If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know there’s almost nothing I love more than being on the water. Even though I live less than two miles away from the banks of the Potomac River, I’ve only been out on it a few times in all the years I’ve lived here. Recently, Captain Jerry over at Reflections DC reached out and invited me for a complimentary cruise and I was so excited to get out on the water and see my city from a different point-of-view.
While Reflections DC offers cruises at various times throughout the day—there are 11am, 1:30pm, 4pm, and 6:30pm start times—we opted for the sunset sail that departs at 6:30pm from Gravelly Point Park. (As an aside, if you’ve never been to Gravelly Point Park, it’s awesome! It’s right on the Potomac and next to DCA—you get great views of the planes taking off and landing. It would be such a fun spot for a picnic in the summertime; when we were there, there was even an ice cream truck!) You can park for free at Gravelly Point, or if you don’t have a car, it’d be a super easy place for an Uber to drop you off/pick you up.
One of the great things about your river cruise with Reflections DC is that it’s private, so it’ll only be your party and Captain Jerry on the boat, which makes for a really personalized experience. I brought along my two sisters, Jennifer and Lindsey, and we all were able to comfortably fit and enjoy our time on the Cortina. (This boat has four-guest limit, and I do think if you had a party of four, you’d be equally as comfortable as we were!)
The Cortina is a classic Boston Whaler Super Sport Limited and, in my opinion, the perfect boat for a sunset sail. It sits low on the water, so it makes for a really immersive experience. I’ve been on larger boats on the Potomac and while it’s been fun, this was the trip where I really felt like I could see and enjoy the city, while also truly feeling like I was on the water. That being said, despite being a smaller vessel, it was a really stable boat, both at higher speeds* and slower speeds—I felt really safe on board, which meant I could focus solely on having FUN and taking in the scenery around me! (*When we were going faster, usually from one part of the city to the next, we wore life vests—but when we were going slowly, we were allowed to take them off and move about the boat as we pleased.)
Complimentary drinks are included in the cost of your ticket to a Reflections DC cruise—beers, hard seltzer, soda, and water. However, you can also bring your own food and drinks to enjoy and make a little picnic on the water!
The sunset sail is a two-hour trip, which is great—you can see a lot of the city without feeling rushed, and because it’s a private tour, you can let Captain Jerry know if there’s anything in particular you’re excited about seeing and he’ll make sure you get ample time at that spot. (As a surprise to no one, I really wanted my picture taken with the Lincoln and Washington Memorials, so he made sure we got the perfect shot!)
For the first leg of the tour, we actually cruised down to Old Town Alexandria, past DCA and National Harbor. One of the things that sets Reflections DC apart from other tours, in my opinion, is the great narration from Captain Jerry. He has done thorough research about the buildings and landmarks on the route and tells awesome stories and interesting tidbits about everything. I learned a lot—one of my favorite things Captain Jerry pointed out where the buffalos on Memorial Bridge (see below!). Memorial Bridge is one of my favorite DC landmarks and I had never noticed the buffalos before—such a cool fact.
Once we saw Old Town Alexandria, we headed down to see the Lincoln Memorial, the Kennedy Center, Watergate, Georgetown, Teddy Roosevelt Island, and Rosslyn. This was my favorite part of the cruise—there was so much to see and a ton of great people watching. Plus, it was golden hour, so the light was absolutely stunning! While I am sure the views from the cruise are gorgeous at all times of day, I can’t recommend the sunset tour enough.
We cruised for a little bit past Georgetown and then headed back to dock at Gravelly Point—we loved our trip and it was such a fun way to spend a Monday night. I can’t wait to get back on a Reflections DC cruise again sometime soon; I will definitely be taking any out-of-town guests on one of these sails!
Thank you to Captain Jerry and Reflections DC for inviting me and my sisters on a complimentary sunset sail in exchange for a review. We loved our trip—this is one of the coolest things I’ve done in DC in all my years of living here. Whether you’re a local or this is your first time to the Nation’s Capital, I can’t recommend a cruise with Reflections DC enough. As always, opinions are my own.
If you’re interested, Reflections DC also offers a sailing fundamentals class, a discovery sail, and a pleasure sail—you can learn more here.