Chat Plus: Cheap Two-Day Trips in the Washington Region

Sunday, June 7, 2009

During our online chat (most Mondays at 2 p.m.), you ask and we answer your travel questions -- mostly. Here's one we couldn't get to last week.

I am trying to look at the brighter side of my company reducing my position to part-time and am wondering if you can suggest some midweek excursions. I love the outdoors and being active, and am willing to drive under four hours one way. So, if you had Tuesday and Wednesday off work for the entire summer, what (cheap) two-day trips would you plan?

Way to think positive. Here are a few affordable, outdoorsy options:

-- Bike, canoe, kayak and bird-watch on Maryland's Eastern Shore. The winsome towns of Oxford, Chestertown and St. Michaels are packed with B&Bs and affordable eateries (crabs!). They have galleries and museums, too. Info: Drive time: about two hours.

-- Check out Shenandoah National Park, with hiking trails, waterfalls, horseback riding and incomparable views of Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains. Camp out or book a cozy cabin. Info: Drive time: about 1 1/2 hours.

-- Tour New York on two wheels. Take the dollar bus (reserve in advance to get a $1 seat on BoltBus or Megabus), get a cut-rate hotel room through and explore the city by bike. For rental info and trail maps: Bike New York, Bus time: about five hours.

-- Visit Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, scene of major Civil War-era action (including abolitionist John Brown's doomed attack), as well as gorgeous scenery and challenging hiking trails. Take a ranger-led tour or explore on your own. Info: Drive time: about two hours.

-- K.C.S.

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