The town of Reston, Virginia, was founded in 1964 as part of the Garden City movement and has since grown into one of the most popular areas in the capital region to live, work, play, and visit.
If you're looking for a place close to Washington, D.C., that won't break the bank but still offers a wide variety of recreational activities, a vast number of public parks, and easy access to the Dulles International Airport, Reston has it all.
From the Water Mine Family Swimmin' Hole water park to the SkateQuest ice rink, Reston offers tons of fun activities for adults and children alike. Whether you're taking a day trip from the Capital or plan to spend an entire weekend of family fun in town, Reston makes for a great vacation destination in Fairfax County.
One of the most popular attractions in Reston is the Water Mine Family Swimmin' Hole water park, located just east of town near the Roer's Safari in Lax Fairfax Park. The Water Mine features water slides, flumes, sprays, showers, and a lazy river and is open during the summer starting Memorial Day weekend every year.
Adjacent to the water park, Lake Fairfax Park features a 20-acre lake with a carousel, picnic areas, campgrounds, athletic fields, and a marina that offers pedal boat and canoe rentals. Both are operated by the Park Authority of Fairfax County.
The 30-acre petting zoo is just across the way from the Water Mine and located in the heart of Fairfax County, Virginia. Roer's Zoofari provides an up close and personal experience with animals such as alligators, camels, reptiles, zebras, antelope, bison, and ostrich, and you can also bottle-feed lambs and piglets or hand-feed goats and llamas. Additionally, you can enjoy carousel rides, a wagon ride, and a walk through the Budgiery Adventure Aviary to feed the birds.
Reston Town Center is the town's outdoor shopping mall, offering several unique shops, more than 20 restaurants, and an outdoor ice skating rink (open seasonally). The town center features a wide range of family-friendly events throughout the year. The Pet Fiesta in May and summer concerts in June through August are a great way to celebrate the summer, and you can partake in Oktoberfest and Thanksgiving events in the fall.
Nearby in McLean, Va., Great Falls Park is one of the most spectacular natural landmarks in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. The national park has incredible views, hiking trails, a variety of outdoor activities including rafting, and a visitor center with nature exhibits. Located along the Potomac River that separates Virginia and Maryland, this 800-acre park features three overlook views of the falls including two wheelchair accessible spots.
Located on the property of Dulles International Airport, the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is also known as the National Air and Space Museum. This Smithsonian museum displays the massive space shuttle Discovery, the Lockheed SR-71, and numerous aircraft, spacecraft, and other space-related artifacts. The museum also offers a wide range of programs for all ages.
The park interprets rural community life in the 1920s to the 1950s, which included the advent of the tractor, the milking machine, and mechanical bailers. There is a visitor center, country store, wagon rides, and Kidwell Farm with horses, chickens, peacocks, rabbits, sheep, goats, cows, and pigs. The park offers camps, classes, birthday parties, and special events.
The Reston Museum is operated by the Reston Historic Trust and offers community exhibits and archives, walking tours, and public events including the Annual Home Tour and the annual Founder's Day festival. Long-term exhibits explore life in the Reston community as well as rotating exhibits showcasing the work of students of all ages.
The 95-acre botanical garden, operated by the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority, includes unique native plant collections, walking trails, lakes, gazebos, a visitor center and a restored 18th-century cabin. During the holiday season, the garden comes to life at night with its Christmas light display, known as the Winter Walk of Lights.
Located on 72-acres of hardwood forest, the Walker Nature Center Sanctuary in Reston provides a variety of educational and recreational resources, programs, and facilities. The park contains over a mile of trails as well as several picnic areas, demonstration gardens, and outdoor displays. You can also put in a special request for a program lead by a Nature Center expert for your class, group, or family or rent out a multi-purpose room, pavilion, or the fire ring for gatherings, meetings, and business retreats. Additionally, the annual spring festival is a big hit and takes place in early May.
This family recreation center features a golf practice range, a miniature golf course, baseball and softball batting cages, volleyball courts, instruction courses, and leagues for all ages. Open year-round and featuring seasonal events, discounts, and special classes, Dulles Golf Center is a great place for sports enthusiasts to spend the afternoon near the airport.
The 114-seat black box theater, located in nearby Herndon, Virginia, is a professional, not-for-profit company that produces theatrical performances and educational programs throughout the year. The company celebrated its 30th season in 2018, with shows like "Fallen Angels" and "Singin' in the Rain."
SkateQuest is located to the southeast of Reston and offers public skating, figure skating, hockey, lessons, and group sessions year-round. This ice skating center also has a full-service pro shop, café, and party rooms to rent. Check the schedule for open skate times and remember to sign up for lessons far in advance as spaces are likely to fill up—especially in the off-season for hockey.