DC’s cherry blossoms attract millions of visitors from around the world. This year peak bloom is April 08-12, 2018. These trees are a magnificent sight of beauty, however, parents should know a few things before planning a trip to DC with children.
1. Parking: Street parking is the most convenient (and cheapest) option for parking, but extremely hard to find. And the meter needs more money every 2 hours or so. Your bored kids will whine and drive you nuts as you circle around the same blocks searching for a spot. Parking garages are plentiful, so do yourself a favor and park in a garage for the day for about $20.00.
2. Wear Comfortable Shoes: About 3,000 cherry blossoms spread throughout historic landmarks from Hains Point through the Tidal Basin area. Comfortable shoes, especially for kids, are a must because of the sheer amount of walking involved.
3. Pack Your Patience: People love viewing the blossoms and taking family photos with the blossoms in the background. Patience is a must while taking photos of and with the blossoms.
4. Food for Thought: The food at the Cherry Blossom festival is incredibly expensive, so bring a backpack filled with water bottles, sandwiches, and snacks for the kiddies. Your wallet will thank you!
5. Mind the Kiddies: Some parts of the Tidal Basin, lined with cherry blossoms, has protective rails, while other parts have nothing to protect the children from falling into the water. Don’t get too close to the edge, and if you do, hang onto the kiddies.
6. Don’t Touch the Blossoms: The cherry blossoms are meant for looking, not touching, including the ones on the ground! (I learned this the hard way after a park ranger approached me because my 9-year-old daughter picked a fistful of pink pedals off the ground, and threw them up in the air like confetti).
7. A Boat with a View: Viewing the cherry blossoms from paddle boats is a great way to see the cherry blossoms without obstruction from the crowds (and the kids will love being on the water). Rent a 2-person paddle boat for $18.00/hr., 4-person paddle boat for $30.00/hr., 2-person swan paddle boat for $34.00/hr. The view is absolutely stunning!
8. Cherry Blossoms May Not Appear: So the kids don’t get disappointed, it’s best to prep them in advance about the possibility of not seeing any cherry blossoms. Peak bloom dates are predicted, but if winter is terribly long or cold the cherry blossoms may be delayed or may not survive. (Last year only half the cherry blossoms survived the freezing cold weather, but the ones that survived were amazing)! Even if the blossoms don’t show up, various entertainment still goes on, so check the website.
9. Stay a While: While you’re in town, you might as well check off your bucket list along the way, such as MLK Memorial, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, and the Jefferson Memorial. Also be sure to check out the Smithsonian museums, most of which are free. The African-American museum is the newest addition to the museums. (You can get tickets online or visit the museum early on the day of your visit). Kids love the Air and Space Museum, Museum of Natural History, Spy Museum (this one costs money), National Geographic Museum, and the Postal Museum.
If You Go: If you plan on visiting DC during the time of the Cherry Blossoms, reserve your hotel right away, as this is peak time and hotels sell out. Address: Website: nationalcherryblossomfestival.org.
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Kimberly is the owner of Travel Kimestry. Her areas of expertise include The Bahamas, The Caribbean, Hawaii, Mexico, Europe and ALL THINGS DISNEY. She’s passionate about working with families who enjoy traveling the world. She looks forward to working with YOU soon!