Can you go to Washington D.C. while Plebe Parents Weekend?


Class of 2023 here. As stated in my title, i am interested in knowing whether my family and I can go to D.C. during one the days of Plebe Parents Weekend. I heard that there was some type of restriction for how far you can leave the academy grounds during that weekend, and I just wanted to clarify it as my family wanted to go to D.C. with me one day when I am at the academy.


You have a 35 miles radius from the chapel dome which includes most of DC. However, last year they didn’t allow Plebes to go to the national mall due to white nationalist protests going on.


While you are allowed to go to DC, make sure you actually want to when the time comes. Plebes want to do different things during PPW, from sleep to swim to play video games to visit the mall to eat home-cooked food to gorge on Chick-Fil-A. Some, but not all, want to visit DC or Baltimore after six weeks of plebe summer.

DC in the summer can be a chore. Expect up to one hour in the car, depending on where in DC you’re headed; a lot of tourist traffic; and lack of parking spaces. In other words, plan ahead and allow a lot of time.

All that said, it’s a lot of fun to hang out in DC during PPW. For us, one afternoon and evening was enough to have lunch on Capitol Hill, attend mass at Catholic U, buy a watch at the Apple store in Georgetown, and have a sushi dinner in DuPont Circle. But we had a plan and know our way around.


Timely post.

My wife is from DC and we still have her mother's house (wife's growing up house) from when her mother passed away last year. Three of our four sons and my wife wanted to go to DC for Memorial Day weekend as sort of our last "all hands" family trip before I day. Guess which one didn't want to go? He wants to hang around home and not miss his last varsity baseball game of the year. I put the kibosh on the trip (at some marital expense, but I was willing to "take the hit").

But, last night... DW now wants to go to the National Mall /Smithsonian with everyone one day during PPW (all of the boys are coming and we are renting a house in DTA). I said to wait, be flexible, and see what DS wants to do when the time comes. He may just want to veg with his brothers and the Nintendo Switch in an air-conditioned house and eat home cooking. Or, he may really want to go to DC and hit the Air and Space Museum (he is very knowledgeable about the history of flight and last time there, people thought he was a docent). Point is, we have NO IDEA what his physical and mental state of mind is going to be at PPW and I hope DW will come around. And won't he have to plebe his cover the whole time he is in a museum?


I said to wait, be flexible, and see what DS wants to do when the time comes.
^Agree with this as the best course of action. Based on our experience I would say it's best to not plan too much and follow the lead of your Plebe. You can always decide to go when the time comes if DS is up to it, and there are 4 years of opportunity to go to DC if he is not up for it. YMMV, but as a Plebe our DD did not want to put on a uniform most of the time to go out for meals. That meant lots of trips for Dad to get takeout and bring it back to the hotel, which was fine with me. In later years we enjoyed trying more DTA restaurants a few trips away to DC and other places. Can't believe she is graduating next week!


And won't he have to plebe his cover the whole time he is in a museum?
This! By PPW, plebes are desperate for the opportunity to not be “on.” Going out in public requires them to be “on,” e.g. plebing their cover. (Not to mention squaring their corners, which will happen without even trying.). Going “faraway” like DC is no respite because there’ll be cadre there too. And trust me, plebes are very wary of running into cadre. So let your plebe lead the way. It may be called Parents Weekend, but for their sake, make it the plebe’s weekend.


Dc in a newly minted/uniformed plebe may be somewhat overwhelming. Depends on you Mid. We went with DS, and it was an experience!! People want pics with the Mid. Kids want to talk to them. Adults too. Stares. Pointing. Whispers. ATTENTION. Which they have had intense ATTENTION on them for 6 weeks. Mentally they may not be ready/open to all that. Think “pAparazzi” is how I can best describe it. It’s for sure not an anonymous, low key experience.

But maybe that’s your plebes thing.....

Capt MJ

10-Year Member
It’s also guaranteed to trash a white uniform on an August day in sweltering DC. Summer whites are made of 100% polyester Certified Navy Twill. Also 100% non-breathable.

There will be 4 years of opportunities to visit DC and surrounds.

Be flexible and if the Plebe wants nothing more than to relax in reg PT gear with social media on a laptop with take-out of choice, not having to be “on” every moment, let that guide the schedule.

Yes, it’s Plebe Parents Weekend, but Plebe’s Choice should be a major factor, which could shift significantly from now to near the end of an exhausting summer. You’ll have phone calls and be able to adjust as needed to any changes.
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