Whether you’re traveling to our nation’s capital to explore the monuments or learn more about our country’s history, you can choose to arrive in Washington, D.C. by flying there. When you’re planning your trip, you’ll find three airports that serve the area: Dulles International Airport, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, and Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. Learn about each airport and the amenities offered so that you can decide which one is right for you.

The Dulles International Airport in Washington DC.

Dulles International Airport

Dulles International Airport is situated 26 miles west of downtown Washington, DC. In 2016, the airport provided service to 21.9 million passengers, making it the third-busiest airport in the region. It serves over 125 destinations around the world, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta, Orlando, London, Frankfurt, and Paris. The airport is a hub for United Airlines.

Airport Amenities

When you want to get some shopping done while you’re at the airport, you’ll find several options on both concourses. For apparel and accessories, you can shop at Burberry and Erwin Pearl. If you’re looking for electronics, Bluwire offers some of the latest devices. You can also get a book or magazine from Capitol City Ink and Hudson News. If you’re hungry, you can get something quick to eat at Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, Smashburger, luv’n berry, and Cosi. For a full-service meal, your options include The Firkin & Fox and The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck.

Other amenities offered at the airport include free wireless internet access. If you’re traveling with children, there’s a play area near Gate B70 that offers airport-themed play elements where they can slide and climb. There are also eight nursing rooms throughout the airport. If you need a place to relax, head to Be Relax Spa to get a massage, facial, pedicure, manicure, and even a shower.

Getting to and from the Airport

Whether you’re heading to downtown Washington, D.C. or any of the surrounding area, you’ll find several ground transportation options at the airport. The Silver Line Express Bus offers direct service from the airport to the Metro’s Silver Line. This trip takes around 15 minutes. You’ll also find Metrobus routes from the airport to other spots in the area. If you’d like to take a taxi, Washington Flyer Taxicabs has an exclusive deal with the airport to offer 24-hour service to and from the airport.

If you’d like to have your own transportation, Dulles has several on-site car rental companies. There’s a free shuttle bus that will take you between the airport and the rental lot. The companies that have desks at the rental lot include Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, National, and Thrifty.

Hotels Near the Airport

To stay near Washington Dulles International Airport, you can’t get any closer than the Washington Dulles Airport Marriott, which is located directly on-site. The modern rooms come with soundproof windows, televisions with premium channels, coffee makers, and desks. Upgrade to a suite to get a separate living area with a sofa, an additional television, and a minifridge. There’s also an on-site restaurant serving American cuisine, a fitness center, and indoor and outdoor pools.

Reflecting monument
The Reflecting Pool and The Washington Monument in Washington DC.

Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport

At just 3 miles south of downtown Washington, DC, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport is the closest airport to the capital. With 23.5 million passengers coming through in 2016, it’s the second-busiest airport in the area. It’s a hub for American Airlines, and the top destinations the airport serves are Atlanta, Chicago, Boston, and Dallas.

Airport Amenities

Since Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport is such a large airport, it offers plenty of amenities to make your time there comfortable. If you’re looking to get something to eat, you can grab something quick at Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks, Chick-fil-A, or Qdoba Mexican Grill. To enjoy a full-service meal, choose Il Viaggio Italian Kitchen, Legal Sea Foods, Matsutake Sushi, or Sam & Harry’s. You can pick up gifts and souvenirs with a stop at AMERICA!, Pen & Prose Boutique, The Smithsonian Museum Store, or Uniquely D.C. You can also get apparel and accessories at Vineyard Vines, Landau Jewelry, or Brooks Brothers.

If you have some time to spare, head to the Exhibit Hall located in the corridor connecting Terminal A to Terminal B. Here you can learn more about the unique history of the airport. You’ll see a model of the original terminal, video presentations, artifacts found from the preservation of the Abingdon Plantation, and memorabilia from the original dining room of the airport.

Getting to and from the Airport

When you’re ready to travel to and from the airport, you’ll find several options. The elevated Metrorail system offers easy access to areas throughout Washington, Maryland, and Virginia. The Metrobus also provides service on weekend mornings before the Metrorail system opens. You can also get a taxi at the ground transportation area of all terminal buildings.

If you would prefer having your own transportation, you’ll find on-site rental car counters on the first floor of Terminal Garage A. The companies available include Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, National, Payless, Thrifty, and Zipcar. Additionally, Advantage has an off-site office near the airport.

Hotels Near the Airport

If you’re interested in staying near Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, you’ll find several hotel options. Holiday Inn National Airport/Crystal City is an affordable option that still offers plenty of good amenities. The modern hotel is a mile from the airport and has rooms that include flat-screen televisions with premium cable channels, free wireless internet access, and coffee makers. You’ll also find an on-site restaurant, free airport shuttle, fitness center, and business center.

Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel is another option directly across from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. It’s also just 4 miles from the National Mall and the White House. The hotel offers contemporary rooms with 37-inch flat-screen televisions, marble bathrooms, coffee makers, and minifridges. Take one of the complimentary bike rentals out to explore the area, or enjoy a meal at the modern Italian restaurant. Other amenities offered at the hotel include a business center and fitness room.

The Ulysses S. Grant Memorial in Washington DC.

Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport

Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport is 32 miles northeast of Washington, DC and 9 miles south of downtown Baltimore. With 25.1 million passengers coming through in 2016, it’s the busiest of the three major airports. It’s a focus city for Southwest Airlines and a hub for Southern Airways Express. Some of the top destinations serviced by the airport include Atlanta, Boston, Orlando, Charlotte, Denver, Chicago, and Las Vegas.

Airport Amenities

If you’d like to get some shopping done while you’re at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, you’ll find numerous options. Pick up a few gifts or souvenirs for yourself or others at America!, Pandora, Fire & Ice, Pen & Prose, or Swarovski. If you’d like to get some snacks, stop by Popsations Popcorn, Charm City Candy, or Maggio Olive Oil Company.

You’ll also find several options for food. When you need a quick bite or light meal, you’ll find Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, Chick-fil-A, Einstein Bros. Bagels, Potbelly Sandwich Shop, and Tony & Benny’s New York Style Pizza. For a larger meal, consider stopping by Silver Diner. This restaurant partners with over 15 local farms to put the freshest and best ingredients in their meals.

Getting to and from the Airport

Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport has several convenient ground transportation options to help you get around the area. Public transportation options include light rail and bus service to Baltimore and Washington, DC. There’s also a taxi stand located directly outside the baggage claim area on the lower level of the airport terminal near doors one and five.

For your own transportation, there’s a large rental car facility that has desks from the major rental companies. There’s a free shuttle service that will carry you between the airport and the rental car facility about every 10 minutes. The companies you’ll find at the facility include Avis, Alamo, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, National, Next Car, Payless, and Thrifty.

Hotels Near the Airport

There are a variety of hotel options near Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. Aloft BWI Baltimore Washington International Airport is a modern hotel that’s 2.5 miles from the airport. Inside every room, you’ll find free wireless internet access and a flat-screen television. For an extra fee, dogs are welcome at the hotel, and they’ll receive a bed, toys, and treats during their stay. The lobby features a billiards table and fireplace. Other amenities include an indoor pool, 24-hour fitness center, and contemporary cocktail bar.

Red Roof Plus+ Baltimore-Washington DC/BWI Airport is an affordable hotel option 2 miles from the airport. The rooms come with free wireless internet access, flat-screen televisions, pillowtop mattresses, and desks. When you need a little pick-me-up, there’s free coffee in the lobby. The hotel also has a complimentary airport shuttle and on-site business center.

If you’re planning a trip to Washington, D.C., you might decide to fly into one of these top airports. If you do, enjoy all the amenities offered before heading out to see everything our capital has to offer.