MGM National Harbor is a popular destination within itself. In Oxon Hill, Maryland, you may have read about MGM National Harbor and figured it was the only reason worth visiting the area, given Oxon Hill’s small size.
But worry not. You don’t have to head over to nearby Washington DC to complete your ultimate vacation destination when you are looking for hot destinations outside of MGM National Harbor.
Not that Washington DC wouldn’t be a thrill to visit and to spend the ultimate vacation. But if you’re like me and prefer the suburbs and seclusion to the hustle and bustle that is the big city, you’re in luck.
And if you love harness horse racing, this is the perfect guide to read. Since there is a historic track in the area, let’s start our journey encompassing six of the hottest destinations besides Maryland casinos.
Alright, so you’re getting a lot of slots and table action over at MGM National Harbor. In fact, you could just stay at the casino for weeks given the options you will find there. But if you’re up for live harness horse racing, Rosecroft Raceway is where the action is happening. Serving the area since 1949, the track closed down in 2010 and its days were considered over.
But the familiar Penn National Gaming stepped in and said, “Not so fast,” buying the track for $10.25 million in 2011. However, Penn National failed to turn the racetrack into a racino, as so many gambling referendums around the nation at the time allowed slots and even tables to encroach the track.
As a result, and ironically because of the opening of MGM National Harbor, Penn National sold the track to the Stronach Group, who continues to own and operate the location.
So, while you won’t find your slots or your tables here, it’s why you went to MGM National Harbor, right? But you won’t find harness racing there. So, if you’re up for betting on and attending the races, Rosecroft Raceway is where all the action is happening.
However, Rosecroft Raceway is also the home to several non-racing activities. At the site, you will also find the Old School Boxing Gym. Given the fact a boxing gym is on the premises, the raceway has also hosted amateur boxing events.
Whether you’re into harness racing or something fresh, you may just discover what you’re looking for at Rosecroft Raceway. While it’s not a racino, it still qualifies as a live, multi-purpose event center. So, take a break from the slots and tables and head over to see what’s happening.
Gaylord National Convention Center
This convention center is owned and operated by Gaylord Hotels, and if you are in the area for anything, chances are this is the venue that will play host to a work conference or something similar.
Featuring 2,000 hotel rooms and 95 conference rooms, you’re looking at the largest non-gaming hotel on the east coast. And even if you don’t have a big meeting or work conference coming up, you may find some boisterous entertainment at the location.
Besides its luxurious guest rooms, you will also discover a 19-story glass atrium that features breathtaking views of the Potomac River, seven restaurants, and a 20,000-square-foot spa.
You can’t beat the features that this convention center holds. Combine it with what you will find at MGM National Harbor, and you have one heck of a vacation from these two areas alone.
The Gaylord National Convention Center is perhaps the gem of a larger, overall attraction called National Harbor, which we will discuss in greater detail in Section 5.
Oxon Cove Park and Oxon Hill Farm
If you brought the family and kids along with you, the Oxon Cove Park and Oxon Hill Farm are the perfect destinations in one location. Technically, a national historic district, the park and farm operate as a living farm museum.
The park is a must-visit if you would like to increase your understanding of environmental studies, fishing and other outdoor-related activity, or if you just find observing wildlife in its natural habitat appeasing.
The location comprises 14 buildings that include the Mount Welby home, Farm Museum, barns, a stable, feed and livestock building, and a visitor activity barn.
The farm museum is the perfect place to visit at the location if you have an interest in historic artifacts, since it owns a vast collection of farm-related tools and objects that date back to the 19th century.
If you want to find one location fit for the entire family, or if you just need a place in the area to catch a break and explore, Oxon Cove Park and Oxon Hill Farm are the place to be.
Henson Creek Paved Hiker-Biker Trail
Looking for a scenic workout before, in between, or after a solid day of gaming at MGM National Harbor? The Henson Creek Paved Hiker-Biker Trail is the place to be. Extending just 5.5 miles, you won’t get lost if you’re into hiking, biking, or even running.
And given its proximity to civilization, you’re not too secluded. However, you will catch stunning views featuring Maryland’s woodlands, including Henson Creek, a tributary to the Potomac River.
The trail is near the Tucker Road Ice Skating Rink at the Tucker Road Athletic Complex, just across the road from the Tucker Road Community Center. So, if you like hiking or biking to be just a part of your overall workout routine, why not see what’s going on inside the community center or skating rink to complete your workout?
Whether you love to get moving before heading into the casino, during lunchtime to renew and refuel the mind, or if you use exercise to wind down, the Henson Hiker Creek Hiker-Biker Trail is the primary of a few recreational locations that will give you the workout and stress relief you’re looking for.
But hey, the scenery alone should be something to renew the mind, body, and spirit before you head into or back into MGM National Harbor.
MGM National Harbor is just one of several major attractions at the 7,300,000-square-foot development in the area.
If you’d like to take complete advantage of your casino vacation, then it’s time to explore National Harbor for all it’s worth.
And if you’re looking for scenic views of the Potomac, head over to one of the largest marinas on the river and immerse yourself in natural beauty.
As you can see, National Harbor offers more than just the casino and resort; you’re looking at a location sure to complete anyone’s ultimate vacation destination. And if you stay in the area for a week, chances are you still probably haven’t gotten to every attraction within this attraction. It just goes to show the sheer size of National Harbor.
Listed earlier in the guide was the Gaylord National National Resort and Convention center. So, if you already ventured over to the convention center, you are in the right location.
Henson Creek Golf Course
The Henson Creek Golf Course continues to reign among the MGM National Harbor’s more prominent attractions. While this isn’t a full course, comprised of just nine holes, it’s the perfect place for a quick game of golf.
So, if you aren’t a fan of spending hours upon hours at the golf course, Henson Creek offers a fantastic alternative. It also gives you a pristine opportunity to discover everything Oxon Hill, Maryland, offers from a scenic standpoint.
A trip to Henson Creek Golf Course is the perfect way to take an hour off from the casino. Or you can spend the morning or evening hours here before or once you finish gaming for the day and exploring the area.
Whether you’re an avid golfer or just a novice, Henderson Creek Golf Course is a place to play just a fun round of golf on a front nine. Take a break from the casino games, immerse yourself in Maryland’s natural beauty, then return to MGM National Harbor for more gaming.
While Oxon Hill itself is nothing more than an unincorporated community with about 17,000 residents, it’s not your typical small town.
There’s a good number of attractions both at the MGM National Harbor and in its surrounding areas, such as the Potomac River, Gaylord National Convention Center, and National Harbor itself.
So, if you’re looking to transform your stay at the casino into the ultimate vacation, you have found your next destination.
Have you been to MGM National Harbor? And if so, did you explore the surrounding areas? Let us know in the comments.