Marina Spotlights

Marina Spotlight: National Harbor Marina

Susan Elnicki
National Harbor | Courtesy of National Harbor Marina

By land or sea, it’s hard to miss the colorful lights of the 180-foot-tall Capital Wheel that spins above the waters at National Harbor Marina. As the centerpiece for the 350-acre development along the Potomac River, the Wheel welcomes guests to its vibrant community that’s only 10 miles downstream from the Washington Monument.

Water taxis carry visitors on a short cruise to historic Old Town Alexandria, The Wharf and Georgetown Waterfront, but boaters who stay at National Harbor Marina find a convenient location to enjoy a cornucopia of amenities and attractions.

With 81 wet slips at floating docks, the marina accommodates all kinds of vessels from yachts and catamarans to research boats and dinghies. Two slips are for boats up to 150’, a few are ready for vessels up to 80’ and most of the remaining slips fit boats up to 60’. The marina offers boating essentials, such as a lounge, bathrooms, picnic tables, pump out, fuel, security gates, ice and much more to make boaters feel right at home.

It’s no surprise that 12 million people come to National Harbor each year. Whether they tie up at the meticulously maintained marina, stay in one of the hotels or just drop by for a day, guests are delighted by entertainment that appeals to every whim and wallet.

Nature lovers walk the trails and public parks, ride the waves on kayaks or standup paddleboards, or cruise down the Potomac for bass fishing and birdwatching. Spirit Park, the latest waterfront venue, is home to a massive American flag, amphitheater, event space and unique artwork. The marina is also surrounded by historic sites from the first U.S. president’s home at Mount Vernon and the Jefferson Memorial to the Watergate building and International Spy Museum. The Smithsonian museums can keep you busy for days.

National Harbor is also known for its events and festivals. Highlights include PBS Kids Days, Shakespeare in the Park, Water Lantern Festival, Taco, Beer & Tequila Festival, and Salute the Sunset with military bands playing tunes in the evenings. MGM Hotel & Casino is a hub for games of chance and A-list performers lighting up its stage.

With 40 restaurants and bars, dining choices seem unlimited. Some favorites: Succotash for cocktails and chicken ’n waffles, Fiorella’s for Italian cuisine, Tom’s Watch Bar for sporting events and Walrus Oyster & Ale House for classic Chesapeake seafood. Wondering what to wear for all these activities? Somewhere at all the shops and retail outlets nearby, the perfect outfit is waiting for you at National Harbor.

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