The 18-mile-long Mount Vernon Trail is a paved riverside path that is a favorite with local cyclists. From the Francis Scott Key Bridge, it follows the Potomac River south past Roosevelt Island, Arlington National Cemetery and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, through Old Town Alexandria, all the way to Mount Vernon.
Sights along the way include Lady Bird Johnson Park, which commemorates the First Lady who tried to beautify the capital via greenery-planting campaigns; swathes of tulips and daffodils bloom here in spring. Gravelly Point, just north of the airport, provides a vantage point for watching the planes take off and land. Roaches Run Waterfowl Sanctuary lets you check out naturally airborne creatures including ospreys and green herons.
The trail is mostly flat, except the long climb up the hill to George Washington’s house at the end. The scenery is magnificent – DC skylines and all – and the historical component is certainly unique.