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Washington, D.C.

In Washington's Potomac River, a woman kayaks past the Lincoln Memorial toward Memorial Bridge.

Skip Brown/Getty Images

When you think of Washington, D.C., outdoor adventure might not be the first thing that comes to mind. But many Washington insiders head outside to areas around the nation's capital to blow off steam and take a break from politicking.

Washington, with population of about a half a million people and a median home price in the half-million dollar range, has lots of opportunities for residents looking to experience some of the most popular outdoor adventure activities. Washington is known for its wet, hot summers and moderately cold winters, so a number of seasonal outdoor activities are available. The Potomac River provides the perfect setting for sailing, canoeing, kayaking and rowing. Also, nearby Great Falls, Virginia and George Washington State Forest to the west provide excellent terrain for mountain biking and hiking. The Shenandoah National Park is a great place for camping and backpacking.

If you want to stay closer to the Beltway, head to Georgetown for some leisurely biking or take a rafting class on parts of the Potomac at Great Falls Park. You can then climb the rocks that overlook the park. Rock Creek Park is an excellent setting for biking, hiking, roller-skating, and horseback riding, all within the city limits.

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