The 4 Best Places to Fly a Drone Near Washington, D.C. (2023)

A list of the best places to fly your drone near Washington, D.C.

In this article, we’ve scouted out the best places to fly a drone near Washington, D.C.

The airspace around Washington, D.C. is more restricted than any other part of the country.

The National Capital Region is governed by a Special Flight Rules Area (SFRA) within a 30-mile radius of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, which restricts all flights in the greater DC area. 

If you live in (or are traveling to) Washington, D.C., please use this page as a resource to better understand not just where to fly, but also where it’s legal and illegal to fly a drone. We provide guidance on regulations to help you stay compliant with both federal and local rules.

fly drone washington dc

A Sectional Chart of the airspace surrounding Washington, D.C. Source: VFR Map

Washington, D.C. Drone Laws — Recreational vs. Commercial

The first thing to understand about flying a drone in Washington, D.C. (or any city for that matter) is that under federal FAA regulations, you are either operating recreationally or commercially.

Drone operators are no longer required to independently contact air traffic control when flying within five miles of an airport. Instead, both recreational and commercial flyers can use the automated LAANC system to request airspace authorization to fly in controlled airspace around and above many airports. If you’re operating in Class B, C, D, or E controlled airspace, you’ll need to request airspace authorization. You may do this through LAANC or through FAADroneZone in areas where LAANC is not available.

When we list locations below, we’ll share whether they sit in controlled or uncontrolled airspace.

Get up-to-date airspace information, including temporary flight restrictions, using free apps like Aloft , Autopylot , or B4UFLY .

Interested in becoming an FAA-certified drone pilot so you can operate under the Part 107 regulations and make money flying your drone? Check out our industry-leading, online training course over at Drone Pilot Ground School.

So those are the federal rules.

But what about local Washington, D.C. drone laws?

Here’s a guide we put together for drone laws in Washington D.C.. Make sure to consult that to see if there are any local drone ordinances you should follow in Washington, D.C. When in doubt, use good judgment and follow the FAA’s guidelines.

Also, it’s important to note that Washington D.C. has been designated by the FAA as a No Drone Zone. The National Capital Region is governed by a Special Flight Rules Area (SFRA) within a 30-mile radius of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, which restricts all flights in the greater DC area. For more information on the DC No Drone Zone, visit this page on the FAA’s website.

Note: The content on this page is meant for informational purposes only and is not meant to take the place of legal counsel. If we missed something, or if you have further questions, please send an email to support[at]uavcoach[dot]com, and we’ll do our best to help you out.

Where to Fly a Drone Near Washington, D.C.

Alrighty—without further ado, here are our top picks for the best places to fly a drone in the Washington, D.C. area. We selected these locations based on airspace restrictions, accessibility, and attractions. You’ll find that most of the locations we’ve chosen are located in uncontrolled, Class G airspace where you don’t need to request permission to fly. Additionally, we made sure to highlight any locations with designated sUAS/remote aircraft fields.

1 — Fountainhead Regional Park

10875 Hampton Rd, Fairfax Station, VA 22039

Fountainhead Regional Park borders the tributary of the Potomac River, and it consists of 2,000 acres. The park has various rolling hills, thick forests, and the Occoquan Reservoir that flows through the property. Four equestrian trails, a mountain bike trail, a mini-golf course, and a fishing pond are also within the park. Drone pilots will appreciate the vast amounts of water, open space, and dense tree cover.

fly drone fountainhead regional park

Source: Boris Burnayev

2 — Sandy Point State Park

1100 E College Pkwy, Annapolis, MD 21409

Sandy Point State Park is located on the western end of Chesapeake Bay. The property is home to the Sandy Point Farmhouse and the Sandy Point Shoal Lighthouse. The beach sits on Chesapeake Bay, and the entire park is 786 acres. Views of the bay and the bridge provide the perfect scenery for a drone shoot.

fly drone sand point state park

Source: Mr.TinDC

3 — Liberty Reservoir

5685 Oakland Rd, Eldersburg, MD 21784

Liberty Reservoir is located west of Baltimore, Maryland and has a surface area of 3,100 acres. The reservoir was originally a town known as Oakland Mill. The area was destroyed in 1947 to make way for the creation of the reservoir. Patapsco River is the primary source that feeds water into the area. Expansive views of the water, dense tree cover, and wildlife make for stunning drone footage.

fly drone liberty reservoir

Source: Matthew Binebrink

4 — Greenwell State Park

25420 Rosedale Manor Ln, Hollywood, MD 20636

Greenwell State Park sits on the Patuxent River and is located in Hollywood, Maryland. With a sprawling 596-acres, this location provides an abundance of open space for drones. There is also a pier extends out into the river and provides easy access for various recreational activities. The scenic views of the river, pier, and surrounding farm fields create a pleasant setting for any drone operation.

fly drone washington D.C. greenwell state park

Source: activerain

Take a Drone Flight Training Class Near Washington, D.C.

If you’re new to drones or looking to take your flight skills to the next level, we offer hands-on drone flight training near the Washinton, D.C. area. Our classes start at 2-hours long, and our expert instructors walk you through what to do before, during and after your flight—you’ll practice intelligent flight modes and learn how to stay safe but also how to get the shots or data you need. During the class, you’ll also get a chance to ask questions about regulations, software, flight operations management, checklists and more.

Sign up for a hands-on drone flight training class near Washington, D.C. in Maryland.