The 12 Best Parks in Northern Virginia (For Nature Lovers, Families + More)

Written By Ken

Northern Virginia has some of the very best parks in the nation, especially if you’re looking for something low-key like an easy hike, a playground, and some nice scenery.   But there’s also a lot to do if you’re looking for something more high-energy like concerts and performances. So no matter what your interests are, you’re sure to find a park in Northern Virginia that’s perfect for you!

Here are some of our very favorites.

1. Frying Pan Farm Park, Herndon

Looking for a great place to take the kids? Check out Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon, Virginia! This park is home to over 100 farm animals, and baby animals are on display in the spring. It’s also free to visit!

2. Great Falls Park, Great Falls

Great Falls Park is one of the most popular parks in Northern Virginia. It’s free to enter with your National Park Pass, and it’s open all year-round. The park features beautiful waterfalls and rapids, making it a great place for hiking. There are also three overlooks where you can view the falls from Maryland and Virginia.

Parking is available at Great Falls Park, but it can often be crowded on nice weather weekends and holidays. There are several picnic areas, grills, and a snack bar open seasonally in the park. You can also purchase tickets for guided tours at the visitor center.

3. Balls Bluff Battlefield Park, Leesburg

Balls Bluff Battlefield Park is a great place to visit if you’re interested in the Civil War. The park has a living history program where volunteer interpreters tell you about the battle. You can visit the battlefield on your own, or take one of these tours on Saturday or Sunday at 7 AM and 7 PM.

This is a nice way to end your day. The interpretive trail will tell you about the Battle of Balls Bluff, which was the first Civil War engagement in Loudoun County. There are many trails for hiking and nature lovers of all ages at this park.

4. Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve, Alexandria

The Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve is a great place for nature lovers to visit. The preserve has many activities, including hiking, birding, and paddling.

The Dyke Marsh Trail is a level, easy walk that offers a great view of the Potomac River and National Harbor. The trail is also wheelchair-accessible.

Fishing is popular at the preserve and there are also many kayaking opportunities on the Potomac River.

5. Mason Neck State Park, Lorton

Mason Neck State Park is a beautiful park located in Lorton, Virginia. The park offers fishing and hiking trails. It was designed to protect bald eagles and has been designated as a National Wildlife Refuge since 1974.

If you’re looking for a great place to rent kayaks or canoes, Mason Neck State Park is definitely it! You can paddle through the marshes and take in all the beauty this park has to offer.

A playground, picnic area, and three miles of paved trails are available for visitors to the park. So be sure to bring your family and friends out for an enjoyable day at Mason Neck State Park!

6. Seneca Regional Park, Great Falls

Seneca Regional Park is a beautiful park located in Great Falls, VA. This park offers something for everyone–from world-class mountain biking to equestrian and hiking trails. 

7. Shenandoah National Park, Luray

Shenandoah National Park is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. It’s a beautiful park that offers plenty of opportunities for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. The Shenandoah River flows through the park, and there are more than 500 miles of trails to explore.

Luray is a city just south of the Shenandoah National Park. It’s home to the Luray Caverns, which are some of the largest caverns in eastern America.

If you’re looking for a great day trip, Shenandoah National Park is definitely worth considering. It’s an important spot for nature lovers and offers plenty of opportunities for exploration and recreation.

8. Theodore Roosevelt Island, Arlington

Theodore Roosevelt Island is located in Arlington, Virginia. It’s on the George Washington Memorial Parkway and has connections to the Arlington National Cemetery, which includes graves of President Lincoln, General Grant, Jefferson Davis and John F Kennedy. 

9. Burke Lake Park, Fairfax Station

Burke Lake Park is a beautiful nature park with plenty of activities. The Burke Lake Park website has information on the hours and costs for each activity. There are two playgrounds in the park and they are located next to Shelter A, Shelter C, the Ice Cream Parlour, and in the campground. There are lots of parking lots and portable restrooms available at the Visitor’s Center. Burke Lake Park offers good family recreation options.

The 4.7-mile loop trail is an excellent North Virginia hike all year round, with level, wide dirt paths and many places to stop along the way. The Fairfax Station portion of Burke Lake Park is wheelchair and stroller accessible.

10. Bull Run Regional Park

Bull Run Regional Park is a great place to visit if you’re looking for something fun to do outdoors. There are plenty of activities available, including hiking trails, disc golf, and playgrounds. The park is also RV-friendly, so you can set up camp and enjoy the scenery.

11. Potomac Overlook Regional Park

The Potomac Overlook Regional Park is a great place for hiking, golfing and more. It offers summer concerts, summer camps, and a beautiful view of the Potomac River. The interpretive garden features organic vegetables and native plants. 

12. Aldie Mill Historic Park

The Aldie Mill Historic Park is one of the many parks in Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority. The park offers live demonstrations and tours throughout the year, focusing on a 200-year-old Grist Mill. The mill is available for rent for events, meetings and tours during weekends between April and November. 

13. Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts

Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts is a unique park that offers both outdoor and indoor performance spaces.. There are special programs such as Wolf Trap First Sunday hikes, which take you on a hike in the park every first Sunday of the month.

Wolf Trap offers lots of entertainment options, whether it’s picnics or weddings! If you’re looking for an interesting place to visit in Northern Virginia, be sure to check out Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts!

Final Thoughts

Northern Virginia has some of the very best parks in the nation, especially if you’re looking for something low-key like an easy hike, a playground, and some nice scenery.   But there’s also a lot to do if you’re looking for something more high-energy like concerts and performances. So no matter what your interests are, you’re sure to find a park in Northern Virginia that’s perfect for you!

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