There are few places in the country so well suited to the big class trip than our nation’s capital. Filled with world-class museums, impressive monuments, and points of historical and cultural significance, there’s so much to see and do that your students will be exposed to a whole new world. To help make your school trip planning a little bit easier, we’ve put together a selection of the most popular field trip destinations in Washington, D.C. Check out some of our favorite D.C. field trip ideas, including:
- Hop-on Hop-off Big Bus DC Tour
- National Geographic Museum
- George Washington's Mount Vernon
- Smithsonian Museum of American History
- National Air & Space Museum
Save on Washington, D.C. Field Trip Attractions
If you're looking to save on admission to top field trip attractions in D.C., you'll want to check out the Washington DC Explorer Pass. You can save up to 47% on combined attraction admission vs. paying at the gate. See all available attractions, passes, and prices -- learn more.
Hop-on Hop-off Big Bus DC Tour
For school groups traveling to Washington, D.C., a comprehensive bus tour can be a boon. It's an easy way to see the city in a limited amount of time. It also offers informative narration that's perfectly suited for school groups in its level of detail and complexity. This hop-on hop-off option from Big Bus can also act as transit between some of these attractions, with a convenient pick-up at Union Station. Getting In: Big Bus DC Tour tickets are available with the Washington DC Explorer Pass.
Among the newer additions to D.C’s prestigious collection of museums, the Newseum is unique among its companions in that it centralizes the history of media, rather than a particular time period or discipline. Their extensive collections of documents, artifacts, archival records, and more tell the story of the history of journalism and news-making in the United States and around the world. It’s an educational destination sure to appeal to even the most disinterested teens, as it focuses on not only traditional print media but new media formats as well. Where else will they see Twitter depicted as a powerful force in modern news media? Getting In: Newseum tickets are available with the Washington DC Explorer Pass.
National Geographic MuseumAt some point in her life, every young student has hopefully held a National Geographic in her hand. They’re excellent resources for teaching students about the precious resources of our natural world and the fascinating story of global cultures. As a bonus, they’re renowned for their unparalleled photography – an inspiration to any aspiring artist. With a visit to the National Geographic Museum, you can open up an entire world of wonder to your students. Through comprehensive special exhibits, a stunning photo gallery, and a frequently rotating film series, you’ll all be immersed in the marvelous world of National Geographic. Getting In: National Geographic Museum tickets are available with the Washington DC Explorer Pass.
George Washington’s Mount VernonIf your trip to D.C. allows for a small detour into Virginia (and with the geography of the area, it couldn’t be easier to pop down to Mount Vernon with a large group), then be sure to devote a day to visiting the historic estate of our nation’s first President. This attraction showcases an important period in American history and makes it very accessible for young visitors. George Washington’s Mount Vernon is the carefully preserved collection of dwellings and outbuildings that once belonged to one of the greatest figures in American history. You’ll enjoy touring the disparate components of the estate, including the main house, the former slaves’ quarters, the well-tended gardens, and even a distillery and experimental farmland. Getting In: George Washington's Mount Vernon tickets are available with the Washington DC Explorer Pass.
National Museum of American History
The Museum of American History is home to some of the country’s most significant artifacts and objects, including the original Star-Spangled Banner, the infamous Woolworth’s lunch counter from Greensboro, North Carolina, Archie Bunker’s chair, and more. You’ll also find fascinating collections of the everyday objects that shaped the course of modern America, from the mundane, like sewing equipment or adding machines, to the marvelous, like historic cars, medical technology, and early computers. If you happen to be interested in exploring American History through music, there's also a specific tour of the museum that focuses on musical heritage and history. Getting In: Museum of American History Through Music Walking Tour tickets are available with the Washington DC Explorer Pass. General admission to the museum is free.
National Air & Space MuseumConsidered the most-visited among the Smithsonian Institution family of museums, the Air & Space Museum is a perennial favorite among school groups (I have fond memories of visiting as a kid myself!). Filled with interactive exhibits, real aircraft and spacecraft, informative displays, and even some super cool IMAX films, this museum is full of fun and excitement the whole group can get into. Be sure to check out the materials related to their most recent conservation campaign, a mission to “Reboot the Suit” – Neil Armstrong’s space suit! Getting In: Admission to the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum is free.
Remember to Save on Top Field Trip Ideas in D.C.
These are, of course, just a few examples drawn from a much larger list of great school field trip destinations in Washington, D.C. There are also a number of top-notch art galleries, the National Museum of the American Indian, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, plus dozens of memorials, monuments, and parks to explore. Combine a few of these attractions into an unforgettable itinerary for your students, and save money along the way with a Washington DC Explorer Pass®!