Jump Into Fall With a Splash of the Outdoors

A kayaker soars over the rapids at Great Falls Park, which offers plenty of views and hikes along the Potomac River.
A kayaker soars over the rapids at Great Falls Park, which offers plenty of views and hikes along the Potomac River. (By Ron Edmonds -- Associated Press)
Friday, September 22, 2006

Sometime right around midnight, it will officially become the best time of year to be in Washington.

Fall is the only time we wear coats because we look cute in them, not because we're cold. It's also our last chance to partake of the outdoors before our six-month "no heater, no go" policy takes effect.

So, here it is, our semi-official list of the best ways to spend your brand-new season .

Take That Potomac River Trip You've Always Talked About : On a clear September day, the Potomac is full of boaters and kayakers stirring up the whitewater, but come late October, many rental operations pack it in for the season. If you thought you knew this city, you should see it from the water, you know, sometime this year . Atlantic Kayak offers tours by kayak through October. Check out the Georgetown ones, at sunset Saturdays through Oct. 28 (there's one tomorrow, $44 a person, 5:30-8 p.m.) and by moonlight Oct. 6 ($54). 301-292-6455. Jack's Boat House under the Key Bridge in Georgetown offers boats for you to rent to venture out on your own. Canoes, kayaks and rowboats, $15-$35. Weekdays 10 a.m. and weekends 8 a.m. to sunset. 3500 K St. NW. 202-337-9642. Paddle boating in the Tidal Basin is your kiddie pool equivalent, $8-$16 an hour. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (Rentals stop at 5.) 1501 Maine Ave. SW. 202-479-2426.

Great Falls : It never gets old. Hike the River Trail, which will get you closest to the Potomac. Or hit Overlooks 2 or 3, where you can catch a view of the actual falls. $3 a person or $5 for a vehicle. 7 a.m.-dark. 9200 Old Dominion Dr., McLean. 703-285-2965. (For the Maryland side, in Potomac, $3 a person, or $5 for a vehicle. 11710 MacArthur Blvd., Potomac 301-767-3714.)

Break a Record With Your Downward-Facing Dog: The Freer Gallery of Art is celebrating 100 years since Charles Lang Freer gifted the United States with a vast collection of Asian and American art. And "From Sunrise to Moonrise" begins outdoors at 8 a.m. with a huge, hour-long yoga class on the Mall , an attempt to break the record for the largest yoga class in America. (When are you going to get a chance like that again?) It's Oct. 7, so dress warm, folks, it's going to be brisk. Independence Avenue and 12th Street SW. 202-633-1000. For schedule, see http://www.asia.si.edu/collections/100years.htm .

-- Lavanya Ramanathan

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