Getting to DC from DCA Reagan National Airport

This post compares the different ways of reaching downtown Washington, DC from (DCA) – Reagan National Airport. We have ordered the options from cheapest to most expensive with some analysis of each option to help you choose which one is best for you. 

DC METRO RAIL TO AND FROM DCA 

The biggest advantages of flying into DCA (Reagan National Airport) are that is centrally located and on the Metro system. Terminals B/C are directly connected to the Metro station, from Terminal A it is a short walk through the connecting hallway.

The Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport is on the Blue and Yellow lines. You can take either line into downtown DC but if you’re headed downtown, the yellow line is usually faster.

We have a guide to mastering the Washington DC subway system (the Metro), which includes tips on how to purchase a Metro Pass.

 

 

 

From Reagan National Airport station, it is only four stops on the Yellow Line to get to L’Enfant Plaza. It is 12 stops to get to the same station on the Blue Line.

Tip: If your aim is to get to a station on the Blue line that is past L’Enfant Plaza (such as Eastern Market or Stadium Armoury) it is faster to take a Yellow Line train from the airport to L’Enfant Plaza and then change to a Blue/Orange/Silver line.

However, if you’re not in a rush and you have a lot of luggage, especially during rush hour – just get a blue line train. It will be a long journey but you won’t be trying to get on a crowded train with a bunch of luggage – you’ll already have a seat when the train pulls up to L’Enfant Plaza.

Pros: Low cost and isn’t affected by traffic, particularly during rush hour. Depending on when and where you travel, you should only spend somewhere between $1.85 and $3.60 per person.

Cons: Not a great option if you have lots of luggage, but the subway cars are large and there are elevators at each station.

We have a guide to mastering the Washington DC subway system (the Metro), which includes tips on how to purchase subway fare. 

 


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SHUTTLE SERVICE TO AND FROM DCA (Reagan National Airport)

There are a number of companies offering van service from Reagan National Airport to points in and around Washington, DC. Most are shared services, so how long your journey will take will be dependent on the order of passenger destinations.  Some offer direct service for an additional fee.

TIP: Some area hotels offer free shuttle service from the airport.


GO Airport Shuttle

GO Airport Shuttle offers 24/7 airport pick up and drop off with private cars and shared vans – you can even get a limousine! With upfront pricing, you’ll know how much your trip will be when you book. You can also request a car seat or a kennel.

Pros: Door to door service.  Good choice for those with luggage or want direct service for a lower cost. Offers car seat or kennel if traveling with children and pets.

Cons: Can take a lot of time depending on traffic and how many others in the van get dropped off before you. 


Super ShuttleSuper Shuttle Washington DC

Super Shuttle offers rides from airports around the world. It’s difficult to say for sure what the fare will be, as it depends on where you are going to and how many people are in your party.  

On their website, fares into the city start at $16 for the first passenger. To get a better idea, you can use their fare estimator. They also offer a direct express service (1-3 people) for $46. This is a private vehicle for you and your family.

Pros: Door to door service.  Good choice for those with luggage or want direct service for a lower cost. They also offer an AAA discount.

Cons: Can take a lot of time depending on traffic and how many others in the van get dropped off before you.

TIP: If you alone, then you might consider Viator, which offers single passenger tickets for Super Shuttle for $17, but additional passengers have no discount unless purchased separately.

 


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TAXI TO AND FROM DCA (Reagan National Airport)

DCA is just across the river from Washington DC and just down the road from major hotel centers such as Crystal City or Pentagon City. For this reason, Taxis and Uber/Lyft is a relatively inexpensive option.

It does depend on which cab you take (both local DC cabs and local Virginia cabs operate from DCA but have different rates), as well as exactly where you’re going. Some taxi companies charge an additional airport fee of around $3. There are also additional fees if baggage is handled by the driver.

Taxis operate out of official taxi stands at baggage claim. During busy times these lines can be excessively long. There are no tricks to skipping the line but if you’re traveling with someone else, send them out to get in line while you wait for your bags.

Pros: Fastest and most convenient.

Cons: One of the most expensive options (if you are traveling solo). Lines can be excessively long.

TIP: If you are traveling solo, ask other waiting taxi passengers to share a cab.

Looking for a ride? Download the Lyft App and use Promo Code DCBFRIDES for $5 OFF your first ride with Lyft.


UBER/Lyft

Uber & Lyft are a taxi alternative which provides rides on demand through an app. It’s cashless so the ride is automatically charged to the card on file in the app, which is convenient especially when you’re trying to wrangle luggage. There are many options within the app, uberX is the basic option, but they also have uberXL if your group is large or you have many bags, and uberBLACK which has high-end luxury sedans.

Generally, Uber/Lyft works out cheaper than a taxi, uberX into the city is estimated to be between $15-$25 (you can check an estimate for your specific trip here). For more information on Uber, you can see our post here.

Pros: Convenient app, different options to suit you

Cons: Not a good option at rush hour. UberX/Lyft Line means some drivers are not as familiar with the city as taxi cabs.

Looking for a ride? Download the Lyft App and use Promo Code DCBFRIDES for $5 OFF your first ride with Lyft.

CAR SERVICE TO AND FROM DCA (Reagan National Airport)

If you are looking for peace of mind that you will be picked up from the airport on time, and taken to your destination in a timely manner, DCAcar car service is an excellent choice. You can make the reservation ahead of time, and give the company your flight information so they know whether you’ll be early or late. At DCA your driver will meet you at baggage claim, and help you with your luggage. You can get a rate estimation and make a booking with this highly rated car service company here.

Pros: Luxury personalized service

Cons: Costly – but DCByFoot guests get a 5% discount by using the promo code: dcbyfoot.

 


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RENTAL CARS

Most of the major car rental companies operate out of DCA Airport. This is a great option if you are traveling with children in car seats, which can make using taxis or public transport challenges.

It also gives you the freedom to visit many sites around DC which are a little more difficult to reach by public transport, such as George Washington’s Mount Vernon (see our guide to Mount Vernon here), or even a day trip to Gettysburg.

You can use  rentalcars.com to compare prices, the link defaults to Dulles Airport but they do operate out of DCA as well.

Pros: Gives you freedom for your trip, great if you have young children or are staying outside of the Metro area.

Cons: Navigation and parking can be difficult and expensive in downtown DC.

 


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