The Dulles airport is located about 22 miles west of Reagan-National in Virginia’s far western suburbs of Washington D.C. and is the main international airport for the Washington area. There are two viewing areas worth visiting.
One spot is the roof level of the “Garage 2” parking. This is located adjacent to the cargo ramp on the north side of the airport and gives an excellent view of activity on runway 1C/19C. Photography is best here in the early morning otherwise photos may be backlit. You may also get a nice view of the iconic Dulles main terminal building here.
The other spot is located in the parking lot of the National Air & Space Museum which is on the south side of the Dulles airport off of Sully Rd. The museum itself is an excellent attraction to visit and I very highly recommend it. Admission is free; however, you have to pay $15 per vehicle to enter the parking area. Parking is free after 4:00pm and for people who are dropping off & picking up visitors (the museum is only open until 5:30pm). The museum has a “control tower” which gives you a wide view from 7 floors up, but photography is difficult because the windows are slanted and tinted. From the ground level parking lot you’ll get an excellent view of traffic approaching runway 1R. This is the runway used by most of the heavy jet international traffic, most of which arrive in the afternoon. Photography from afternoon to evening is excellent with the sun at your back.
In addition to Dulles being a hub for United Airlines there is a large variety of traffic here including international airlines from Europe, Asia, and as far away as the middle east. Every major airline in the U.S. is represented here. Combined with a visit to the museum, this is a must-visit spot for aviation enthusiasts.