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Visitation Tips

Presidents Passport

Explore Virginia's top presidential sites --Mount Vernon, Monticello, and Montpelier-- and save when you sign up for the "Presidents Passport" program.

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Touring Time

We recommend that you plan to spend a minimum of 2-3 hours touring the estate. There is a lot to see and do, and you can easily spend a whole day if you want to experience everything that is offered.

A time to enter the Mansion line is printed on your online ticket or the admission ticket purchased upon your arrival at Mount Vernon. Times are distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis. During periods of busy visitation in the spring, summer, holidays and special event weekends, you might receive a Mansion line entry time up to two hours from your arrival time. However, this time period allows you to see other parts of the estate, instead of standing in line. Once you enter the Mansion line, our goal is that you should only have to wait for 15 minutes or less.

Learn more about what you can see at Mount Vernon

Planning Your Visit – Today at Mount Vernon & Visitor Maps

Upon arrival at the estate, please be sure to collect a visitor map and a copy of Today at Mount Vernon. We offer visitor maps, which will assist you with wayfinding, in twelve different languages in the Ford Orientation Center. Today at Mount Vernon is a custom listing of all the special programming, tours, etc. taking place on the estate, specific to each day.

View an interactive Estate map.
Download a printable PDF map of the Estate.

Peak Visitation Periods

Our busiest visitation period is from March 15 - May 31, when we have large numbers of students visiting Mount Vernon as part of their annual school trip to Washington. Our heavy student visitation occurs on both weekdays and weekends. Many of the school buses arrive at our opening time and leave the estate by 10:30 - 11:00, so the estate is usually not as crowded in the afternoon. Typically, Mondays are our least crowded day of the week, although they are still very busy during the spring season.

If you have flexibility in your schedule, consider visiting outside of our peak periods. Months with our lowest attendance are typically January, February, December, July and August, although there are some heavier visitation days within those months, as described below.

In addition to the student visitation period described above, the following days are typically VERY busy – George Washington’s Birthday Weekend and the Federally observed holiday on Monday (Free Day, our busiest day of the year), the week preceding and including Easter Sunday (usually school spring break),Memorial Day weekend, July 4, Labor Day weekend, Colonial Market & Fair weekend in mid September, Fall Harvest Family Days weekend in late October, Thanksgiving weekend, and the week between Christmas and New Year's.

If you plan to attend on these days, you should COME EARLY in the day to complete your Mansion tour before the larger crowds arrive. For all of these days except for Presidents' Day Free Day, make sure that you buy your admission tickets online, AND print them out to lessen the likelihood of waits in purchasing your admission tickets.

What to Wear & Bring

We recommend walking shoes and comfortable clothing. Please keep in mind that Mount Vernon is very much an outdoor experience so prepare accordingly for various weather conditions. Virginia can be hot and humid in the summer so bottled water is encouraged! We allow bottled water on the grounds, but please leave other beverages and food outside the gates. Large bags, backpack, etc. are strongly discouraged.

Accessibility Information

Mount Vernon warmly welcomes guests with special needs. Learn more about how guests with limited mobility or other special needs can fully enjoy the Mount Vernon Experience.

Learn More about Accessibility at Mount Vernon

Photography

Don't forget your camera - photography is permitted and encouraged in all areas except for the Mansion, Museum, and the gallery featuring the General's dentures in the Education Center. Professional or group photography must be approved in advance.

For more information, please see our Group Photography Policy (PDF)

Group Wreath Layings

We welcome visiting groups to pay their respect to General Washington at his Tomb by arranging a special wreath-laying ceremony during normal public visitation hours. These ceremonies must be scheduled in advance of your visit.

For more information, please see our Group Wreath Laying Policy (PDF)

Wearing Costumes

To ensure a consistent and high-quality guest experience, we ask all visitors who wish to wear costumes/period-inspired attire on Mount Vernon property to abide by the following rules:

  1. Guests may not portray or resemble George Washington, Martha Washington, or other important/recognizable historical figures;
  2. Guests may not, in any form, interpret or perform for other Mount Vernon guests (outside of their party);
  3. Guests may not act, or appear to act, as a representative of Mount Vernon. Mount Vernon reserves the right to refuse access to adult guests in costume if deemed inappropriate or distracting, as determined by Mount Vernon personnel.
  4. For more information, please contact Mount Vernon’s Interpretation & Events Division at 703.780.2000.

    Visiting With Dogs

    General Washington loved dogs, and so do we. Mount Vernon invites guests to enjoy this landmark property along with their pet(s). For the comfort of all our guests, and to preserve the home and final resting place of Washington, we ask pet owners to adhere to our Dog Visitation Policy (PDF). Doggie water bowls are located at the entrance to the estate and at the entrance to the Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center.

    Learn about canine life at Mount Vernon, from the first president’s dogs to the dogs that live at Mount Vernon today, on the All the President's Pups walking tour

    Military Ceremonies

    Mount Vernon is often sought after as the preferred site for special military ceremonies, including re-enlistments, promotions, and retirements. While Mount Vernon’s mission is to preserve Washington’s iconic home and share his unparalleled legacy with the world, we will, whenever possible, allow men and women of the United States Armed Forces the special opportunity to hold brief military ceremonies on the estate.

    To maintain the integrity of Mount Vernon and to allow equal opportunity without disrupting the experience of Mount Vernon’s one million annual visitors, we ask our Military Ceremonies Policy be closely adhered to.

    Learn More about Military Ceremonies at Mount Vernon (PDF)

    Musical Performances

    On special occasion, Mount Vernon allows visiting musical groups and/or schools to perform briefly on the estate during their visit. This special opportunity must be approved in advance by the Office of Special Events.

    For more information, please see our Musical Performance Policy (PDF)

    Seeing the Mansion's Third Floor

    After her husband's death in 1799, Martha Washington closed the bedroom they shared and moved to the Mansion's third floor. This area of the Mansion is open during the program "Christmas at Mount Vernon", which is offered the day after Thanksgiving through January 6.

    Take a room-by-room exploration of the Mansion, incluing the third floor

    Flag Raising at the Main Entrance

    Each morning when Mount Vernon opens to the public, the American flag is raised above the Main Gate. We welcome groups to do the honors as a fitting start to their exploration of this special place. This special opportunity must be scheduled in advance of your arrival by contacting groups@mountvernon.org

    Visiting Washington's Distillery & Gristmill

    Don't forget to set aside the time to visit George Washington’s Distillery & Gristmill. Located at the original site, George Washington's Gristmill highlights his visions for America's future as "granary to the world;" while his distillery is the only site in North America that demonstrates 18th-century distilling from seed to barrel.

    Located on Route 235, three miles south of Mount Vernon Estate. Visitors are advised that they must plan their own transportation to the Distillery & Gristmill (5514 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Alexandria, VA 22309.)

    Entrance to the site is included in admission to George Washington's Mount Vernon. Admission to the Distillery & Gristmill is also sold separately for $5 for adults, $2 for youth ages 6-11, and free for children 5 and under.

    Open from April 1 thru October 31 - Hours: 10:00am to 5:00pm.

    Learn more about George Washington's Distillery

    Learn more about the Gristmill

    The View

    You will want to save a few minutes in your day to sit on the Washingtons' "back porch", also known as the piazza. A long row of Windsor chairs await you, and the view of the Potomac is unparalleled. Even if it has been years since a visitor has been to Mount Vernon, they always remember the stunning view!

    Dining & Shopping

    The Food Court is a good choice for people on the go, while the Mount Vernon Inn is an excellent seated lunch and dinner experience. The Inn does not accept lunch reservations so please plan accordingly. To make the most of your time, we suggest getting on the wait list - if there is one - before you browse through the shops that are just steps from the Inn. You should then feel free to look for your souvenirs as the host will call your name while you're perusing the "west" shop.

    Picnics and outside food and beverages, except for water, are not allowed on the estate. Food and drink purchased at the Pavilion must be consumed before you enter the grounds.

    Learn More: Where to Eat