Planning a Nats vacation for the summer

Planning vacations or weekend getaways to correspond with Nationals road trips are a time-honored summer institution.

I caught up with diehard Nats fan at my favorite bagel place this week, and he mentioned his plan to head to the Windy City this summer to see the Nationals face off with the world champion Cubs from Aug. 4-6. It's a weekend series with the final game time on Sunday still to be announced, which sounds like it could be flexed into a "Sunday Night Baseball" national telecast on ESPN.

(If you have a similar idea, single game tickets for the Cubs and Nats in Chicago go on sale through the Cubs website).

Even though I travel to cover the club as my job, it is still fun to plan vacations in this way. I do it all the time for NFL games.

Baker-Coaches-Blue-Lined-Up-Sidebar.jpgOne I had my sights on is the long pacific trip the Nats take May 29 through June 7 as they take on the Giants, A's and Dodgers in California. The beginning of the trip is an easy one, setting up a base camp in the San Francisco Bay Area because the Nats play six games there from May 29 to June 4.

Currently, one-way non-stop flights are a good price, with May 28 and May 29 departures ranging from $257 to $275.

And if you are going to continue onto Los Angeles, there are two interesting options. Obviously, the nonstop flight, which is economical right now at $69. The other idea I had if you wanted to spend a day seeing the sights and miss just one game in the road trip is Amtrak's Coast Starlight. It is a long trip (12 hours), but a reserved coach seat is only $51, while a Superliner roomette is currently only $171.

The train departs Oakland at 8:50 a.m. and arrives Los Angeles at 9 p.m.

So you could either skip Sunday's game in Oakland or Monday's game in Los Angeles and be able to enjoy the breathtaking views along the Pacific Coast before arriving L.A.

Other obvious getaway destinations in the first three months of the season are weekend series against the Braves (May 19-21), Mets (April 21-23, June 15-18) and Cardinals (June 30-July 2).

What Nationals road trips are you taking? Which ones have been memorable in the past?

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