10 Exciting Things At Gaylord National SummerFest

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My family recently stayed at the Gaylord National to experience Summerfest, courtesy of a hosted trip. I admit that for as much as our family travels none of us have ever stayed at a Gaylord resort or hotel before. Even though I’ve heard great things about Gaylord properties, we weren’t sure what to expect. Since we love taking road trips, especially for long weekend getaways, this was the perfect opportunity to check it out. With kids who are 6 years apart, at times it can be challenging when traveling to find something for everyone. Not only did the Gaylord National Summerfest excel in this area, but it exceeded expectations. Find out why everyone should put Summerfest, which runs from May 24-September 2, on their family travel bucket list. 

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Where is the Gaylord National Resort Located?

The Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center is located in Oxon Hill, Maryland at the National Harbor. My family and I drove down on a Friday evening after rush hour from the Philly area, and it was an easy road trip that took about 3 hours. 

Once we arrived and were quickly checked-in, we went to see our room, which was on the 15th floor. Our guest room was spacious, had 2-Queen beds and a balcony with an atrium view (which I highly recommend). The resort’s 19-story atrium overlooks the Potomac River and it’s quite impressive. 

I love that this resort is central to many things such as Washington D.C., Ronald Reagan National Airport, Alexandria, VA, and it even provides transportation to the MGM and Tanger Outlets on the Harbor Circulator Bus as part of the resort fee. 

View of the Capital Wheel from Gaylord National SummerFestView of the Capital Wheel from Gaylord National SummerFest

Gaylord National Resort Guest RoomGaylord National Resort Guest Room

10 Exciting Things At Gaylord National SummerFest

1. Start With A Family Picture 

If there is one thing I have learned to do more of in the past year, especially when we travel as a family, is to get a picture together. My kids are getting older (my son just turned 15) and it’s so important to have these memories for us to look back on someday.

The Gaylord National Resort has a themed outdoor display, complete with rocking chairs, right next to the check-in area that is perfect for a fun photo op to kick off SummerFest. 

There is also a large blue Adirondack chair right outside of the resort that also makes for a great family and friend #SummerFest picture opportunity. 

Gaylord National SummerFest Family PictureGaylord National SummerFest Family Picture

Big Blue Chair at Gaylord National Resort for Visit SummerFestBig Blue Chair at Gaylord National Resort for Visit SummerFest

2. Enjoy Delicious Food

There are 7 options for dining right inside of the Gaylord National Resort. You can also visit the National Harbor area, which is only steps away and offers a variety of places to eat.

Throughout our weekend we dined at Pienza and National Past Time Sports Bar and Grill within the resort. Our group participated in a fun game of trivia at National Past Time Sports Bar and Grill (which we all won tickets to ICE, so we will definitely be back for another one of these long weekend getaways).

Trivia will be part of the Gaylord National SummerFest Independence Block Party Bash event (July 2-July 6). 

  • Pienza – During our stay we enjoyed two wonderful buffet breakfasts here. I was impressed to know that the Gaylord partners with local-area farms, which source many of the ingredients in their breakfast dishes. This restaurant has a lovely patio area (which is inside the atrium), but it is always kept at 72 degrees, so you feel like you are dining al fresco. 
  • National Past Time Sports Bar and Grill – we are big sports fans in our family, so we loved all the sports decor plus the 36-foot video wall to watch games. We were treated to a variety of comfort foods, drinks and desserts. 

Piena Restaurant inside of Gaylord National ResortPiena Restaurant inside of Gaylord National Resort

3. Creation Station and Kindness Rocks

All the kids (ranging in ages from 6 to 15 years old) experienced the Creation Station, which will also be a part of the SummerFest Independence Block Party Bash. 

There were tables set up with a variety of crayons, markers and paints for the kids to decorate SummerFest themed canvas drawstring bags. Once they were finished, they filled them with goodies (colorful sunglasses, chocolate covered peeps and pop sockets). Then they decorated kindness rocks, to place around the property later for other guests to find.

The best part was watching all of the kids, from the youngest to the oldest, interact and have fun doing this activity together. 

Creation Station and Kindness Rocks for Gaylord National SummerFest Independence Block Party BashCreation Station and Kindness Rocks for Gaylord National SummerFest Independence Block Party Bash

Creation Station at Gaylord National SummerFestCreation Station at Gaylord National SummerFest

4. Bug Quest

SummerFest is all about interactive family fun, which this activity definitely provides. Spend time exploring the atrium’s indoor garden while on a scavenger hunt and learning about a variety of bugs (don’t worry, they aren’t real).

If you find all the bugs (which thanks to my kids our family did), make sure to turn in your clue sheet for a chance to win a free stay at Gaylord National Resort. 

5. Pool Party Fun

The kids and even some of the adults in our group had a great time swimming at the indoor pool, which was perfectly heated.

Adults can enjoy beverages at the outdoor pool bar, while listening to Sunset Jams (live music from 4-7 every Saturday), and the kids can play in the outdoor splash pad.

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family travel / Gaylord National Resort / National Harbor / SummerFest

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