Northern Virginia Staycation (Updated 2017)

Child at Mount Vernon in Northern Virginia

I made this list when we stayed home for yet another Spring Break. Thought it would be equally helpful to share at the start of summer! There are so many great things to do in the Northern Virginia area.

The Smithsonian Our family’s favorite museums include the Natural History Museum, the two Air and Space Museums, the American Indian Museum, the American History Museum and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. The National Building Meseum is also a hit with families, especially their recent summer exhibits. My children particularly enjoy taking in an IMAX movie and visiting the butterfly experience at the National History Museum. Here is a link to highlighted children’s activities: http://www.si.edu/Kids

Steven F Udvar Hazi Center If your kids enjoy the Air and Space Museum, this museum in Chantilly is a must.  http://airandspace.si.edu/visit/udvar-hazy-center/

Newseum We have found this to be a great museum with older children. It’s as interactive as it is informative. http://www.newseum.org/exhibits/

International Spy Museum Fun for kids 7 and up. http://www.spymuseum.org/education-programs/kids-families/

Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse Good food and who can beat Monday and Tuesday $2 movies? They often play family friendly matinees on the weekends as well. http://arlingtondrafthouse.com/drafthouse/

Fletcher’s Boathouse Great place to rent rowboats, kayaks, canoes and bikes right on the Potomac River. http://boatingindc.com/boathouses/fletchers-boathouse/

Appalacian National Scenic Trail near Leesburg For beautiful short or long term hikes, this entrance is just west of Loudoun County. https://www.visitloudoun.org/listing/appalachian-trail/364/

The B&O Railroad Museum If you have a train lover in the family, this museum is worth the trip to Baltimore. http://www.borail.org/

Kid Museum in Bethesda – This museum offers STEM and cultural activities for children 6 – 14 years old. http://kid-museum.org/

Port Discovery in Baltimore A fun children’s museum in Baltimore. Provides three floors of interactive exhibits. For children toddlers to 10 years old.http://www.portdiscovery.org/

National Aquarium in Baltimore The aquarium has become both my girls’ favorite outing – dolphin show, rainforest area, shark tanks.  http://www.aqua.org/

Maryland Science Center This Baltimore museum is worth the trip. http://www.mdsci.org/

Corcoran Gallery of Art This museum has a large collection and interesting family programs. http://www.nga.gov/content/ngaweb/education/families.html

National Geographic Museum http://events.nationalgeographic.com/locations/city/washingtondc/

Canoeing, Kayaking and Tubing We enjoyed tubing last summer and are scheduled to go white water rafting (the mild course) next weekend. There are several companies including:

  • River & Trail Outfitters in Harper’s Ferry http://www.rivertrail.com/adventure-tours/
  • Shenandoah River Outfitters in Luray http://www.shenandoah-river.com/
  • DownRiver Canoe Company in Bentonville https://www.downriver.com/.

Mount Vernon A full day of learning about George Washington’s life and times. It’s a kid friendly tour with lots of tips under Educational Resources on the website. http://www.mountvernon.org/

National Harbor Ferris Wheel and Waterfront Activities or Tidal Basin Paddle Boats – For waterfront fun! 

http://www.nationalharbor.com/play/ or http://www.tidalbasinpaddleboats.com/

US National Arboretum This is a beautiful place to visit and now has a mobile app to assist with your visit. http://www.usna.usda.gov/

United States Botanical Gardens Another beautiful place to visit to learn about plants and gardening. Every Thursday they host a parent-child tour for parents with young children in backpack carriers or slings. https://www.usbg.gov/

Leesburg Air Shows Save the date – this year it’s Saturday September 30th. http://www.leesburgairshow.com/

Sandy Point State Park (beach on the Chesapeake Bay) A small family friendly beach on the bay.

http://reservations.dnr.state.md.us/camping/sandy-point-state-park/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=MD&parkId=380517

Trampoline Parks – Flight in Springfield or Rebounderz in Chantilly

County and State Parks

  • Huntley Meadows in Alexandria
  • Buddy Ford in Arlington
  • Frying Pan Park in Reston
  • Burke Lake Park in Burke
  • Bull Run Park in Centreville

Children’s Theatre

  • Encore Stage and Studio
  • Wolf Trap Children’s Theater in the Woods
  • Imagination Stage
  • The Puppet Co. at Glen Echo
  • Creative Cauldron

Spraygrounds and Water Parks

  • Special Harbor Spray Park at Lee District in Alexandria
  • Drew Park in Arlington (spray park)
  • Mosaic District in Fairfax (spray park)
  • Great Waves in Alexandria (water park)
  • Splash Down in Manassas (water park)

Farms

  • Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon
  • Loudoun Heritage Farm Park
  • Great Country Farms in Bluemont VA
  • Washington’s River Farm in Alexandria

Horse Riding Trails 

  • Rock Creek Park Horse Center
  • Piscataway Riding Stables
  • The MainTree Farm in Leesburg

Zoos

  • National Zoo DC
  • Maryland Zoo in Baltimore
  • Salisbury Zoological Park MD
  • Catoctin Wildlife Preserve MD
  • Roer’s Safari (Reston Zoo)
  • Leesburg Animal Park

Ice Skating

  • Lee District Rec Center
  • Ashburn Ice House
  • Fairfax

Playgrounds There’s really too many to list here. This is a link to Northern Virginia Magazine’s list: http://www.northernvirginiamag.com/game-plan/2013/07/05/playgrounds-for-the-kiddos/. Here’s a second extensive list from Our-Kids https://www.our-kids.com/sports-recreation/playgrounds.

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Comments

  1. Great ideas. I live in Reston so we’re always going to Frying Pan Park – the kids love it. I love all of the children’s theater options on here. We’ll definitely have to check those out this year.

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