Theodore Roosevelt Island is a unique area that is a combination of Memorial (statue and water fountains) and nature walks. The island was used by the Indians for seasonal fishing, later as an army training camp, then set aside as a memorial in 1932.
You can get there in a car only from the northbound lane of George Washington Memorial Parkway. The GW Parkway is used for commuter traffic, so it’s a busy road. The parking lot is very small. (I can’t see a bus having the ability to do much in the parking lot.) We went on a beautiful day and had to wait for about 25 minutes for a spot to open up. You park on the Virginia side then cross a bridge to the island.
If you’re using the Metro, the Rossyln stop is about two blocks from a pedestrian crossing of the George Washington Parkway. Metro Map
You can also get there by kayak or canoe. There were about a half dozen that had pulled up along the side of the island. If you’re interested in renting something, Thompson’s Boat Center allows you to rent them for the day (they also rent bikes): Thompson’s Boat Center
You can get there by bike or rollerblades. DC and Arlington is full of bike paths. The path near the island goes all the way down to Mount Vernon. Bike racks are available next to the bridge to the island. The paths on the island are very rocky and not suited for wheels (we did fine with our stroller, though). More details about biking to the island:
Biking Around Theodore Roosevelt Island
Things to Do
There were people fishing on the Virginia side of the river. A handful of families had brought bread to feed ducks. Once you actually cross the bridge to the island, a sign posts information about the island and has maps and other information available. At the memorial area, there were lots of students reading in the shade. Another area had people who had brought food and were picnicking. We went walking on the trails… around the entire island. We were all exhausted by the end. Right as we ran out of water, we found restrooms and water fountains. Because it’s so swampy, I don’t know what the bugs would be like in late summer; a neighbor says it doesn’t have any problems.
We’ve got four kids and this is a nice place for us to visit. The trails were great for them. The trails are all clearly marked and well kept. There are benches occasionally for them to rest on. There were signs to make it ‘educational’ as well as fun. We had an umbrella stroller for the infant and it took the trails great.
Here are some of our photos from our trip in April 2004: Our photos of Theodore Roosevelt Island