Mother’s Day Outings and Mom-Friendly Fun in Northern VA

Updated on May 8, 2024 by Julie McCool

These fun Mother's Day outings in Northern Virginia are a fantastic alternative to a traditional Mother's Day brunch. For each Mom-friendly activity, we suggest two or more Mother's Day outings. One option requires more walking and activity, and one is for groups with limited mobility or children in strollers.

It’s a Mother’s Day tradition to gather as much of the family as you can wrangle, and take Mom to brunch at a local restaurant. We love brunch, and we really love Mom, but the tradition has not always led to the best of times. That's why we like to look beyond brunch on Mother's Day.

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Of course, these Mom-friendly places and activities aren't just for one day. Bookmark this list for future outings with Mom all year long. She deserves it!

Mother's Day Outings at Waterfront Parks

There is nothing like a park or a trail with a pretty water view. Add a picnic or special treat and you create perfect Mother's Day outings for the whole family. In our family, we celebrated Mother's Day and Mom's birthday with a hike and a picnic when our kids were toddlers to teens.

Riverbend Regional Park, Great Falls VA

Riverbend Park Porch and View of the Potomac River, one of the Best Places to Picnic in Northern Virginia
Riverbend Park Porch

Just down the road from Great Falls Park, Riverbend Park offers beautiful Potomac views with easier hiking and fewer crowds. Follow the Potomac Heritage Trail north on a level dirt path to see wildflowers, birds, and the Potomac flowing by. Several benches offer a place to relax. You can also hike south to Great Falls Park on a rockier path.

Riverbend is also a wonderful place for a picnic. The Visitor Center at Riverbend has a large deck with comfortable Adirondack chairs and there are picnic tables near the center and close to the water.

Find more easy hikes: 15 Best Nature Trails in Northern Virginia for Wildflowers and Wildlife.

Huntley Meadows Park, Alexandria VA

The Accessible Boardwalk Trail at Huntley Meadows Park, a Spring Bucket List Destination in Northern Virginia
Huntley Meadows Boardwalk in Spring

The half-mile boardwalk at Huntley Meadows Park is one of the best wheelchair-accessible trails in Northern Virginia. From the Visitor Center, follow the short, level woodland path to the long boardwalk over the wetland.

From the boardwalk, you can watch birds, fish, turtles, and other amphibians while you enjoy the calls of the birds in this unique habitat. The two-story Observation Tower offers a nice spot to relax and take in the view.

Make it a day trip with our guide to fun things to do in Alexandria VA.

Neabsco Creek Boardwalk

Neabsco Creek Boardwalk, a beautiful boardwalk trail in Northern Virginia
Neabsco Creek Boardwalk Trail

Prince William County is home to another of our favorite boardwalks in Northern VA. The 3/4-mile Neabsco Creek Boardwalk meanders gently over the marshes and creeks of this pretty Occoquan Bay wetland.

The mostly level boardwalk at Neabsco is wheelchair-accessible, open to strollers and leashed dogs, and is a lot of fun for kids. Note that there is no shade so bring water and a hat if it's a hot day.

After your hike, visit the quaint town of historic Occoquan for great local restaurants and shops.

Visit a Beautiful Northern Virginia Garden

There are many gorgeous gardens in the Washington DC region, and the two below are perfect for Mother's Day outings in Northern Virginia.

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, Vienna VA

Flowers, gazebo, and pond at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna Virginia
Meadowlark Botanical Gardens Vienna VA

Our top pick for a garden outing in Northern Virginia is Meadowlark Botanical Gardens. Here you can explore a mix of stroller-friendly paved paths and dirt trails through unique gardens and habitats. The gorgeous peony garden at Meadowlark usually reaches peak bloom around Mother's Day.

Take in the extensive collection of ornamental and native plantings, visit the unique Korean Bell Garden, then grab a bench by the lake and enjoy the view. There are picnic tables by a pretty path just outside the Visitor Center.

For a more active Mother's Day outing, you can bike or hike to the garden from the W&OD on the Meadowlark Connector Trail. For a fun Mom-friendly day trip, park by the caboose in downtown Vienna, bike to Meadowlark, then head back to town for lunch at one of several tasty Vienna restaurants. Or pop into Caboose Brewing Company for craft beer and tasty food.

Green Spring Gardens

Pond at Green Spring Gardens
Pond at Green Spring Gardens

A visit to Green Spring Gardens is a good choice for people with limited mobility. The gardens are compact and level, except for the walk down to the pond.

The Horticultural Center at Green Spring includes a library, shop, and greenhouse. And the demonstration gardens outside provide inspiration for your next home gardening project. In addition, you can visit the historic mansion, which hosts popular teas throughout the year. Check the park website for the latest events.

Enjoy Nature with a Little History

For moms who love the great outdoors and U.S. history, satisfy both interests with a visit to these local parks. These destinations are also ideal for kids who will enjoy exploring more than a basic trail.

Theodore Roosevelt Island, Arlington VA

Theodore Roosevelt Island boardwalk seating area
Theodore Roosevelt Island boardwalk in Arlington Virginia

An outing on Theodore Roosevelt Island combines nice hiking and birding by the Potomac River with a chance to learn about “the conservation president.” Roosevelt doubled the number of sites within the National Park System during his time in office.

The island includes a plaza featuring a statue of the former President and pretty water features. Roosevelt Island's boardwalk and hiking trails are a lovely getaway at the edge of Washington DC.

Skyline Drive and Shenandoah National Park

Little Stony Man View Shenandoah National Park

There is nothing like a slow drive through Shenandoah National Park, stopping at the overlooks to enjoy gorgeous views along the way. There are so many overlooks you may want to pick a few on each side and skip the most crowded ones.

It's not entirely level, but the Limberlost Trail is ADA compliant. For a more challenging walk, we love the short hikes to incredible views on Hawksbill, Bearfence, Stony Man, and Little Stony Man.

After you hike, head to Big Meadows and the Byrd Visitor to learn about the park's history. Treat Mom to a meal at Big Meadows or Skyland followed by a giant slice of Blackberry Ice Cream Pie (aka BBICP).

Frying Pan Farm Park

Baby lamb at Frying Pan Farm Park in Northern Virginia
Baby Lamb Frying Pan Farm

Take Mom to visit the adorable baby animals of spring at fun and free Frying Pan Farm Park. Stroll to see the horses, sheep, cows, turkeys, and more farm friends on easy, level paths. Displays give visitors an interesting peek at farm life in the 1900s.

Stroll or Paddle at Local Lakes

Several local lakes have easy trails with pretty water views and some of them rent boats if you want to get out on the water.

Burke Lake Park

Stroller-friendly trail over the dam at Burke Lake Park VA

Lovely Burke Lake Park is a fun, active destination with a popular trail surrounding the lake and lots of family-friendly activities. Some sections of the trail are wheelchair and stroller-friendly, while wooded sections are great for biking with kids.

There are four fishing bulkheads and a large fishing pier at the marina, both wheelchair-accessible. A children's carousel, cool miniature train, and mini-golf open on weekends beginning in early April (open daily Memorial Day to Labor Day). Or rent a canoe, rowboat, or fishing kayak from the marina for a quiet paddle.

Lake Accotink

Lake Accotink Park
Lake Accotink Park

Hike or bike on the mostly level four-mile trail around Lake Accotink. Parts of the trail are paved, but it is mostly dirt and stone dust. Picnic areas offer a nice spot for a picnic with a view of the lake. If you visit between Memorial Day and Labor Day, you can rent a sparkly pedal boat and head out on the water.

Lake Anne in Reston VA

Lake Anne lakefront dock in Reston Virginia
Relaxing at Lake Anne

Here's a fun destination that combines a scenic lakeside trail, local coffee, wine, and beer, shops, unique artwork, and a very pretty setting for photos. Lake Anne is the first Village Center in the planned community of Reston, a truly unique Virginia town.

For an easy visit with minimal walking, head to the Lake Anne Plaza. Stop in some of the local shops and restaurants, or just sit and enjoy people-watching. Built-in sculptures and a fun fountain give young children a spot to play while Mom relaxes.

For a little more exercise, take an easy walk on the Lake Anne Trail. The trail passes through interesting neighborhoods with some artsy surprises and pretty views of the lake.

Stop for A Sip and a Meal

Maybe you skipped the crowded brunch but you still want to treat Mom to a meal or sips with a view.

Outdoor Dining, Patios in Northern Virginia

Cafe Sano patio

You avoided the brunch mayhem, but a girl has still got to eat. Follow the link for a look at some of the lovely Northern Virginia outdoor dining you can enjoy with Mom (check ahead to see if you need a reservation).

Wineries With a View or Nearby Hike

Historic Winery at Bull Run

Northern Virginia is a respected and growing wine region, so you'll have plenty of choices for a winery outing with Mom. Head to a Northern VA wineries with great views to sip and relax.

There are two wonderful wineries in Fairfax County, and both would make a lovely Mother's Day stop. The Winery at Bull Run has an interesting connection to Manassas National Battlefield. And Paradise Springs is right in the charming town of Clifton, so they both offer nearby activities if you want to extend your visit.

Hike and Winery Day Trips

Bluemont Vineyard Winery Views
Bluemont Vineyard Winery Views

If Mom loves wine and outdoor adventure, it's easy to combine the two. We rounded up some great hike and winery day trips that are perfect for Mother's Day or any time.

The list includes hikes that are easy to moderate, with varying lengths and settings. In addition, every hike on our list is 60 miles or less from DC, so you can skip the long drive. After your hike, relax with a glass at nearby Virginia wineries.

Take a LOVEly Photo With Mom

Declare your love for Mom with a photo at one of the unique LOVE signs sprinkled throughout the state. There are several nice spots in Northern Virginia, so you don't have to drive far.

The LOVE sign in Lovettsville Virginia, a perfect spot for romantic and family photos.
LOVE sign in Lovettsville Virginia

Take a Scenic Drive

Pretty drives make easy Mother's Day outings, especially for last-minute planners. Follow the links below to enjoy a scenic drive in Northern VA. We include detailed maps and highlight things to see and places to visit along each route.

George Washington Memorial Parkway scenic drive in Spring
GW Parkway scenic drive in Spring

Plan a Mother's Day Getaway

Mom deserves more than a day of celebration, so why not reward her with a weekend getaway? We curated two lists of highly rated and unique Airbnb and vacation rentals that make great getaways for Mom.

One list features exceptional vacation rentals throughout Northern Virginia, and the second focuses on unique rentals in Virginia Wine Country. From a cozy artists' studio to an elegant chateau big enough for the whole family, you'll find lots of great stays on our lists.

If Mom prefers the great outdoors, book a night or two at these Great Northern Virginia Campgrounds for Camping Near DC. You could also plan a hotel-based overnight that combines pampering with active fun at these mom-friendly getaway destinations near Washington DC.

Annapolis, Maryland

Delicious restaurants, quaint shops, interesting history, and fun by the water make Annapolis Maryland a great Mother's Day weekend destination. The Graduate Annapolis is a quiet but central location for your stay, or choose one of the many lovely bed and breakfast inns.   Book your Annapolis getaway.

Annapolis Maryland Waterfront building and sailboats
Annapolis Maryland

Charlottesville, Virginia

Foodie and wine-loving Moms will love a Charlottesville getaway. Explore a range of excellent C'ville restaurants in town and some spectacular wineries nearby. Mix in some history and outdoor fun and you have the perfect weekend getaway. Book your Charlottesville getaway.

Chalottesville Virginia Downtown Pedestrian Mall
Chalottesville VA Downtown Mall

Leesburg, Virginia

You don't have to drive far to give Mom a relaxing weekend in the countryside. Head to Leesburg's historic downtown for shopping and excellent dining at Leesburg restaurants. Stay at Landsdowne Resort and Mom can enjoy luxurious spa treatments. Leesburg is also an ideal base for exploring the wineries of Loudoun County.  Book your Lansdowne Resort getaway.

Restaurants and Shops Lining King Street in Historic Leesburg Virginia
King Street Shops Leesburg VA

Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner, Virginia

The Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner also offers wonderful spa treatments and elegant rooms. Upscale shopping and a range of dining options at the Tysons Galleria mall are right outside your door.  Check Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner rates and reviews.

Redefined Ritz-Carlton suite Tyson VA
Redefined Ritz-Carlton suite Tysons Corner VA

Laurel Highlands, Pennsylvania

If you don't mind a longer drive, visit Pennsylvania's Laurel Highlands. The region is home to Fallingwater and other Frank Lloyd Wright masterpieces. It also offers a fun range of outdoor activities including biking, hiking, and paddling. Stay at the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort for an incredible mix of luxury and outdoor adventure. Book your Nemacolin Resort getaway.

Frank Lloyd Wrights Fallingwater in Laurel Highlands Pennsylvania
Fallingwater, Laurel Highlands PA

A Mother's Day Gift Perfect for Virginia Loving Moms

We've rounded up special gifts for Moms who love Virginia. Give one of these Virginia-centric gifts during your Mother's Day outing to show you love her and you LoveVA.

Virginia Cutting Board
Virginia Cutting Board

Whatever you choose to do, we wish all of the Moms a wonderful Mother's Day!

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Great Mother's Day Outings in Northern Virginia including destinations, activities, and getaways to celebrate Mom.
Virginia / Washington DC USA Travel. Fun Mother's Day outings, destination, hikes, and outings to celebrate Mom in Northern Virginia. Each outing includes active options and ones appropriate for limited mobility or children in strollers. #Virginia #hiking #nature #MothersDay
Mother's Day in Northern VA