up

Bring a water bottle, and refill it regularly. You’ll find water bottle refilling stations throughout the downtown and National Mall areas, and many museums have one or more as well. And don’t worry, there are plenty of restrooms in museums and on the National Mall!

If you forgot your water bottle or just don’t like to carry one, plan on spending $3-$5 each on beverages throughout your trip. You can get water for free at restaurants, but you’ll definitely need more water, tea, lemonade, etc., between meals as well. Shoot for 3/4 of a gallon to a full gallon per day, depending on how much time you’ll be spending outside (which will likely be more than you think!). 

Drink plenty of water!
Keep reading: The Best Tips for All Your Summer Travels

Take Uber or the Metro

D.C. is a very walkable city, but distances may be greater than you realize until you’re there. It’s 100% worth checking the walking distance between where you are and where you want to go (via your preferred map app), then decide if walking is best for you in the heat, or if you’ll be better off taking Uber or the Metro. (It may depend on how close you are to a Metro Station!)

Most of D.C. is very walkable, but for longer distances, consider catching a ride!
Also helpful: Your Ultimate Guide to D.C.’s Metro System

Dip Your Toes in at the World War II Memorial

Do not jump into the Reflecting Pool. It’s not sanitary, it’s not safe, and it’s not allowed! You are, however, allowed to dip your feet into the fountain at the World War II Memorial. This is not a water park, it is a memorial, so please be respectful, but on hot days, you are allowed to dip your feet in, and you’ll be surprised at how helpful it is in cooling you off!

The fountain is beautiful all times of day, but especially at night!
Read next: Your Ultimate Guide to D.C.’s Monuments and Memorials

Dress Appropriately

I don’t mean wear as little as possible. I mean think about chafing! There will be sweat in places you didn’t know you had sweat glands. Think breathable fabrics, moisture-wicking options, a hat, comfortable shoes (not flip flops, please), and sunglasses are all great ideas for your packing plans! 

Dress to keep cool!
Keep reading: The Best Items that Every Woman Needs for Travel

Go Inside a FREE Museum

Need a/c? One of the best things about D.C. is the absolute plethora of FREE museums. And you know what they all have in common? Air conditioning! Pop in for a cool off, see a couple of cool things, use the bathroom, and head back out refreshed and ready to face it all again. 

The Smithsonian Museum are all air conditioned!
Read on: Your Guide to D.C.’s Smithsonian Museums

Plan Your Day the Best Way

Bottom line: Do outside things early in the day, then spend your afternoon doing indoor activities.

It makes perfect sense, but sometimes we need someone to actually point things like that out, right? The coolest part of the day will be early morning until about noon, so plan to walk the monuments, visit the Smithsonian Zoo, or walk around and do your photography first thing in the morning. Then head inside a museum, your hotel, or take your U.S. Capitol tour when the sun is at its hottest between 1:00pm and 5:00pm.

The zoo opens at 8:00am!
Keep reading: Why It’s Worth Being an Early Bird on Vacation

And Don’t Forget Sun Protection!

This is one thing people forget to pack for D.C. more than almost anything else. The sun is strong on summer days here, so even though you’ll probably leave your bathing suit behind, you’ll still want sunscreen for your face, arms, and legs. Bring some with you, because it will definitely be more expensive here than it is back home!

Bring your sunscreen AND sunnies!
Essential Info: The Traveler’s Guide to Sunscreen

Want more? Get all the tips, advice, and info you need on my dedicated Washington, D.C., Page!

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