Fairfax County Living – Spotlight: Fairfax County Parks

Do you love DC but sometimes wish you could find fun activities and cultural events a little closer? Would you rather spend less time fighting traffic and more time enjoying the things you love? Look no further than the Fairfax County parks! There’s something for everyone at the parks. Whether you want to gather friends or family for a BBQ, cool off at a water park, listen to a concert, go boating or host an event, this great county affords endless possibilities.

Recently, my wife and I took our 4 and 5 year olds to Lake Accotink in Springfield to have a family BBQ and enjoy the park. We realized we forgot utensils and some kind folks nearby shared some of theirs and even shared their birthday cake! We made use of the picnic area and grill and the girls enjoyed the playground and playing soccer. Lake Accotink also offers the opportunity to rent a canoe or paddleboat, play a round of miniature golf, or ride a merry-go-round. There are miles of trails around the lake which also connect to other parks. You can jog or ride your way past a Civil War transportation junction while also taking in the beauty of the area.

We live near Mason District Park and recently walked the 10 minutes with our girls to take in a fun swing band concert at the ampitheatre. My wife and I danced with our girls and had a blast. This park is a mainstay for a family, with trails for running, weekly concerts and shows for kids, farmers market on Thursdays, and playgrounds. Other parks have even better amenities, such as Burke Lake Park which also has weekly concerts and shows, as well as a carousel, playground and train for kids, ice cream shop, boat rentals and camping. Many years ago I ran a marathon and the 4.5 mile forest loop was a perfect place to train on terrain that is kinder to your knees. Free to all Fairfax County residents, there is so much to do that you could spend the whole day there.

There are so many parks throughout this great county that there just isn’t enough time to highlight them all. One last favorite of mine, where I often went in the years before kids, is Great Falls, VA and MD where the Potomac River drops, creating some pretty impressive rapids and great overlooks. Now that my kids can handle slightly longer walks it might be time to head back there. All throughout the county, from Great Falls to Lorton, Springfield to Fairfax, and Herndon to Falls Church, there are great parks to enjoy. In fact, Fairfax County boasts 40 miles of trails that connect from one end of the county to the other. I am thankful that the state and local government decided to preserve so much park space. So the next time you are wondering what to do over the weekend check out the myriad of parks Fairfax County affords for all of our enjoyment. You can always view the Parktakes catalog online or request a print edition to be sent to your home. This is updated/mailed seasonally highlighting classes and events at the various parks. There truly is something for everyone!