Outdoor Recreation


An Oasis for the Outdoorsy

While much of Northern Virginia is comprised of bustling cities and businesses, there are miles of expansive green spaces right outside city limits that provide up-close experiences with the great outdoors.

Right outside of metropolitan D.C., unexpected outdoor experiences await. With five expansive state parks and miles of hiking trails, nature enthusiasts can get their fill. Thrill-seekers will be awed by the Class VI rapids and advanced rock climbing at Great Falls Park, while amateur outdoorsmen and families will find plenty of fun, relaxing activities like biking, swimming, boating or horseback riding.

In Northern Virginia, recreation is accessible to all. Loudoun County’s Adaptive Recreation Program, for one, offers individuals of all abilities and skill levels, including those with mild, moderate and severe disabilities and those who are medically fragile, a variety of recreation and leisure activities – from healthy cooking and bowling to bocce and tack. Discover more below.

Go for a Spin

Great Falls Park in Fairfax County offers plenty of outdoor activities for both adrenaline junkies and people seeking laid-back family fun. From cliff-top overlooks, you can gaze down kayakers paddling through Class VI rapids. Advanced rock climbers will find challenging sheer rock faces. Washington & Old Dominion Regional Park is a former railroad track that has now become a 45-mile long pathway for cyclists and joggers, while an adjacent gravel trail attracts horseback riders. Morven Park is a 1,000-acre estate that includes the 1781 manor house, antique carriages, a Civil War site, the Museum of Hounds and Hunting and an equestrian center for horseback riding enthusiasts. The 15,000-acre Prince William Forest Park has 37 miles of hiking and biking trails. Algonkian Regional Park near the Fairfax-Loudoun county line offers expansive green spaces overlooking the Potomac River. Lake Anna State Park is home to 15 miles of trails with hiking, biking and horseback riding options.

State Parks Offer Open Water Adventures

At Lake Anna State Park, visitors can take advantage of fishing, boating, and even swimming at the lake’s beach. Leesylvania State Park in Prince William County is nestled along the historic Potomac River. Leesylvania offers a universally accessible fishing pier, boat launch, and canoe and kayak rentals. Northern Virginia Sailing School offers lessons here. Harpers Ferry Adventure Center has plenty of adventurous outdoor activities, from tubing and river rafting to ziplining and ropes courses. At Mason Neck State Park, guests can fish, canoe, kayak, and more. The park’s wetlands, forest, open water, ponds and open fields make it ideal for environmental study and wildlife observation. Scenic views are on display at the 1,860-acre Sky Meadows State Park in Fauquier County, where visitors can also fish and go horseback riding.

Camping in Northern Virginia

For traditional campgrounds offering lots to set up tents, visit Leesylvania State Park, Sky Meadows State Park, Burke Lake Park, or Harpers Ferry Adventure Center. Watermelon Park Campground offers both traditional lots for tent camping and larger sites to set up RV campers. Looking for campgrounds that are a little more comfortable? Try a local park that offers cabin camping, like Pohick Bay Regional Park, Prince William Forest Park or Bull Run Regional Park.