The Gaylord Resort National Harbor is the place to be this summer. The area has a ton of fun family activities to do and the Gaylord National Harbor events are so fun! Gaylord National Harbor events include SummerFest running from May 25 to September 3. Here is your guide to Gaylord National Resort SummerFest.
We’ve only been in the DC area for about 18 months- and we love it. There is just so much to do here & we’ve enjoyed crossing the must-dos off our list. And the Gaylord National Harbor was definitely on the list. Every time we crossed the Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge into Maryland my kids asked about it.
What’s that? What’s going on over there?
It looks cool!
Can we ride the Ferris wheel?
Last week we were invited to stay the weekend at the Gaylord National Resort to check out one of the famous Gaylord National Harbor events: SummerFest.
Here is your guide to the area, the Gaylord National Resort, and SummerFest- a Gaylord National Harbor event that you won’t want to miss!
Gaylord Hotel National Harbor: Gaylord National Resort
Simply put: this is one of the nicest (ie, luxurious) yet most family friendly hotels I’ve been to in recent memory!
The Gaylord National Resort is known as a destination for conventions and organized events, but it makes a fantastic weekend getaway in DC for area families.
Location of the Gaylord Hotel National Harbor
Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center
201 Waterfront St.
National Harbor, MD 20745
It’s close to all the historical sites that your family wants to visit when they come to Washington, DC. And it would be a great option to spend your Washington DC 4th of July.
Why does this make such a great location for the DC 4th of July? You can be on the National Mall in Washington DC for all the Smithsonian museums in about 15 minutes.
Or if you want something a little more lowkey, head across the river. Historic Alexandria and about 20 minutes away and so is George Washington’s home, Mount Vernon.
Additional Gaylord National Resort Information
- As part of your resort fee, you can ride the National Harbor Circulator for free, which takes you to Tanger Outlets, MGM National Harbor and downtown National Harbor. The bus picks up guests from our bus loop near the self-parking garage and pineapple fountain. You’ll just need to show your room key for this experience.
- The rooftop lounge, POSE, is open to the public for the summer on Thursdays through Saturdays starting at 10 p.m. There is a $20 cover fee for non-hotel guests. It is complimentary to all overnight guests ages 21+.
- Relâche Spa, the resort’s signature full-service spa, is offering $110 seasonal Peach treatments throughout SummerFest. This includes a facial, massage and pedicure. The Spa is also launching an Express Bar later this month with services that range from 10 to 30 minutes including barber services, tension relief, lash and brow bar, make up touch up, eye and lip bar, hand and foot treatments, waxing and express blowouts.
- This year marks the 10th anniversary of Gaylord National Resort and National Harbor, Maryland! In celebration, there is a $10 happy hour at Old Hickory Steakhouse, a 10 year anniversary cocktail, the Silver Star, in all our dining/bar outlets and our $110 Peach treatments at Relâche Spa.
The Gaylord Hotel National Harbor is part of the Marriott Family
So get those points, y’all! You know you’re treated well when you check into a Marriott hotel, and this is no exception. We had a delightful stay with outstanding service the entire time which is what I naturally expect from a Marriot!
Here’s what I loved about the Gaylord National Resort.
Pool and Gym at the Gaylord National Resort
If you need to get your sweat on or cool off, the pool and gym at the Gaylord are outstanding. I loved the fact that the gym had multiple cardio options, all with entertainment options and recyclable headphones to use.
I’ve never seen this before- what a smart option to make those treadmill miles fly by!
The gym is located just down the hall from the indoor pool- which means you can use both year-round. Sorry, even on vacation you can’t just skip the gym.
Well, okay, you totally can. But you don’t HAVE to I guess is what I’m saying.
This is fantastic news for traveling families who want to get their kids’ energy burned off with some water play! The pool was heated and there are two outdoor hot tubs for the adults, as well as a splash pad for the kids.
The Rooms at the Gaylord National Harbor
We loved them. As a family of 6, we need 2 connecting rooms to accommodate our family size. Not only was this possible, it was also comfortable as everyone had plenty of space to spread out.
In fact, my son went ahead and made himself at home in the robe and slippers he found hanging in the closet. You do you, Seth!
The beds were perfect for some hard earned sleep after we explored what SummerFest had to offer. Be sure to check out the room tour video of a Gaylord National Resort room if you want to get an idea of the amenities and size of the rooms.
Gaylord National Harbor Events & Experiences
National Harbor is a year-round destination with so many fantastic events and experiences for families.
There’s outlet shopping nearby as well as a casino if that’s your thing. This is the Capitol area’s only waterfront resort and it makes the most of the location.
Take a Ride on the Capital Wheel
We made sure to visit the Capital Wheel and it was a highlight of the trip! All 4 of my kids, ages 15, 13, 11, and 7 thought this was pretty cool. It’s an enclosed air-conditioned cabin that takes you up for a soaring view of the area.
We didn’t see all of these things because we were focused on the National Harbor itself, but according to the Capital Wheel website, you can see a ton of the most famous tourist destinations from up here!
Sights visible include the White House and Capitol, the National Mall, Arlington Cemetery, City of Alexandria, Prince George’s County and the lush parklands throughout the DC-Maryland-Virginia region.
Gaylord Hotel ICE! During Christmas on the Potomac
When my kids heard about this, they were already asking to get booked to go back. The holiday seasonal Gaylord National Harbor events include something that looks super fun: Gaylord National’s Christmas on the Potomac featuring ICE!
There’s a whole reason to come back and celebrate the holiday season at the Gaylord National Harbor and I can’t wait to learn more! If you’ve been, hit me up with some details.
If it’s anything like SummerFest, my family is all in for this experience.
SummerFest: Gaylord National Harbor Event
This one is happening right now and runs through September 3. In celebration of the 10 year anniversary in DC, the hotel has many exciting SummerFest options for your family to enjoy. It’s an All-American Celebration!
This was what our visit was all about. My kids were eager to kick off summer and my husband I were eager to enjoy a little pampering and cocktails at the resort in preparation for the summer with kids at home. It can get rough around here- I won’t lie.
While the kids went on the Star Spangled Quest Scavenger Hunt, we sipped on a drink at the hotel bar and didn’t feel bad about it at all. The perks of raising capable teens seem never endless – ha! That’s how we #NoGuiltTravel.
Offerings for SummerFest at the Gaylor Hotel National Harbor include:
- Star Spangled Quest Scavenger Hunt. It was a super fun search of the Atrium and Lobby area of the Gaylord Hotel National Harbor.
- Great-American Road Trip Atrium Show. Lights, fountains, and music- it was a fabulous trip across the country that had everyone entertained. We caught it twice: once at 8pm and once at 9pm.
- A National Haunting: an interactive ghost tour. This was probably the most fun for my kids, even the youngest. We met up with a ghost host who took us for a stroll around the Gaylord Hotel grounds. She shared different stories- and no, they were not too scary! Each kid gets a fun souvenir at the end that helped ensure no one was freaked out and had a good time.
- Movies Under the Stars. Just in front of the fountains was a huge screen to watch a movie and wind down. My family opted to turn things up at the Silent Disco, so we missed this event. But it looked fun and there were huge bean bags for everyone to get cozy for the movie.
- Silent Disco. Ever heard of it? Nope, me either! But it was a ton of fun. The idea is that you put on your headphones and jam out. The headphones offered 3 different varieties of music and there was a DJ available to take requests. A great (silent) time was had by all!
We tried everything during our 2-day stay (except for the movie). While my kids are a variety of ages, they all agreed that Gaylord Hotel National Harbor SummerFest is a new family favorite.
The teens loved exploring National Harbor and riding the Capital Wheel the most; the tween’s favorite experience was the light, laser, fountain show. And the little one (7) thought it was all awesome! But mostly loved the ghost tour and the silent disco. She’s a bit of a dancing queen so this was a highlight for her to get her groove on.
I’d love to hear about your trip- so be sure to let know how much you love the Gaylord Hotel and SummerFest!
Patty Holliday is a Marvel loving, Disney obsessed wife, and mother of four. She’s a travel agent specializing in Disney & Universal vacations- and loves a candid confession. Find her in Virginia (or anywhere frequent flyer miles or her trusty minivan takes her.)