Whether you’re moving to Alexandria or just visiting for the day, a stop at Mount Vernon is likely at the top of your list to see. The plantation has iconic, historic, and patriotic flourishes that wrap around a beautiful home with a Potomac river view that the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association lovingly cares for year after year.
Mount Vernon isn’t part of the Smithsonian museum collection, so there is a paid entrance, but consider your fee a contribution to the first national historic preservation organization and the oldest women's patriotic society in the U.S.
Admission: Adults are $20, children 6-11 are $12, younger children are free. Military members are eligible for a discount.
Planning Your Day at Mount Vernon
The best way to begin planning for a day on the property is to connect with Mount Vernon on social media and review their website. You’ll find dozens of planned lectures, exhibits, tours, and events. You won’t want to miss anything because you weren't aware of the timing!
Also know that Mount Vernon is open 365 days a year, but it does have varied hours depending on the season.
- April through October: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. The nearby Gristmill and distillery are only open April 1 through October 1.
- November through March: 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
- The Museum and Education Center are open for guests one hour after closing.
Now, for more tips to make the most of the day spent at Mount Vernon!
Here’s a way to sneak in a bit of extra tourist time. If you buy admission tickets at the gate within one hour of closing, staff will validate the ticket so you can visit the next day for free. There’s a good chance that the popular exhibits will be crowd-free as closing time approaches. You’ll want to see those false teeth up close and personal!
Locals, take note: buying a membership usually pays for itself after the first visit. Most membership packages include free passes for guests.
If you plan to live in Alexandria, take advantage of the off-season to visit. School field trips from across the country head to Washington, D.C. in the spring and summer, and Mount Vernon becomes a magnet for tour buses filled with school aged kids.
The two main parking lots are expansive, but fill up quickly during peak morning hours. There is overflow parking that opens if needed. For those who have trouble walking the half-mile distance, they can be dropped off out front; a traffic circle makes it easy. Parking is free.
For more details on how to make the most of your Mount Vernon visit, check out Insider Tips: George Washington's Mount Vernon.
Mount Vernon consists of indoor and outdoor exploration. The Education Center and museums are located inside, the mansion sits alone, outbuildings such as slave quarters and a blacksmith shack surround the property, and the remaining farmland and gardens make up the rest of the acerage. If bad weather does occur, there’s plenty to do inside.
Mount Vernon rests on the banks of the Potomac River, which means the property has its own wharf for commercial cruises. A multi-day trip to the plantation would allow enough time to jump aboard and take a tour of the D.C monuments by boat.
Take advantage of the full service menu at the Mount Vernon Inn. The food will exceed your expectations both in quality and selection. Casual food is also available in a food court style environment.
Do not miss the award winning “Be Washington” interactive exhibit. Visitors get to put themselves in Washington’s shoes as he makes important decisions for the future of the country.
The “Lives Bound Together” exhibit is a tribute to the enslaved community that made Mount Vernon the special place it was. The exhibit is in the museum portion of the building and the lives of slaves are fully detailed and displayed.
No museum visit is complete without a pass or two through the gift shop! Both shops rival any competitors in D.C. The general public can enter without admission. It's not uncommon for locals to pick up holiday gifts unique to Alexandria. Remember, much of the Fort Hunt portion of Alexandria was once George Washingon’s personal farmland.
Mount Vernon is very dog friendly! Miles of walking is open to leashed pets and makes for a scenic trek during most months, but especially during the fall. Dogs have to stay outside of the buildings, however.
A trip or move to Alexandria is not complete unless you’ve visited Mount Vernon. Leave yourself plenty of time to explore and enjoy. There really is so much to learn and take in from the history of the property.