Looking for fun outings that the whole family will enjoy? Check out the best of our area.
The struggle is so real — find a place the kids enjoy and the adults are bored (Chuck E. Cheese, I’m looking at you) or find a place the adults enjoy and the kids are miserable. And with summer coming up, visitors on the way, and lots of time to fill while the kids are out of school, you’re looking for some new ideas for those fun family outings. Never fear: as always, I’m here to help! Check out my picks for the best family activities in Arlington and Alexandria.
If you have a child who gets excited whenever a plane goes by overhead, you must visit Gravelly Point. This small park is situated along the GW Parkway and offers unparalleled views of Reagan National’s runways. Bring a picnic and watch the planes take off and land so close that it feels like you could touch them.
Arlington Public Library
If you haven’t already, check out the incredible services and events offered at one of APL’s many area branches. With everything from an American Girl doll lending program to Paws to Read, pairing children with four-legged reading companions, you’ll find a lot to love. Be sure and sign up for summer reading and kids clubs to get in on the fun.
Long Branch Nature Center
Take your little nature lovers here to see all the up-close-and-personal wildlife their hearts desire. With campfires, classes, storytimes, and expeditions for all ages, there’s always something fun to do here. (And the best part? They won’t even realize they’re learning!)
If you’re looking for a magical setting for your day out and about, check out the Netherlands Carillon. Bring snacks or a picnic and scope out a spot for the best view of DC you’ll ever find. Enjoy the automated carillon concert each day at noon and 6 p.m., or attend one of the live concerts offered throughout the year. (Protip: This is also a stellar place to watch 4th of July fireworks from without getting into those National Mall crowds.)
Upton Hill Regional Park
For the ultimate day out, Upton Hill has it all. Waterpark, hiking trails, mini-golf, batting cages — you’ll find it all at this massive complex. Bring a picnic and make a day of it — the kids will be begging to come back again.
Public Skate at Kettler Capitals Iceplex
Looking for a break from the heat? Bring the family to a public skating event at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. There’s Family Pick-up Hockey, Free Skating, and Stick-and-Shoot for all ages. And if your little one has a summer birthday, this would make a great beat-the-heat party theme!
For a variety of sports and a playground that is a local favorite, Bluemont Park should definitely be on your radar. Beautiful and pastoral, and particularly loved for its wading streams and proximity to the W&OD Trail.
Green Spring Gardens
An amazing park with room to run and gardens designed for kids, Green Spring’s centerpiece is the historic home on site. In addition, the emphasis here is on horticulture and learning opportunities, so you may just want to take home some of your newfound knowledge to create a garden of your own!
Charles Houston Rec Center
Indoor soft play room for rainy days and a pool for the summer, plus open gym for toddlers several days a week. Who could ask for anything more? This Alexandria spot is a favorite with local parents and children, with sports and recreation activities for all ages.
Alexandria Aces Baseball Game
While it’s fun to go to a Nationals Game, there’s nothing like getting close to the action. The Alexandria Aces are a local baseball club made up of collegiate athletes in the area. They play about 20 games a season at Four Mile Run Park and offer the chance to enjoy a little old-fashioned “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” fun.
With service from the Wharf to the National Mall, Georgetown, and National Harbor, you’ll love taking the Water Taxi instead of fighting the traffic. Bonus? Have fun teaching the kids about the landmarks and memorials you’ll see along the waterway. It’s a whole new way to see DC.
Del Ray First Thursdays
Every first Thursday in the months of April through September, the Del Ray Business Association hosts a street fair along Mt. Vernon Ave. with fun, food, games, music, and more. Bring the kids, bring the pets, and explore Del Ray while giving back to the community — each First Thursday features a local non-profit!
On the Saturday after 4th of July, Alexandrians celebrate the birthday of their city along the waterfront with the Alexandria Symphony and fireworks! Bring a picnic or buy dinner on-site, and don’t forget there’s birthday cake for dessert! It’s a great Alexandria tradition.
Alexandria Historical Scavenger Hunt
Want to get active while learning about Alexandria? A local Eagle Scout, Russ Leggett, partnered with the Alexandria Archaeology Museum to create this fun and interactive scavenger hunt that crisscrosses 20 blocks of Old Town. Get moving!
For some of DC’s most spectacular wildlife watching, you must visit Huntley Meadows. With wetlands, forest, and meadow habitats, you’ll be amazed at all of the creatures you’ll spot. And with a variety of classes and camps available, who knows what lifelong interest in the natural world you’ll spark when you bring the kids to this enchanted place?
There are so many fun things to do in the area — things that you just can’t experience anywhere else. I hope to see you soon when you’re out and about, exploring all of these fun spots. If you’re thinking of buying a home in this fantastic part of the DC Metro, let me know! I’d love to help you find the perfect place for you and your family!