Pink cherry blossoms hang over the tidal basin with a blue sky behind them.
Category: Life in DC & Beyond

Title: Going Off Campus for the Great Outdoors

Author: Abby D.
Date Published: March 3, 2020

Though DC is not as dense or crowded as other big cities, it can still be a change of pace for any new student coming from a place that’s less urban. Luckily, you’ll find that there are many ways to explore nature away from all the buildings. One of the most unique things about D.C. is that there are ways to get out and adventure everywhere you look.

Outdoor Education 

Outdoor Education (OE) is a club on campus that is designed specifically to give students access to the outdoors. Throughout every season, the organization plans events that connect students to places they have never been. This includes skiing trips, rock climbing excursions, and weekend hikes. It is a great way to find students like you that share your love of the great outdoors. Personally, before I came to Georgetown, I did a pre-orientation program with OE where I backpacked through West Virginia for a week before everyone moved in. Lucky for me, this is where I meet some of my closest friends today. Throughout the school year, this club makes it easy to take a break with students who need an adventure too.


ESCAPE is a retreat for first year students at Georgetown, tucked away in the mountains of Bluemont, Virginia. The photos and experiences of ESCAPE are unbelievable. The location, the Calcagnini Contemplative Center, sets up students right along the Shenandoah Valley, for a breathtaking overnight stay. Here, students reflect on their college experience and future goals, surrounded by nature. A family friend of mine and alumni of Georgetown has saved her letter she wrote to herself when she went on ESCAPE still pinned to her work desk today. This experience is incredibly accessible and can be especially shaping for freshman at the university.

Theodore Roosevelt Island 

Theodore Roosevelt Island, which is close to campus, is right along the Potomac River, but getting out there feels like you’re in a completely different space. It’s a great place to run, walk, or kayak. The little island is a world of opportunity. It is almost a rite of passage for a Georgetown student to kayak along the Potomac, and it is a beautiful stepping stone off of the island

The Botanic Garden 

Located at the National Mall, the Botanic Garden is an extraordinary location to see plants from around the world. Right next to the Capitol, the Botanic Garden takes you from the middle of everything into the middle of nature. It really is a unique place to visit among the museums and sightseeing spots; there is no other place like it. For students, the Botanic Garden definitely is a to-do on the bucket list of D.C. spots, especially for nature lovers.  

If you’re worried about going from country to city, this is only the tip of the iceberg of the many ways to get into green and open spaces. There are also a myriad of local parks and trails with beautiful views, where many make unforgettable memories. Georgetown itself is also right on the Potomac, making the waterfront a calming scene. If you want it to be, exploring nature can be an integral piece of life here in D.C.