Unique attractions and weekly events abound at the National Harbor with plenty of things to do that will get the whole family excited. The National Harbor is the perfect place for parents to play with their kids. Here are some of our recommendations for a day of exciting activities with your family. For information on more fun things to do, visit nationalharbor.com/play

Movies on the Potomac

Spend an evening under the stars. During the summer months the National Harbor presents free movies on Thursday and Sunday evenings on the Plaza. Seating is not provided, so pack your lawn chairs or a blanket. Coolers and outside food and beverages are prohibited, but there are plenty of nearby dining establishments. The 2017 season runs from May through September. Films begin at 6 p.m. on Sundays and 7 p.m. on Thursdays. (Double feature movies on Sundays begin at 4 p.m.) The Plaza is located on Waterfront Street in the National Harbor. For the full movie line-up, visit nationalharbor.com/movies-on-the-potomac

The Capital Wheel

See incredible views of the Potomac River waterfront from 180 feet in the air on National Harbor's enormous ferris wheel. Take in sights of the Washington Monument, National Cathedral, Masonic Temple, City of Alexandria, parks throughout the DC-Maryland-Virginia region and more.

WaveOne Swimming

Experience and enjoy the most current open water swimming in the country in a safe, controlled environment. WaveOne supports the development of safe open water practices and events throughout the country, while working to protect and preserve the waters of the world.

Urban Pirates

Join the Urban Pirates and climb aboard the the 54' pirate ship Fearless for a swashbuckling adventure sailing from the Capital Wheel Pier in National Harbor, MD April through October. A lively crew will teach you how to dress, talk, dance and play games like a real pirate, blast enemies with water cannons and navigate treacherous waters to discover hidden treasures. Enjoy a family cruise Wednesday through Sunday ($22 per ticket), or for you older swashbucklers, an adult only 'Bring Your Own Grog' voyage on Friday and Saturday nights ($25 per ticket). There is a pirate adventure for everyone. Each cruise lasts 1-1/2 hours; the ship docks at the base of the Capital Wheel at the end of the pier. For more information, visit urbanpiratesnh.com/nationalharbor_home.html

On the Water

Take in the sights of National Harbor by spending time on the water. Rent a kayak, pedal boat or stand-up paddleboard, or enjoy an evening kayak tour. Stand-up paddleboarding is an incredible combination of canoeing, kayaking and surfing all in one, and is appropriate for ages 8 and up. Kayaking is a great way to get exercise and do some exploring with your family, and pedal boats are a relaxing way to have fun in the sun.

Rentals are by the hour or day, or you can purchase an unlimited season pass - May through September. Rentals include life jacket and paddle, and introductory lessons and classes are offered. Orientation for kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding is available for $35 per person.

Rates:

  • Single Kayak $16/hr
  • Double Kayak $22/hr
  • (2 adults & 1 small child)
  • 4-Seat Pedal Boat $30/hr
  • (4 passenger boat)
  • Stand-up Paddleboard $22/hr

For boathouses and other useful information, visit boatingindc.com/boathouses/national-harbor

Parking:

National Harbor has three covered public parking garages with convenient Pay-on-Foot machines. Rates begin at $2 for the first hour and reach a daily maximum of $10.

  • Fleet Garage: Entrance located on Fleet Street
  • Mariner Garage: Entrance located on Mariner Passage
  • St. George Garage: Entrance located on St. George Blvd
  • parking.nationalharbor.com

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Jennifer Poole is Assistant Editor at Washington Parent.