East Potomac Park is situated in southwest DC between the Potomac River and Washington Channel. The park houses a large number of cherry blossom trees and is especially pretty in April. It offers a variety of options for people looking to be active outdoors, as well as a large picnic area and playground for the kids. We will run through those options and then provide information on getting there.
1. Play Golf The park is home to three golf courses, a miniature golf course, a three-hole practice area, large putting greens, and driving range. The Red Course is a nine-hole par three course perfect for beginners. The White Course is also nine holes and includes six par fours and three par threes. It is also appropriate for beginners. The flagship course is the 18-hole Blue Course. The most challenging tees on the Blue Course play to a rating of 70.5 and slope of 115, so while it may not give Tiger fits, experienced golfers will find it to be a more appropriate challenge. The courses are also some of the cheapest in the area, which is nice, but they fill up fast. You should book a tee time, especially on the weekends. In the summer the courses can get burned up, so if the District is going through a dry spell the ground can get very hard. If you are just looking to practice, the course offers a three-hole practice area and large driving range. Unfortunately, the range only allows golfers to hit off mats, there are no opportunities to tee it up off of grass. The range can fill up on nice days too. For more details on the courses and range, visit the East Potomac Golf Courses website. As stated above, there is also a miniature golf course adjacent to the main courses. It is great for kids, but is a little worn down.
2. Play Tennis Tennis lovers will also find a lot to do at East Potomac Park. The East Potomac Tennis Center offers five indoor hard courts, 10 Har-Tru clay courts, and an additional nine outdoor hard courts. Lessons are also offered, as well as a number of leagues for those interested in something more competitive. At the time of this posting the rates were in the process of changing. We suggest you visit the website or call before making any plans. You can reserve courts up to seven days in advance online.
3. Go for a Hike Hikers should bring a camera, as the walk provides a few interesting photo opportunities. On the southwestern section of the island, you will be directly across the river from Reagan International Airport where you can observe planes taking off and landing. On the northern end of the hike you should take the opportunity to visit the Jefferson Memorial, which is technically in West Potomac Park. We have mapped out a hike for you.
4. Go for a Run The loop around the park provides a nice place to go for a run. The breezes coming off the water make summer running much more tolerable. You can run on a sidewalk that takes you right along the river on the perimeter of the park. The sidewalk has been in pretty rough shape the past few years. Many of the large holes plaguing the sidewalk have been filled in, but you still need to be careful! If the sidewalk gets annoying you can always run on the grass closer to the road. See the hike map for a distance and route.
5. Take a Bike Ride East Potomac Park is also a favorite destination for cyclists. You can easily make it part of a longer ride that will take you around the monuments downtown.
6. Swim In the summer, the park features a large public swimming pool. It is located on the grounds of the golf course, adjacent to the driving range. Visit the parks and rec website for more details. NOTE: the pool is closed for 2017.
7. Have a Picnic The southern tip of the island is called Hains Point. In addition to a large grassy area, it houses numerous picnic tables and a great set of playground equipment for kids. Some of the picnic areas are permitted on weekends from Memorial Day to Labor Day. For details on getting a permit visit the parks and rec permit website.
Food Options There is a grill and place to get snacks next to the golf course Pro Shop. There are picnic tables outside, which make for a good place to sit and relax after a run or hike.
Getting There There is a substantial amount of parking along the perimeter of the park on Ohio Drive and near the Hains Point area. However, these spots can fill up on weekends, especially when the weather is good. Your best bet is to get there in the morning (9-10 a.m). The golf courses, including the miniature golf course, and swimming pool are adjacent to a large parking lot. A sign in front states that the lot is only for people using these facilities. The Northeastern end of the park is about one mile from the Smithsonian Metro. So if you want to go for a run or a hike, especially on the weekend, this probably your best option.