7 Ways to Get from Rockville, MD to Washington, D.C.

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It takes just 30 minutes to commute the 17.7 miles from Rockville, MD, to Washington, D.C. on a good day. Rockville is one of Maryland’s largest cities as well as a suburban transportation hub, playing host to both daily commuters and those seeking dining, sports and recreational activities in the D.C. metro area.

Certain parts of I-495, better known as the Beltway, and I-270 see rush hour run from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and again from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. If you don’t want to deal with rush hour traffic that can move at a crawl — costing you both time and gas — you have other options! 

Here’s what you need to know about getting from Rockville to D.C. and all the points between.

Your Rockville to D.C. Travel Options

Some people don’t mind driving to D.C., regardless of the traffic or time. They may need to have their vehicles during the day to make sales calls, drop kids off at school, or run other errands, and thus might be used to the downsides that come with a driving commute. Others may not have their own cars, or many simply prefer to use alternatives like the Metrorail, Uber, Amtrak, carpool, or bicycle. 

The good news for all travelers is that Washington D.C. has the second-greatest number of public transit commuters in the nation after New York City. Here are some of your options for how to get from Rockville to D.C.

1. Driving routes

Interstate 270 is the main commuting route to the Beltway from Montgomery County’s central corridor. This eight-lane highway carries heavy commuter traffic, and high-occupancy vehicle lanes are available for those who carpool or vanpool during peak hours.

  • If you don’t hit rush hour from Rockville to D.C., the general commute time is 30 min for the nearly 18-mile drive via Massachusetts Ave NW. 
  • If you take the George Washington Memorial Parkway, the 22.3-mile trip will still take you about half an hour sans traffic. 

Add a few extra minutes if you are traveling the 17.8-mile journey on the Clara Barton Parkway.

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2. Metrorail

The Shady Grove Metro Station is adjacent to the Westside at Shady Grove Metro townhome community. Hop on the southbound Red Line for the 40-minute ride to D.C. You can purchase a monthly fare pass for unlimited “peak” Metrorail trips from Shady Grove to downtown D.C. The passes are called SmarTrip® cards, and you must purchase one to ride Metrorail.

3. ZipCar

Check out ZipCar if you usually commute by train, bus, or taxi and then find that you need to drive around D.C. You have the choice of an economy, SUV or luxury vehicle, which you can rent by the hour, by the morning or afternoon, day or weekend up to 500 miles. The first 180 miles are included in the rental, making it perfect for short distances or a round-trip commute to D.C. from Rockville.

4. Amtrak

The Amtrak Capitol Limited is indeed limited. It runs once daily and takes 49 minutes from Rockville to D.C. Ticket costs are currently under $10 for the trip. Monday is traditionally the busiest day of the week with Saturday being the least crowded. If you take Amtrak into D.C., you can get back to Rockville by train from Union Station. The train trip operates three times daily, takes a little over half an hour, and the tickets run less than $10.

5. Uber 

The fare varies with traffic if you Uber from Rockville to Washington D.C. or D.C. to Rockville. You will pay around $53 for a one-way fare, but keep in mind that Washington D.C. rates are more expensive — around $60 including a 15 percent tip — plus cancellation fees and tolls.

Man taking an Uber from Rockeville to DC

6. Ride sharing

Carpools and vanpools not only take the stress off driving, but are also environmentally friendly means of travel. There are more than 730,000 registered users ride-sharing from Rockville, Md. to D.C. taking an estimated 5.4 million cars off the road saving over 3 billion gallons of gas!

7. Biking

If you choose to bike to work in D.C., Rock Creek Trail forms a sometimes narrow, winding path through Rock Creek Regional Park. The 14-mile trail begins around Needwood Lake, northeast of Rockville, MD. and the Washington, D.C. border. There have been plans to widen the Beltway’s bike and pedestrian connectivity, but an authorization or rejection is currently on hold.

Which Commute is Right for You?

Consider how much time you have to travel, your comfort level while traveling, and cost when deciding on the commute that will best suit your needs. The choice comes down to logistics as well as your quality of life. 

This process should include —  but not be limited to — questions such as:

  • Where do you live in respect to commuter transportation?
  • Do you own a vehicle? 
  • Do you mind rush hour traffic?
  • Does public transportation make more sense than vehicle upkeep and expenses like gas and parts?
  • Do you need to be able to take calls and work during the commute time?
  • Does your work timetable fall within the range of alternate transportation? 
  • If you must work late in D.C. how will you get back home to Rockville?
  • Have you discussed commuting options with your family?

Talk to coworkers and friends about commuting options versus driving to metro D.C. for insight. Your situation is unique, and public transportation isn’t always the least-stressful option just because you’re riding instead of the one behind the wheel. Sometimes knowing that you have a vehicle in case of an emergency provides crucial peace of mind.

Rockville’s Many Travel Options

No matter which route you choose from Rockville to Washington, D.C., it’s less than 20 miles to commute whether you drive or take alternative transportation. Make the logistics work in your favor by taking time to explore options, especially if you are a first-time homeowner in the area.

While you’re checking out your favorite routes to D.C. make a few stops along the way. There’s many museums and parks for the entire family to enjoy as well as sports bars nearby that can take the edge off a busy day. Contact Nomadic Real Estate today to speak with an expert about any questions you might have about moving to or living in the Rockville, MD, area.

Alternatively, if you are looking for a place to rent, check out our DC rentals.

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