Scenic Snisckersville Turnpike

5 Fantastic Northern Virginia Scenic Drives

These 5 fantastic Northern Virginia scenic drives are especially inviting when fall foliage and crisp days return to the area. Our favorite routes are perfect for a leisurely outing, but we’ve also suggested several stops and activities along the way for hiking, history, dining, drinks, and more local fun.

Tips for our 5 Fantastic Northern Virginia Scenic Drives

Scenic drives are a welcome pastime throughout the year, but the return of fall color makes leisurely exploring of local sites even more appealing. The weather has cooled, the leaves are turning, and the haze of summer has lifted. The crowds of summer tourists are gone, but leaf peepers may increase weekend traffic. Remember to relax, take it slow, and enjoy the journey. Here are a few tips about our Northern Virginia scenic drives:

  • Our scenic drives range from dirt roads in the countryside to an historic parkway near Washington DC. Some are loop drives and some are one way. Click the map link to see the route and decide on your best starting point.
  • Distance and time estimates are from Google Maps assuming normal traffic and no stops.
  • Routes range from 16 to 57 miles, but you could combine several for a longer outing.
  • Links within each drive lead to more detailed descriptions of our recommended stops.
  • It’s hard to reach all of the scenery without including some major roads, but we’ve tried to avoid congested areas when possible.
  • No drive in Northern Virginia is scenic during rush hour. These drives are best enjoyed on the weekend or between 10:00 and 3:00 on weekdays.

1. Great Falls and Georgetown Pike

Map: Great Falls and Georgetown Pike Scenic Drive
Distance + Time: 26 mile loop drive; 1 hour
Sights: Farms, forested roads, grand houses
Activities: Hiking, paddling, history

Georgetown Pike scenic drive

Georgetown Pike scenic drive

 

Our scenic drive through Great Falls begins at the town library and ends at one of our favorite area pubs, You could also use the town green as your start and end point. Our route includes two sections of Georgetown Pike (193), named to the National Register of Historic Places, and designated as the first Virginia Byway. Read more about a Georgetown Pike scenic drive.

Things to Do on the Great Falls Scenic Drive

2. George Washington Memorial Parkway to Mount Vernon

Map: George Washington Memorial Parkway Scenic Drive
Distance + Time: 16 miles one way; 30 minutes
Sights: Historic monuments and parks, Potomac River and Washington DC views
Activities: National monuments and parks, hiking, biking, dining, shopping

George Washington Memorial Parkway

George Washington Memorial Parkway

 

The only one of our Northern Virginia scenic drives that’s also a national park follows the historic George Washington Memorial Parkway from the northeastern end of Fairfax County, through Arlington County and Alexandria, to George Washington’s Mount Vernon. There are many historic stops along the parkway along with some interesting opportunities for hiking and biking. You should really allow a separate day to visit the gem at the end of the parkway, George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Read more about a George Washington Parkway scenic drive.

Things to Do on the George Washington Memorial Parkway Scenic Drive

3. Snickersville Turnpike and Northwest Loudoun County

Map: Snickersville Turnpike and Northwest Loudoun County Scenic Drive
Distance + Time: 60 mile loop drive; 1.5 hours
Sights: Farms, small towns, country stores
Activities: Dining, wineries and breweries, antiquing

Scenic Snisckersville Turnpike

Scenic Snickersville Turnpike

 

The roads of Loudoun County offer a wealth of bucolic small towns; beautiful wineries, craft breweries, and distilleries; and historic sites and homes, providing many opportunities to learn, explore, and relax. Our route includes the historic Snickersville Turnpike and a drive through northern Loudoun County. Read more about Snickersville Turnpike and Loudoun County scenic drive.

Things to Do on the Northwest Loudoun County Scenic Drive

4. Southern Loudoun and Northern Fauquier County

Map: Southern Loudoun and Northern Fauquier County Scenic Drive
Distance + Time: 57 miles; 1.5 hours
Sights: Farms, small towns, Shenandoah foothills
Activities: Hiking, dining, apple-picking, parks

Descending Sky Meadows loop hike in fall

Descending Sky Meadows loop hike in fall

 

A scenic loop drive is extra fun when it includes both beautiful small towns and open parkland. Our route includes the lovely towns of Aldie, Middleburg, and The Plains plus the option to stop for a hike at Sky Meadows State Park and Bull Run Conservancy.

Things to Do on the Southern Loudoun + Northern Fauquier County Scenic Drive

5. Leesburg and Northeast Loudoun County

Map: Leesburg and Northeast Loudoun County Scenic Drive
Distance + Time: 30 miles; 1.5 – 2 hours
Sights: Historic parks and towns, Potomac River ferry, wineries, farms
Activities: Wineries, dining, shopping, hiking, ferry ride

Lost Creek Winery Leesburg

Lost Creek Winery Leesburg

 

While the distance for this route is modest, allow time to stop for a ride on the ferry, to enjoy a glass of Virginia wine, and to explore downtown Leesburg. Some of the winery roads are dirt or crushed stone, but they are all easy to navigate and several offer relaxing views of the Virginia countryside.

Things to do on the Leesburg and Northeast Loudoun County Scenic Drive

While we especially love these Northern Virginia scenic drives on a clear, crisp fall day, they are generally beautiful year-round. In the spring your views and hikes will be sprinkled with Virginia wildflowers. In summer, a drive offers a break from the heat, with views of lush green fields and forests. During the winter, snow-covered hills are beautiful, and many wineries offer gorgeous views from cozy tasting rooms.

Whether you enjoy these Northern Virginia scenic drives throughout the year, or cover one every fall weekend, we wish you a fun and relaxing journey.

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These 5 fantastic Northern Virginia scenic drives, with stops and activities along the way, are especially inviting when fall foliage and crisp days return.

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7 Responses to “5 Fantastic Northern Virginia Scenic Drives”

  1. McCool Travel September 20, 2016 at 11:28 am #

    Inspiring scenic drive routes for Northern Virginia exploring. Time to go hit the road!

  2. diningtraveler October 13, 2016 at 12:43 am #

    Can’t wait for the leaves to hit the peak foliage to start going on long drives in the area. Love the GW parkway with the view of Georgetown!

    • Fun in Fairfax VA October 14, 2016 at 8:05 pm #

      Absolutely agree, we can’t wait for the foliage to hit it’s stride. The Georgetown views are so pretty! Happy fall!

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