A Guide to Parks in Northern Virginia

••• Great Falls Park. Photo © Rachel Cooper, licensed to About.com, Inc.

Northern Virginia is home to dozens of parks that offer endless opportunities to enjoy recreational activities. Within a short distance from Washington, D.C., visitors and residents enjoy walking, picnicking, relaxing and participating in all kinds of sports activities. This guide to Northern Virginia parks is arranged by county and includes the best national, state, regional and large local parks.

Alexandria Parks

  • Cameron Run Regional Park - 4001 Eisenhower Ave. Alexandria, Virginia. Cameron Run is a regional park with a miniature golf course, picnic areas, Great Waves Water Park, and a 2-acre lake with fishing.
  • Fort Ward Park - 4401 West Braddock Road, Alexandria, Virginia. Fort Ward Park is the home of the Fort Ward Museum and a 41.4 acre historic park. The land was used as a union fort from 1861-1865 to defend Washington, DC during the Civil War. Walk the grounds and you'll see cannons, underground bombproofs which sheltered 500 men, and reconstructed quarters of the high-ranking soldiers.
  • Huntley Meadows Park - 3701 Lockheed Blvd. Alexandria, Virginia. This 1,426 acre park is a small island with wetlands, a forest, meadows, streams and a pond. Facilities include a visitor center, wildlife observation platforms and a hike/bike trail. The park is known as a prime-birding spot.
  • Oronoco Bay Park - 100 Madison St., Alexandria, Virginia. Located along the Potomac River, this small city park was once inhabited by Indians. Today, it is a popular location for picnicking, walking, biking, and jogging. Festivals and special events are held in the park during the warmer months of the year.
  • Bon Air Memorial Rose Garden Park
    850 North Lexington Street, Arlington, Virginia.
    This beautiful 23 acre-park has an ornamental Memorial Rose Garden, two playgrounds, basketball courts, a volleyball court, tennis courts and picnic shelters.

Arlington Parks

  • Netherlands Carillon and Park - Off of the George Washington Pkwy, Arlington, Virginia. This park is home to the tower of bells that was a gift of friendship given to the American people by the Dutch as an expression of gratitude for aid received during and after World War II. The bells are programmed to strike on the hour from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Special concerts are held periodically throughout the year. The park is located adjacent to the Iwo Jima Memorial.
  • Potomac Overlook Regional Park - 2845 N. Marcey Road, Arlington, Virginia. The 70-acre park has an interpretive garden, nature trails and a nature center which offers programs on ecology, local natural history, Indian history and energy.
  • Upton Hill Regional Park - 6060 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, Virginia. The urban park features hiking trails, a large outdoor swimming pool with water slides, a miniature golf course, and baseball and softball batting cages.

Fairfax County Parks

  • Bull Run Marina Regional Park - 7700 Bull Run Drive, Centreville, Virginia. This park offers lots of recreation opportunities. Amenities include picnic facilities, hiking trails, playgrounds, a water park, miniature and frisbee golf, shooting center, indoor archery, campgrounds. The Special Event Center serves as a venue for concerts, craft fairs, athletic competitions, circuses, dog and equestrian shows, historic reenactments, and ethnic festivals.
  • Burke Lake Park - 7315 Ox Road. Fairfax Station, Virginia. The park has a 218-acre lake with fishing, boating, rowboat rental, camping, outdoor volleyball courts, an 18-hole golf course, disk golf, horse shoe pits, picnic areas, playgrounds, hiking trails, an amphitheater, and a brand new miniature golf course. During the summer a miniature train, carousel, and ice cream parlor are open.
  • Fountainhead Regional Park - 10875 Hampton Road, Fairfax Station, Virginia. From the marina at Fountainhead Regional Park you can see a wonderful view of the Occoquan Reservoir. This site is popular with bald eagles, osprey, and a variety of waterfowl. Amenities include boat rentals, hiking, biking and equestrian trails, and miniature golf.
  • Frying Pan Farm Park - 2709 West Ox Road, Herndon, Virginia. The park preserves and interprets an early 20th- century Fairfax County farm. Visitors can observe farm animals, tour an old farmhouse, take an old fashioned wagon ride, explore a blacksmith shop, historic schoolhouse, and farm buildings. The park is the home to the Fairfax County 4-H Fair, a summer festival including animal exhibits, horse shows, kiddie rides, old-fashioned games, crafts and live entertainment.
  • Great Falls National Park - 9200 Old Dominion Drive, McLean, Virginia. Great Falls Park is located just 14 miles from Washington DC on the Virginia side of the Potomac River. It is one of the most beautiful spots in the capital region. The 800-acre park offers a variety of activities including hiking, picnicking, kayaking, rock climbing, bicycling, and horseback riding. There is a visitor center and a snack bar.
  • Huntley Meadows Park - 3701 Lockheed Blvd. Alexandria, Virginia. This 1,426 acre park is a wetland wildlife sanctuary with a forest, meadows, streams and a pond. Facilities include a visitor center and an interpretive trail with a boardwalk and observation platforms. Wildlife found here includes deer, fox, beaver, heron, and hawks. The Fairfax County Park authority runs nature programs for children and adults.
  •  Lake Accotink - 7500 Accotink Park Road, Springfield, Virginia. The park has a 55-acre lake offering beautiful views. Facilities include boat rentals, boat launch, miniature golf course, carousel, snack bar; picnic areas, playground, hiking and biking trails, and ballfields.
  • Lake Fairfax Park - 1400 Lake Fairfax Drive, Reston, Virginia. The main attraction at Lake Fairfax Park is the Water Mine Family Swimmin' Hole. The park also has an 18 acre lake with pedal boat rentals, tour boat rides, fishing, picnic areas and campgrounds.
  • Mason Neck State Park - 7301 High Point Rd. Lorton, Virginia. The park is on a peninsula formed by Pohick Bay on the north, Belmont Bay on the south and the Potomac River on the east. It connects with a National Wildlife Refuge that includes over 2,000 acres and is most known for attracting a variety of species of birds, including herons, swans, ducks, and Bald eagles. There are hiking, biking and self-guided trails. The Elizabeth Hartwell Environmental Education Center features nature exhibits, hands-on activities, a resource library, and a variety of interpretive displays.
  • Pohick Bay Regional Park - 6501 Pohick Bay Drive, Lorton, Virginia. Pohick Bay is located on the Potomac River 25 miles south of Washington, DC. A variety of water activities are available including boating and swimming. Other activities available include hiking, picnicking, camping and viewing wildlife such as osprey, heron, deer, and beavers.

Loudoun County Parks

  • Algonkian Regional Park - 47001 Fairway Drive, Sterling Virginia. Located along the Potomac River, the 250-acre park features a water park, golf course, miniature golf, two miles of nature trails great for bird watching, a boat launch, picnic shelters, a playground and vacation cottages.
  • Ball's Bluff Battlefield Regional Park - Ball's Bluff Rd. Leesburg, Virginia. This Civil War site along the banks of the Potomac River is one of the smallest national cemeteries in the country with just 54 Union Soldiers. There is a one mile interpretive trail and close to 5 miles of hiking trails.
  • Claude Moore Park - 21544 Old Vestal's Gap Road, Sterling, Virginia. Claude Moore Park features 357 acres of trails, wetlands, meadows and forests. The Lanesville Heritage area is listed on the National Register, and the Guilford Signal Station is listed on the Civil War Trails. Visitors enjoy self-guided tours, picnicking, hiking, fishing, biking, softball, baseball and football.
  • Temple Hall Farm Regional Park - 15789 Temple Hall Lane, Leesburg, Virginia. This is a 286-acre working farm that offers farm tours and tractor wagon rides. The site is locally known for its fall festival and the MAiZE.
  • Washington & Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park - This 45-mile long paved trail runs from Shirlington to Purcellville, Virginia. The trail is one of the best for biking, walking and jogging in Northern Virginia. It was built on the former railroad bed of the W&OD Railroad.

Prince William County Parks

  • Ben Lomond Regional Park - 7500 Ben Lomond Drive, Manassas, Virginia. SplashDown Waterpark is the main attraction to this park. There are also soccer and softball fields, a playground, picnic pavilions, tennis courts, sand volleyball and horseshoes.
  • Julie J. Metz Wetland Bank - 15875 Neabsco Road, Woodbridge, Virginia. The wetlands are a preserved area with a variety of birds including Great blue herons, wood ducks, mallards, sparrow and red-winged blackbirds, seagulls, woodpeckers and hawks. A large-scaled map and educational pamphlets are available at the kiosk in the entrance of the wetland.
  • Lake Ridge Park - 12350 Cotton Mill Drive, Woodbridge, Virginia. The park is located along the banks of the upper Occoquan Reservoir. Visitors enjoy fishing and boating, hiking trails, picnic pavilions, playgrounds, wooded natural areas, a nine-hole golf course, and a mini-golf course.
  • Leesylvania State Park - 2001 Daniel K. Ludwig Drive, Woodbridge, Virginia. The 500-acre state park is located on the grounds of what was once the Leesylvania Plantation, the birthplace of "Light Horse" Harry Lee, father of Civil War General Robert E. Lee. The park has a large visitor center featuring historic and nature exhibits, an environmental education classroom and a gift shop. Amenities include a sandy beach along the Potomac River, a boat launch, hiking trails, picnic areas and playgrounds.
  • Locust Shade Park - 4701 Locust Shade Drive, Triangle, Virginia. The 400-acre park features batting cages, miniature golf, a driving range, playgrounds, tennis courts, hiking trails, picnic pavilions and a sand volleyball court. The Locust Shade Pond is stocked regularly with trout and catfish and is the site of the Urban Fishing Program. During the summer, the 500-seat amphitheater is home to an evening concert series and special events.
  • Manassas National Battlefield Park - 6511 Sudley Road, Manassas, Virginia. The 5,000-acre park preserves the site of the First and Second Battles of Manassas during the Civil War. The Henry Hill Visitors Center features a 45-minute orientation film and a museum exhibiting civil war era uniforms, weapons and artifacts. The park offers a variety of activities, scenic vistas, and walking trails. As home to numerous bird species, Manassas National Battlefield Park has recently been named as an important birding site by the National Audobon Society.
  • Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge - 13950 Dawson Beach Rd., Woodbridge, Virginia.
  • The refuge is surrounded by the Occoquan and Potomac Rivers and includes a one-mile wildlife drive and over three miles of hiking trails. This unique place to explore is home to 650 plant species, 218 bird species, 55 butterfly species and robust wildlife communities along tidal shorelines, marshes, meadows, and woods and all of the creatures that dwell on the banks of the Occoquan and Potomac Rivers. The Refuge is open to the public seven days a week year-round. A Visitor Contact Station is open on weekends.
  • Prince William Forest Park - State Route 619 West, Triangle, Virginia. The 15,000 acre forest is administered by the National Park Service and is the largest green space in the Washington, DC metropolitan region. The park offers 37 miles of hiking trails, 21 miles of bicycle-accessible roads and trails, 4 campgrounds, and over 100 cabins. It’s a great destination for viewing wildlife and fishing.
  • Signal Hill Park - 9300 Signal View Drive, Manassas Park, Virginia. Home of Signal Bay Waterpark, a 27,000 square foot aquatics facility with a Lazy River and Activity Pool, the park also features a fishing pond, amphitheatre, tennis and basketball courts, soccer fields, a regulation softball field and several miles of walking and fitness trails.
  • Veterans Memorial Park - 14300 Featherstone Road, Woodbridge, Virginia. The park includes a community center, a 50 meter outdoor swimming pool, a skateboard facility, hiking trails, a picnic area, playground, volleyball and tennis courts. The 7,200 square foot skateboard facility features bumps, moguls, a 12'x 50' half-pipe and smooth surfaces with sidewalk and street aspects. The community center offers a variety of activities for all ages.