When the weather warms up, it’s time to get outside! There are so many things to do outside in Northern Virginia. This area is home to a wealth of natural beauty and outdoor activities for all ages and interests. With so much to see and do, the only question will be, which activity to try today?
14 Things to Do Outside in Northern Virginia
There’s certainly no shortage of outdoor activities in Northern VA! Nature lovers can immerse themselves in the best Northern Virginia parks with miles and miles of greenery. Sports enthusiasts of all ages can sail, hike or play a few rounds of disc golf. Pick your own fruit at one of the area’s many family-run farms. Visit the home of America’s first president. Do yoga with goats! Or just kick back with a glass of award-winning local wine.
Take a Hike
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. This 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 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. There’s something for all levels of nature enthusiasts and adventure-seekers! The marina offers adult sailing classes and youth sailing camps, as well as hourly or full-day rentals of kayaks, hydro bikes, canoes, rowboats, standup paddleboats, pedal boats, sculls and sailboats.
Pick Your Own Berries and More
The Virginia countryside is dotted with farms that let visitors pick their own strawberries, sunflowers, peaches and more, beginning in the spring. The 400-acre Great Country Farms sits at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains outside of Bluemont, and 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 ahead of time for hours of operation and ticket policies.
Camp in a Natural Refuge
Camping is one of the most beloved outdoor activities in Northern VA. To truly get away from it all, consider Prince William Forest Park. Just an hour outside Washington, D.C., Prince William Forest Park is the largest piedmont forest in the national park system and the largest green space in the Washington, 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. Make sure to check the park’s alerts page for updated information on campsite closures and trail conditions.
Visit a Winery
With over 4,000 acres of grapes across the state, Northern Virginia is home to several award-winning wineries. Follow Virginia’s Gold Medal Wine Trail to sample some of the area’s world-class wines. Or dine at one of the many Virginia wineries that include on-site restaurants, like Cross Keys Vineyard in Mt. Crawford or Potomac Point Vineyard & Winery in Stafford.
Spot Some Birds
The 1,856-acre Mason Neck State Park in southern Fairfax County offers trails and a large picnic area. Kayak, canoe and bike rentals start in May, but its main attraction is the abundance of avian life. The park includes wetlands, creeks, ponds and open fields, making it a bird watcher’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.
Nearby, 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. Be sure to check their website for bird refuge banding dates as well as bald eagle nesting seasons.
Play Disc Golf
This strategic FrisbeeⓇ (and Frisbee-style discs) game ranks among the top things to do outside in Northern Virginia. There are a number of courses ranging from 9-to-18 holes throughout the area, including Burke Lake Park, Bull Run Regional Park, Pohick Bay Regional Park and Loriella Park. The Northern Virginia Disc Golf Association also has events and activities year-round for serious disc golf enthusiasts.
Catch a Drive-In Movie
Drive-in theaters enjoyed a resurgence during the pandemic, and some Northern Virginia theaters are still going strong. The Family Drive-In Theater in Stephens City offers family-friendly flicks and concessions. Ashburn’s popular Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Drive-In shows new releases and classics Thursday through Sunday starting in late March.
Go Zip Lining
Zip through the treetops of the Virginia countryside with Empower Adventures. Try their signature Treetop Zip Tour which traverses five zip lines and two suspension bridges. Or let your children aged 4-7 try the Kid Zip adventure.
Enjoy the Best Northern Virginia Parks
Northern Virginia is home to some of the most beautiful parks in the state — maybe the country. Shenandoah National Park is home to breathtaking mountain views and natural wildlife that can be enjoyed by car or on foot. Balls Bluff Battlefield in Leesburg is an American Battlefield Trust park with plenty to see and do for history buffs and hikers alike.
Visit George Washington’s Home
Mount Vernon is open year-round with lots to explore and enjoy. You can walk around the grounds, tour the mansion or check out the distillery and gristmill. Reenactors stay in character so you can interact and ask questions as you go along. Check out Mount Vernon’s website for upcoming events.
Go Horseback Riding
Step back in time by exploring Northern Virginia on horseback and seeing some of the most spectacular sights in the state. Take a ride through the Shenandoah Valley with Fort Valley Ranch. Explore the Blue Ridge Mountains and a working cattle ranch with Marriott Ranch in Linden.
Stop and Smell the Roses
Among the locals, a favorite thing to do outside in Northern Virginia is explore Meadlowlark Botanical Gardens. Enjoy the colors, scents and art of Northern Virginia’s beloved park. Walk around at your own pace, or take advantage of the NOVA Parks Roving Nature Program, which offers guided educational tours that let you explore the wonders of the gardens’ vast biodiversity. And be sure to check out the incredible Korean Bell Garden, the only one of its kind in the entire Western Hemisphere.
Do Yoga with Little Goats
The Little Goat Farm in Nokesville offers yoga classes — with baby goats! These outdoor classes are held approximately once a month on Sundays and last for one hour. Check the website for ticket information, including cost, dates, times and class details. The farm also offers bunny snuggle and baby goat bottle-feeding events.
Relax After a Long Day of Play with Southern Management
If you love the outdoors, this corner of the country will be paradise. Whether you’re looking for a challenging hike or a flower-filled field 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 too, 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.
Explore our communities or contact us to schedule a virtual or in-person tour of our Northern Virginia apartment communities. Our team will happily discuss availability, pricing, amenities, move-in specials and more!