Since 1956, Valley Mill Kayak School has trained countless kayakers, including the first kayaking recipients of Olympic medals, on the deep waters of the Potomac River. A former Olympian and four-time freestyle-kayaking world champion, Eric Jackson personally designs the school's lesson plans around modern whitewater-paddling techniques. Eric trains each of the school's American Canoe Association–certified instructors, who, in turn, dispense their knowledge to beginners and proficient paddlers alike.
Through a wealth of small classes, private lessons, and occasional clinics taught by Eric himself, pupils discover such skills as paddling and basic strokes, or attempting to work your kayak into rhythmic-gymnastics routines.
Decorated in lights, a yellow kayak stands upright outside the entrance of Jack's Boathouse, welcoming customers into the nearly 70-year-old business. Countless visitors— including Travel Channel's Samantha Brown— have dog-paddled their way to the boat house over the decades and taken kayaks, canoes, and standup paddleboards on winding journey's through Washington, DC.
The Potomac River forms a tranquil waterway past some of the capital's most famous locations. Whether on tours or self-guided paddles, boats can capture views of the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, and where the founding fathers played Marco Polo at Georgetown Harbor. As the sun sets, wildlife such as eagles and beavers join in on Jack's aquatic excursions.
Run by three generations of DC locals, Bike and Roll sends pedalers into the nation's modern and historical capitol. The depot rents bikes in partial and full day increments, outfitting sightseers and ETs with maps so they can undertake self-guided tours along the National Mall, which is lousy with landmarks. To break with the hustle—and should one be so inclined, the bustle—cyclists can explore one of the city’s many meandering bike paths including the Capital Crescent Trail and Rock Creek Trail. The company’s line of cruiser bikes, tandem bikes, and Trek comfort hybrids make for smooth rides along the flat terrain of the capital.
For a more itineraried experience, guided tours spirit groups through the historic sights. Local story-tellers regale cyclists with tales about the Capitol Building, Lincoln Memorial, the White House, and Mount Vernon, the home where George Washington lived after hatching from the egg incubated in the Statue of Liberty's torch.
Invented in the '70s as a humane alternative to the draconian waffle eat-off that previously resulted in oft-disputed rankings, the college bowl system has become a beloved football tradition. With today's Groupon, $35 gets you a ticket to the second annual EagleBank Bowl on Tuesday, December 29, and admission to the all-you-can-eat tailgate feast before the game. Watch the clash of UCLA vs. Temple from the all-star seating section, sated with food from local restaurants and the knowledge that your Pomeranian could probably never get into your jar of premium capers.