The Great Falls of the Potomac are one of the great overlooked outdoor adventure spots in the US. Long known and beloved by local paddlers and climbers, they’re just not on the radar of the broader public, which is surprising, given how amazing of a place it is.
The same could be said in general for Fairfax County, Virginia. This place has its own homespun charm and hospitality; it’s basically the northernmost edge of the South. Here you’ll find some of the most unique cultural spots in the country, from Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts (the only national park for the performing arts in the US) to the Workhouse Arts Center, home base to more than 100 working artists (and with its own incredible legacy as a former correctional facility housing women jailed for protesting during the suffrage movement).
Visiting here gives you amazing access to the Smithsonian and all the sites of DC, but with a different vibe and a beauty all its own.