All photos Laura Hayes
All photos Laura Hayes

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Hit play on Spotify’s “Yacht Rock” playlist as you slather yourself in sunscreen before heading out on a do-it-yourself dining and drinking tour of the D.C. area’s waterfront destinations. The Potomac Riverboat Company offers water taxi rides to and from National Harbor, Alexandria, The Wharf, and Georgetown. Maybe they’re for tourists. Maybe they’re for staycations. 

The 20-minute jaunts cost $10 each way when you buy one-way tickets. As long as a staffer with proper certification is aboard, the water taxis can sell you Bud Light or Yuengling for $6—an advantage if you can’t wait until your next destination to keep the party going. 

Here’s a tested itinerary for your next Sunday funday: 

Fried shrimp poboyboy

1. Start with brunch at one of Alexandria’s waterfront restaurants. Vola’s Dockside Grill has seating right on the water and their fried seafood is a sure bet. Try the conch fritters with key lime mustard sauce to trick your brain into thinking you’re on vacation, or indulge in a fried shrimp po’ boy with Old Bay fries.

2. Board the water taxi in Alexandria bound for The Wharf at 1:05 p.m. It arrives at 1:35 p.m. Extra points if you’re able to snap a picture of yourself doing the famous pose from Titanic while the Titanic memorial is in view off the starboard side of the vessel.

Red curry with blue crab

3. Arrive at The Wharf and dine at one of the newest restaurants to open its doors, Kaliwa. The menu features three cuisines: Filipino, Thai, and Korean. They also serve drinks that you might find on a legit sunset cruise somewhere far away where the water is much bluer. A frozen Mai Tai or the “Nine Dragons” cocktail made with Mekhong Thai spirit, coconut, and ginger will do. Pair your drink with an order of fiery red curry with generous morsels of blue crab meat. 

View from Whiskey Charlie

4. Make your way over to what may be The Wharf’s best kept secret—Whiskey Charlie. This rooftop bar atop the Canopy hotel has views of the Potomac, Hains Point, quirky house boats, floating gardens, and memorials. Cocktails include the “Port of Call” with pineapple rum, demerara, and angostura bitters; “Mermaid Margarita” with tequila, grapefruit, Averna, and agave; and the “Old Scalawag” with whiskey, Grand Marnier, pimento bitters, and orange bitters. The rooftop opens at 3 p.m.

5. Board the water taxi at The Wharf bound for Georgetown at 4:45 p.m. It arrives at 5:15 p.m. 

6. Finish an epic day of dining and drinking with dessert from a local shop. Pie SistersBaked & Wired, District Doughnut, and Olivia Macaron are tempting options for a sweet finish.