With warm temperatures here to stay, we’re all looking for ways to relieve our COVID-19 cabin fever and get out of the house. While certain pandemic restrictions remain in place in Virginia, outdoor activities have been deemed safe by the C.D.C. for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. And lucky for us, there are plenty of things to do outside in Northern Virginia.
From observing cicadas to zip lining through the countryside, celebrate all things spring with these outdoor activities in Northern Virginia.
Things to Do Outside in Northern Virginia
- Check Out the Cicadas: This summer, Northern Virginia will welcome millions of lovesick Brood X cicadas who will find a mate, breed and die—all over the course of two months. According to Visit Fairfax, the greatest concentration of cicadas will be in natural settings like parks and waterfronts, so head outside with your Cicada Safari app to soak up this lovefest, which happens only once every 17 years.
- Hit the Trails: Northern Virginia has a number of parks and trails perfect for walkers, joggers, and cyclists. The Washington & Old Dominion Trail is a 45-mile paved trail along the former roadbed of the W&OD Railroad. The scenic trail weaves through a number of historic towns between Arlington and Purcellville, Virginia. The 18-mile, paved, multi-use Mount Vernon Trail runs along the Potomac River from George Washington’s Mount Vernon through Alexandria to Theodore Roosevelt Island in Arlington. You could also make a day of hiking or horseback riding through the pristine wilderness at Seneca Regional Park in Great Falls.
- Sail the Potomac: Enjoy a breathtaking view of the Washington, D.C. skyline from the Potomac River at the Washington Sailing Marina in Alexandria’s Dangerfield Island. The marina offers adult sailing classes and youth sailing camp, as well as rentals of pedal boats, kayaks, canoes, skulls, rowboats and stand-up paddleboards by the hour or for the whole day.
- Pick Your Own Strawberries: The Virginia countryside is dotted with farms that let visitors pick their own strawberries beginning in mid-to-late May. The 400-acre Great Country Farms sits at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains outside of Bluemont, while the family-run Hollin Farms is near the Sky Meadows State Park in Delaplane. Wegmeyer Farms has three PYO locations in Hamilton, Leesburg, and Gilbert’s Corner. Be sure to check with the farms ahead of time to see if reservations are required.
- Camp in a Natural Refuge: If you’re searching for an outdoor activity in Northern Virginia that lets you truly get away from it all, consider Prince William Forest Park. Just an hour outside of D.C., Prince William Forest Park is the largest piedmont forest in the national park system and the largest green space in the D.C. metropolitan area. With 15,000 wooded acres, this park features a variety of camping options, catch-and-release fishing ponds, and more than 40 miles of trails to explore.
- Visit a Winery: With over 4,000 acres of grapes across the state, Northern Virginia is home to several award-winning wineries, many of which have adapted to pandemic restrictions by expanding outdoor tasting areas and socially-distanced spaces, as well as using reservation systems. VirginiaWine.org has information on each winery’s guidelines, plus phone numbers, websites, and more information.
- Spot Some Birds: While the 1,856-acre Mason Neck State Park in southern Fairfax County offers trails and a large picnic area as well as kayak, canoe, and bike rentals, its main attraction is the abundance of avian life. The park includes wetlands, creeks, ponds, and open fields, making it a birdwatcher’s paradise. Over 200 species of birds and waterfowl flock to Mason Neck each year, including American bald eagles, whistling swans, hawks, herons, and several species of duck. Woodbridge’s Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge is made up of over 600 acres of wetlands, grasslands, and forests, creating an ideal habitat for over a hundred different species of fish, birds, and butterflies.
- Play Disc Golf: This strategic Frisbee game ranks among the top things to do outside in Northern Virginia. The NoVa Disc Golf Association Facebook page has 2.8K followers! There are a number of courses ranging from 9-to-18 holes throughout Northern Virginia, including Burke Lake Park in Burke, Bull Run Regional Park in Centreville, Pohick Bay Regional Park in Lorton and Loriella Park in Fredericksburg.
- Catch a Drive-In Movie: Drive-in theaters enjoyed a resurgence during the pandemic, and Northern Virginia offers several options. The Alexandria Drive-In returns on Friday and Saturday nights this spring with a lineup that includes classics such as “Jaws” and “Back to the Future.” The Family Drive-In Theater in Stephens City recently changed ownership and plans to offer family-friendly flicks and concessions this summer. Ashburn’s popular Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Drive-In returns in June. You can order your tickets and snacks via the website or app, and they’ll bring the food and drink right to your car.
- Go Zip Lining: Zip through the treetops of the Virginia countryside with Empower Adventures zip line course, which features five zip lines and two suspension bridges spanning 20 acres of the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. All recreational adventures are being conducted with social distancing considerations and additional safety precautions.
Relax After a Long Day of Play with Southern Management
If you love the outdoors, this corner of the country can’t be beaten. Whether you’re looking for a challenging bike route or a scenic spot to host a springtime picnic, we hope this list of things to do outside in Northern Virginia helps you get out of your apartment and into the fresh air.
If you’re seeking a change of indoor scenery as well, let Southern Management help you find a new place to rent. We have a number of Northern Virginia apartment communities featuring great outdoor amenities of their own, including patios, balconies, community gardens, swimming pools, and so much more.