How and Where to Responsibly Rent a Summer House Near DC

Can summer vacation be salvaged? Hopefully.

May 27, 2020 1:43 pm
The only thing separating you from this Mountain View is an Airbnb reservation
The only thing separating you from this Mountain View is an Airbnb reservation

Summertime in DC is a postcard: biking under the trees on your way to the Lincoln Memorial, strolling the cobblestoned streets of Georgetown, oysters on the half shell and bottles of rosé by the waterfront. But man — that heat.

No matter how idyllic the city can be amid the swelter, this summer will undoubtedly look different in many ways. While Maryland’s governor, Larry Hogan, announced a gradual easing of pandemic-related restrictions that started May 15, DC’s Mayor Muriel Bowser extended the District’s stay-at-home order to remain through June 8.

So, can you ethically vacation this summer? Probably, but that trip won’t (and shouldn’t) look anything like your past bar-hopping trips to Virginia Beach. It will still be important to stay as isolated as possible to continue to flatten the curve.

If you are thinking about heading back to your favorite vacation town this year, try to avoid crowded streets and packed beaches. Opt instead to venture farther out of town, where you’ll probably snag a much grander property as well as the chance to reconnect with nature and close friends or family in a way that keeps you, and others, safe. And before you start your drive over, be sure to stock your car with supplies — from the cleaning gear you’ll definitely need to the bottles of wine you know you’ll want — in order to avoid disrupting another town’s supply chain. Finally, regardless of where you and your party choose to head this summer, make sure to read the fine print before booking, and expect cancellations.

With all that in mind, we’ve taken the liberty of compiling 10 rentals within driving distance of DC that are appropriately isolated, still have late-summer vacancies and specify flexible cancellation policies. Prices are based on the same dates in August for each property, and are subject to change.

1. A grand townhouse in Alexandria

Photo courtesy of Airbnb

Relax in the serene, secluded garden at this deluxe retreat, where country cottage meets Victorian estate in the heart of Alexandria’s historic district. The property boasts high ceilings, original heart pine flooring, antique furnishings and a charming backyard with a pond. The listing also emphasizes professional cleanings and sanitization in between guests, and disinfecting and hand-sanitizing products are provided.

The specs: 3 bedrooms, 4 beds, 3.5 bath | $450/night

2. A riverfront home near Annapolis

Photo courtesy of Airbnb

This newly updated mid-century modern home sits overlooking picturesque Chase Creek, with a winding path down to the water that includes a wood deck and a hammock, and ends at a protected deep water pier with a 50′ slip and immediate access to the Severn River. The property also sits on a huge piece of land surrounded by acres of open space that’s just minutes from downtown Annapolis. 

The specs: 3 bedrooms, 4 beds, 3 baths | $562/night

3. A cabin retreat in Middleburg

Photo courtesy of Airbnb

Escape the city to this charming cabin retreat, which enjoys sweeping views of Ashby Gap in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The property is also just minutes away from the quaint towns of Upperville and Middleburg, and only an hour outside of DC. It’s an ideal weekend getaway for couples, and great for getting outside as it sits a half mile away from the Appalachian Trail. 

The specs: 1 bedroom, 1 bath | $275/night

4. A spacious bungalow on Virginia Beach 

Photo courtesy of Airbnb

This large beachfront home has some pretty amazing views, and the perfect deck on which to enjoy them. Besides ample space to rest and recuperate, kayaks and snorkel gear are also included in the rental. 

The specs: 2 bedrooms, 2 beds, 2 baths | $182/night

5. A vacation home with a private pool right in Eastern Market 

Photo courtesy of Airbnb

Ever dream about having your own pool in the city? Now you can make it come true (temporarily) with this full townhouse in one of the nicest, tree-lined neighborhoods in the city. The property is just a stone’s throw away from both Lincoln Park and Eastern Market, and comes equipped with a garage for parking your car and a pool for parking your body.

The specs: 3 bedrooms, 3 beds, 2.5 baths | $475/night

6. A stately wood cabin in Shenandoah

Photo courtesy of Airbnb

This majestic (there’s no other word for it) log home by Shenandoah National Park is an amazing mountain retreat if you really want to get away from it all. Self-check in and some serious seclusion makes this a safe way to vacation, and views overlooking the Shenandoah Valley and Blue Ridge Mountains aren’t bad either.

The specs: 4 bedrooms, 8 beds, 3.5 baths | $309/night

7. A charming cottage on the Chesapeake Bay

Photo courtesy of Airbnb

Catch the sunrise in style at this cottage home on the bay, with its panoramic Chesapeake views from the porch. Sitting just a few steps from the water, the property is situated in a quiet neighborhood within an hour’s drive of the city and 30 minutes from Annapolis. Take kayaks out to catch sights of sailboats and wildlife before heading in to spend a night around the fire pit. 

The specs: 3 bedrooms, 4 beds, 3 baths | $379/night

8. A stylish, modern cabin by Deep Creek Lake

Photo courtesy of Airbnb

This unique lakeside chalet was recently renovated with modern amenities and appliances, but that doesn’t mean that it lost its charm. The stylish A-Frame is located at the end of a private road in the Sky Valley community, with a gas fire pit and brand new hot tub out on the large deck. When you’re not spending time on the lake, head inside to watch movies in the upstairs loft, or enjoy a book while lounging in the hanging swings. 

The specs: 3 bedrooms, 4 beds, 2 baths | $327/night

9. A mountainside chalet in Harpers Ferry

Photo courtesy of Airbnb

A beautiful, isolated home in the mountains of West Virginia, this chalet sits on four acres of mountainside forests with views overlooking Shenandoah Valley and the river. Those hungry from a day of hiking will love access to a fully stocked kitchen, as well as a meal on their large deck overlooking the valley. 

The specs: 3 bedrooms, 3 beds, 2 baths | $269/night

10. A historic farmhouse estate in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Photo courtesy of Airbnb

This charming farmhouse is definitely a splurge, but perfect for larger families looking for a comfortable spot to isolate. The listing also makes mention of discounts available for extended stays. It’s a historic property that was built way back in the 1790s and was the original home of the Early family, the namesake of Earlysville, Virginia. Tucked away in the heart of Virginia’s wine country, it’s situated in the middle of 100 acres of private land including a two-acre pond. 

The specs: 6 bedrooms, 7 beds, 5 baths | $746/night


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