These fun spring break outings in Northern Virginia don't require a lot of pre-planning, so they're perfect for spring break or a no-school day. When the weather warms and spring flowers bloom, it's time to get outside and explore the beautiful and interesting parks and historic sites in Northern Virginia.
Fortunately, there is a huge selection of kid-friendly museums, historic sites, and outdoor adventures in Northern Virginia. Below you'll find some of the best spring break outings in Northern VA and the Washington DC area, along with tips on what to do when you visit.
Some of the indoor and DC destinations listed below are closed in 2021. Follow the links for the latest details on hours and restrictions.
Spring Break Outings to Hunt for Blossoms
Cherry blossoms usually peak at the Tidal Basin around spring break time in late March and early April. But the famous DC cherry trees are not the only option for enjoying beautiful blossoms. Our big guide to places to see cherry blossoms in Virginia, DC and Maryland lets you play among the petals even if you don't want to face crowds at the Tidal Basin. Magnolias, redbuds, forsythia, and other flowering trees are also in full bloom.
If it's too late for cherry blossoms, look for other spring wildflowers at area parks and trails. In mid-April, the sandy banks of the Potomac River are covered in Virginia bluebells. You'll find one of our favorite bluebell hikes at Riverbend Regional Park. The first mile of the Northern Bull Run Occoquan Trail, and the nearby Bluebell Loop Trail, are both excellent places to see bluebells.
Kids can also get close to nature and learn at several beautiful Virginia and DC gardens, most of which include a dedicated children's garden or play area.
Walk in George Washington's Footsteps
George Washington was born and lived much of his life in Northern Virginia. Fortunately, there are many ways to walk in the great one's footsteps and add some history to your spring break outings. If you've never visited George Washington's Mount Vernon, spring is a beautiful time to stroll the grounds. Older kids will enjoy the engaging Be Washington interactive experience launched in 2018.
You can also take a road trip to Washington's birthplace on Virginia's Northern Neck. Take a day trip to Fredericksburg Virginia to visit Ferry Farm and tour Washington's recreated boyhood home. At Great Falls Park, families can hike along the canal that Washington envisioned as a way to encourage trade in the new nation.
Read 5 historic sites for a Washington-inspired outing for details on these and more Washington sites in Virginia.
Explore a Virginia State Park
There are wonderful state parks throughout Virginia, and we have some beauties in Northern Virginia. Mason Neck State Park offers excellent hiking and other family fun. You can easily extend your visit to hike and explore more interesting stops on the Mason Neck Peninsula, including one wheelchair and stroller-friendly trail.
Families can hike, explore history, and picnic by pretty Turner Pond at Sky Meadows State Park. Our favorite Sky Meadows loop hike climbs the Shenandoah foothills to gorgeous views across the Virginia Piedmont. Combine your visit with a scenic drive in Virginia Hunt Country, stopping at small towns and parks along the way.
At Leesylvania State Park, families can enjoy an interesting hike with history at the edge of the Potomac River. Other trails follow the shoreline and there is a fun fishing pier to check out. Virginia State Parks usually host special spring break outings and kids programs, so check the park websites for details.
Hike or Bike a New Trail
Northeastern Virginia is a busy, urban area but there are a surprising number of wonderful trails where you can escape the pavement without a long drive. There are easy, level walks along the water, and more challenging woodland trails where you can get a workout and enjoy a view.
Huntley Meadows Park, pictured above, has a long stroller and wheelchair accessible boardwalk that is perfect for wildlife watching. Neabsco Creek in Prince William County is another accessible and kid-friendly boardwalk trail that opened in 2019.
Check our guide for more Beautiful Boardwalk Hikes in Northern Virginia.
In western Loudoun County, a short but steep hike to Bear's Den Overlook pays off with a fantastic view. After your hike, reward the adults in your group with a visit to Dirt Farm Brewing, where kids can play on the lawn while you soak in the view.
Head north to Maryland for a kid-friendly and rewarding hike to the summit of Sugarloaf Mountain. This has been a favorite family hike and picnic destination since our twins were young, and they still enjoy a visit.
If you prefer biking, our guide to 15 Northern Virginia Bike Trails for Paved / Mountain Biking Near DC includes trails for every level of biking ability.
Read these articles for more Northern Virginia hikes and parks that are perfect for family outings. And our complete hike and bike trail list for more local trails.
- 20 Family-Friendly Parks in Northern Virginia
- 8 Great Spring Hikes in Northern Virginia
- Short Hikes to Gorgeous Virginia Views
- Wheelchair and Stroller-friendly Trails in Northern Virginia
Hiking is one of the best ways to enjoy family time while getting some exercise. If the weather doesn't cooperate, you can take an indoor hike of sorts at the sprawling Smithsonian Air and Space Udvar-Hazy Center.
Visit a New Capital
A warm spring day is ideal for a day trip to Annapolis, Maryland. Here, you can stroll the historic streets, explore interesting exhibits at the state capitol, and play by the water. Grab a water taxi for a short trip on the downtown rivers, or enjoy a longer tour on one of the tour boats or the trolley.
You'll also find plenty of indoor and outdoor fun on a day trip or getaway to Richmond Virginia. Start your visit by crossing the cool footbridge for a hike on Belle Isle. Then, follow the Canal Walk for more scenery, history, and nice places to enjoy lunch.
Bonus: Extend Spring Break Outings with an Overnight Getaway
The Northern Virginia area is rich with fun and interesting towns to explore. Here are 5 more spring break outings that you can visit as a day trip or extend with an overnight stay. Click the links for details on what to do, where to eat, and where to stay at each destination.
- Winchester, Virginia
- Charlottesville, Virginia
- Leesburg, Virginia
- Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
- Chincoteague and Virginia's Eastern Shore
A change of scene is fun but you can't always travel. Create a getaway close to home and reserve a few nights at these 17 Amazing Northern Virginia Airbnb and Vacation Rentals. And if a country setting sounds best, many of these 17 Fantastic Northern VA Wine Country Vacation Rentals and Airbnbs welcome families.
These destinations offer fun all year long and some offer extra family activities and events during spring break. Whatever your plans, we wish you a safe, happy, and fun-filled spring break.
Published in 2018, last updated in 2021.