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Many think of a summer vacation as a chance to get away, visit a distant locale, or venture far into parts unknown. But rather than endure a lengthy trip, Naval District Washington offers a number of recreation activities and destinations just down the road.

One of the best resources personnel can use when choosing recreational activities is the Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) office located on any military installation. The Navy MWR administers a varied program of recreation, social and community support activities on U.S. Navy facilities worldwide. Their programs provide personnel and their families with sports and physical fitness activities, child development and youth programs, and a variety of food and beverage services. Their mission is to provide quality support and recreational services that contribute to the retention, readiness, mental, physical, and emotional well-being of our Sailors.

“The biggest benefit of using MWR for recreational planning is the information as well as some amazing deals that are normally not available for the average civilian,” said Ali Malone, Naval Support Activity Washington Information Tickets and Travel manager. “Discounted tickets, day trips & vouchers for hotel stays in select areas are just the tip of the iceberg. Our Information Tickets and Travel program also offers personalized planning for leisure travel. Whether by cruise ship or to an all-inclusive resort, we have you covered.”

Ali said that in and around the area, there are a number of destinations that offer entertainment for a day trip or an extended stay. Just down Interstate 95 outside of Richmond, Va., are the amusement parks Kings Dominion, and farther east, Busch Gardens. For those seeking a natural wonder, Ali suggest Luray Caverns, two hours west on Interstate 66 in Luray, Va.

Washington, D.C., offers a number of options for a day on the town. The curious mind can find plenty of entertainment and education at sites such as the National Museum of Crime and Punishment, located at 7th Street North West across from the Verizon Center, and the International Spy Museum, located at F Street North West. For those on a budget, the Smithsonian Institute consists of 19 museums and the National Zoo at locations throughout the city offering various art collections, gardens, historical artifacts and exhibits to peak any visitor’s interest free of charge. For more information on the Smithsonian and its facilities, visit http://www.si.edu/.

For those who prefer camping and outdoor recreation, the region offers military as well as civilian options. Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling’s Outdoor Recreation Center & Capital Cove Marina provides a number of services for fun in the sun including camping and leisure equipment rentals, picnic spaces, Potomac River dock and slips access and boat/jet ski rentals. The Navy Recreation Center Solomons Complex is located 75 miles southeast of Washington, D.C., near the confluence of the Patuxent River and Chesapeake Bay. It offers personnel similar amenities as well as beach miniature golf, driving range, basketball courts and tennis courts to name a few. For more information on these and other base recreation sites, visit http://www.cnic.navy.mil/regions/ndw.html. For civilian camping, Marlyand and Virginia have a number of state parks that offer camping sites at a variety of locations from mountains to beaches. For more information on Maryland and Virginia state parks, visit http://www.dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/, or http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state_parks/.

These are just a few examples of the recreational activities available in Naval District Washington. For more information, contact your installation MWR office, or visit http://www.cnic.navy.mil/regions/ndw.html.