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How to See D.C. in Summer Without Killing Your Kids

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Budget-style family trips to Washington, D.C.—everyone sleeping in one hotel room with tiny bath towels doing double duty at a tiny hotel pool—can still be fun, don’t get me wrong. But just don’t try one in summer. 

Summers in D.C. are brutally hot and relentlessly crowded. The museums along the Mall, because they are free and air-conditioned, invite larger than usual huddled masses yearning to breathe free air-conditioning. The crowds dully shuffle past Lincoln's top hat and Apollo space capsules and Plains Indian weavings, and what seemed exciting and inspiring begins to seem stultifying and meaningless.  Your kids start to talk about the hotel pool.  Frequently, and in increasingly thin voices. Your feet hurt and there’s too much more to see before you head back to the featureless hotel room.  Budget no longer seems worth the savings. 

This thoughtful package from the Mandarin Oriental (parents note: sun-lit 50-foot indoor pool, guestroom views of the Jefferson Memorial or the Tidal Basin) makes some sense if you can splurge and would like to avoid all that huddling and loud yearning.

First Class Family Fun package includes:

- 2 nights' accommodations in adjoining guestrooms
- Daily breakfast for 2 adults and 2 children
- A tote with boxed lunch, bottled water, and healthy snacks for 2 adults and 2 children
- Tickets to the International Spy Museum and an IMAX feature
- A private nighttime tour of the monuments in the hotel's chauffeured sedan, with snacks and bottled water
- Free parking

From $1,499 ($750/night for two rooms), now through September 30, 2010. For more information or to book, please visit Mandarin Oriental, Washington, D.C., or call (202) 554-8588.

Ann Shields is a senior online editor at Travel + Leisure.

Photo by Thom Ostrowski


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