Bus rentals for Washington, DC K-12 field trips

Washington, D.C. school field trips are one of the highlights of many children’s education!

A charter bus trip to Washington, D.C., is a trip no student is soon to forget. From Ford’s Theatre and the National Museum of African American History and Culture to the museums of the Smithsonian Institute and the iconic monuments of the National Mall, the opportunities to visit historical locations and experience history firsthand are nearly endless. For those interested in government, make sure to visit the White House, the Supreme Court, or the Capitol Building.

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Which bus is right for me?

When considering a Bus.com charter bus rental for your Washington, D.C., field trip, you’ll have a selection of versatile bus types to choose from. Choosing the right bus type for your group will largely depend on how many passengers you will have, how far you’ll be traveling, and the selection of amenities you’d like to have on board. Here is an overview of the three most commonly selected charter buses for Washington, D.C, field trips. Click here to see a complete overview of our bus options.


Coach bus

Coach buses are our largest bus type and can be fitted with our widest selection of amenities, including AC, AV equipment, WiFi, and power outlets. Coach buses also come standard with an onboard restroom, making the coach bus a comfortable solution for longer trips when you'll be on the road for three hours or more at a time. Most of our coach buses can comfortably fit up to 55 passengers.


School bus

A true classic, the modern school bus sparks nostalgia in adults and excitement in young students. Most configurations of school buses hold between 47 and 52 people. School buses are ideal for shorter trips and are relied on for their reliability and affordability. Just bear in mind that school buses don’t have restrooms or dedicated storage bays like the larger coach buses.



A minibus is very similar to a school bus in its makeup. A minibus features standard bench seats, no extra storage space, and affordable pricing in a slightly smaller package. Minibuses usually can seat around 21 students, and they're a great choice for smaller classes traveling short distances across town.

A word about the benefits of field trips

It’s a challenge to schedule a field trip these days with budget cuts, a greater focus on testing, and a shortage of chaperones representing just some of the barriers educators face. However, field trips are still critically relevant for educators and students.

  • Studies have shown that students who participate in field trips demonstrate better critical thinking skills, higher levels of social tolerance, and greater historical empathy than those who don’t.
  • Field trips provide opportunities for students to engage with the curriculum in a student-directed manner so they can take the reigns along with a pinch of guidance and structure provided by educators.
  • Aside from student-led discovery, downtime on the bus is one of the best benefits of a field trip. Teachers can connect with students and chaperones while students connect with each other.
  •  Some of the best learning occurs within the unstructured free time a bus ride provides.

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Field trip ideas in Washington DC

From scientific-oriented field trips to entire surveys on American history or governance, Washington, D.C., is home to an overwhelming number of attractions to visit. To help you start planning your Washington, D.C., field trip itinerary, we have assembled an overview of several standout destinations below.

Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

Perhaps what’s most important to know about the National Air and Space Museum is that it has two locations! One is in D.C., the other in Virginia. Thankfully, both facilities offer free field trips. The museum offers tours, IMAX movie exhibitions, and specific-topic focused presentations where students can get hands-on experience with things like aerodynamics, telescopes, and other STEM activities. Some popular exhibits include an Apollo lunar module, the 1903 Wright flyer, and the Spirit of St. Louis. The museum does have very specific chaperone requirements based on the ages and numbers of students within your group, so make sure to check in with the museum before your trip.

The Albert Einstein Planetarium

The Albert Einstein Planetarium is part of the National Air and Space Museum. While admission to the museum is free, there are admission fees for film showings. The planetarium has a 77-foot, 8k resolution domed theater screen where students can experience an immersive 360-degree experience of the world and the stars. Individual tickets are $9, but there are discount rates available for field trip group sizes. The planetarium is currently closed for a period of renovation until 2022.

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Located on the National Mall, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History was founded in 1846 and is part of the larger Smithsonian Institute system. Admission to the museum is free, and they are open every day of the year except for Christmas Day. Popular attractions within the museum include the 11-ton African elephant gracing the museum’s rotunda; the Hope Diamond in the Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems, and Minerals; and the Ancient Egypt exhibit on the second floor.

The White House and the President's Park

The White House tour is free of charge, but obtaining tickets can be challenging. If you’re bringing a class, President’s Park, where the White House Visitor Center is located, is a more popular option. The President’s Park is maintained by the National Park Service, and they offer several school programs with durations between 1.5 and 4 hours. These presentations educate classes on past presidents while developing important critical thinking skills. These programs can accommodate up to 60 participants, including teachers and chaperones. There are also online lesson plans available to prepare your students ahead of time.

National Museum of African American History and Culture

The National Museum of African American History and Culture opened in September 2016, nearly 13 years after it was first established (December 2003). The museum, like all Smithsonian museums, is free to visit. However, due to its popularity, tickets must be acquired ahead of time. The museum’s collection exceeds 36,000 artifacts, although only about 10% of the entire collection is on display at any given time. The museum features exhibits that explore African American contributions to American music, the history of slavery, the history of the Civil Rights Movement, and other special rotating exhibits.

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