Biking Through the National Mall in DC

If you have been to DC you know that, even though a lot of the tourist spots are in one area, there is a lot of walking involved. I mean a LOT of walking. Especially if you plan on seeing the White House and all the monuments and memorials in one day, as we decided to do. So when friends told us about Capital Bikeshare, we jumped on it. The idea is that you can pick up a bike at any given station, use it for how ever long you need it, and then drop it off at your station of choice. Renting a bike for one day is $7, but we decided to go with option of renting the bikes for free, as long as you check them in every half an hour. Not sure if I would do that again, since it is quite a headache keeping track of the time, and figuring out which station is the closest and has enough open slots (we had four bikes). My husband downloaded the Spotcycle App, which helps you find docking stations and shows how many bikes there are.He did an amazing job navigating. Here he is checking out the bikes near the Metro Center station.



From here we rode our bikes to the White House. This was the scariest part as we were driving on the streets. Once we got to the White House we mostly rode on bike paths in the parks under shaded trees.

Next is the Washington Monument.


From there we rode to the World War II monument. Built more recently in 2004 I didn’t even know it existed. I really liked lingering there by the fountain. You have a great view of both the Washington and Lincoln memorials.



But my favorite was the Lincoln Memorial. The statue is just so impressive. And you have a great view from the top.






Next we went to the Vietnam Memorial, the most sobering of all the ones I have seen. It was a wall full with inscribed names of soldiers who lost their lives. You walk alongside the wall and read the names. I didn’t take pictures here, because it felt disrespectful.
From there we went to the Roosevelt Memorial. A totally different experience. You walk along this path with quotes and water falls, all very secluded and quiet.




Lastly we went to the Jefferson Memorial. A lot like the Lincoln.


By then we had biking and touring for over three hours in 80 F plus humidity, and we had checked our bikes in and out 9 times. I was done!
I was glad we had our 13 year old and her friend with us (who did great), and no younger children.

All in all it was a great way experience. Like I mentioned earlier the only thing I would do different is paying the $7 for the whole day and not worry about the half hour limit.

Biking Through the National Mall in DC

Bandelier National Monument

I am linking up with Design Mom today. Thank you for stopping by!

Have you been to Bandelier National Monument? We have been several times because it is one of our favorite places to take visitors to. It has all the right elements to make it a great outing for the whole family: a moderate 1 mile hike, lots of climbing on ladders, and just the right amount of anthropology and history to call it a field trip. Bandelier has several ruins and cave dwellings to explore what life for Native Americans was like around 1,000 AD. And, unlike Mesa Verde, you can actually climb into the caves, which makes it so fun for kids.

First a village on the ground. To get the full scoop I suggest paying $1 for the pamphlet, which explains explains the numbered sites in detail.


If you look closely there is an adobe structure in front of the cliff. That is what the cliff dwellings used to be like. When you see the pictures with us in the cliff dwellings, these front structures are missing.

Here is a view of the village from up high. I think several hundred people lived there at the time.


Lots of climbing up stairs to see the cave dwellings. You do not want to bring a stroller here.


So here we are climbing into a one room cliff dwelling. Like I said earlier, there would have been a structure in front of it. These caves are so nice and cool, which is nice because usually it gets hot climbing up the hill. Be sure to bring lots of water…IMG_8990 IMG_8992

How many people can you fit in one room? The people hiking behind us where a little surprised when they watched 8 of us climb out of there.

Another shot of the village below.IMG_9005 IMG_9008 IMG_9010

Here is my son Finn climbing up a ladder with Tasha. The ladders are bolted in, just in case you are wondering.IMG_9019 IMG_9038

My friend Jana with our 6 and 8 year old. My six year old could do the hike and climbing pretty well with some assistance.


Here is a 4 room cave. IMG_9062 IMG_9069

Here is my youngest taking a water break. The second half of the hike is in the shade along a small stream.

IMG_9099Bandelier is about 50 minutes northwest of Santa Fe. For more info go here. The visitor center has a small little museum showing what life in the village looked like. And it also has snacks foods available.

If you like travel posts like this, here are a few others I have done: Tent Rocks, Taos, Santa Fe, The Very Large Array, and Lincoln.

Have a great day,


Pictures taken by David Burton


Bandelier National Monument