10 Fun Ways to Celebrate Spring in Northern Virginia

Updated on March 26, 2023 by Julie McCool

Celebrate spring in Northern Virginia at spring festivals and fairs, scenic drives and hikes, and unique outings and getaways in the DC region. Bookmark this roundup of fabulous spring adventures in the Washington DC area, recommended by local experts, for fun all season long.

We asked Northern Virginia experts how they like to celebrate spring in Virginia. Happily, they suggested a bounty of wonderful outings and events for springtime fun. From spring festivals to art, gardens, scenic drives, and more you'll find wonderful ways to celebrate spring on our list.

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Links and event dates are updated for 2023, so its time to plan spring fun. Some events require registration and tickets run out quickly. It pays to plan your celebrate spring adventures early.

Looking for even more spring fun? See if you can complete our Spring Bucket List: 30 Fun Outings in Virginia DC and Maryland.

In 2023, peak cherry blossoms are expected to arrive early. The National Park Service forecasts the peak bloom at the Tidal Basin will be at or ahead of the forecast, March 22 – 25.

See the blooms with our complete guide: Where to See Cherry Blossoms in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. We include both popular and lesser-known cherry blossom spots (including a neighborhood with 1200 cherry trees), plus forecasts, tips, and info to plan your visit.

2023 Spring Festivals and Events in Northern VA

Celebrate spring at these annual festivals and popular events in Northern Virginia. Special events highlight Virginia Bluebells, equestrian races, home and garden tours, art festivals, and more.

Bluebells at Riverbend Park, Great Falls, Apr 8

The Bluebells at the Bend Festival is back in 2023! One of the most popular spring festivals celebrates the Virginia Bluebells that cover the riverbanks in early April. The festival features wildflower walks, arts and crafts, live music, special exhibits, food trucks, and more family-friendly fun.

In 2023, there are two sessions, at 10:00 and noon, on April 9 and tickets are $10/$12 advance/at the door.

Spring Bucket List Hike in Northern Virginis to See Bluebells on the Potomac Heritage Trail at Riverbend Park
Spring Bucket List Bluebell Trail

Of course, you can also visit the park on your own and hike one of four different trails ranging from 1 mile to 2.5 miles. Enjoy spring wildflowers on the Potomac Heritage Trail, Follow the Hollows Trail, Bootlegger Trail, and Madison’s Escape Trail. Stop by the visitor center and get a park map when you arrive and enjoy the day!

Recommended by Patrick Lennon, Director of Marketing for Visit Fairfax – the official Destination Marketing Organization for Fairfax County, Virginia. Follow Visit Fairfax on Facebook and Instagram.

Bluebells at Merrimac Farm, Nokesville, Apr 8

Bluebells at Merrimac Farm Nokesville
Bluebells at Merrimac Farm Nokesville

Welcome spring and come out to view the spectacular display of Virginia Bluebells at Merrimac Farm in Nokesville, Virginia. Stroll the Bluebell Trail from the Stone House to see the floodplain filled with blooms. Virginia bluebells usually peak in early April.

The Bluebell Festival at Merrimac Farm features naturalist-led tours and an easy one-mile walk through the floodplain. Each tour has a special focus, although leaders cover all interesting sights. Local environmental organizations are there with displays and activities for children of all ages, and concessions and food are available for purchase.

In 2023, the Bluebell Festival at Merrimac Farm is on April 8th, beginning at 10:00. Admission is free at this family-friendly event.

Recommended by Nicole Warner, former Marketing and Communications Specialist at Visit Prince William Virginia. For everything from Civil War battlefields, to museums and historic sites, performing arts venues, and shopping follow VisitPWC on Facebook and Twitter.

Alexandria Historic Homes & Garden Tour, Alexandria, April 15

Bookmark this roundup of fabulous ways to celebrate spring in Northern Virginia, recommended by local experts and offering fun all season long.
Garden Week Carlyle House, photo credit: Visit Alexandria

The 90th Annual Alexandria Historic Homes & Garden Tour features garden installations and a plant sale at 5 private gardens and 6 public properties. Tour stops include gorgeously decorated flower boxes, doors, and gates in Old Town Alexandria.

Tours include an inside look at magnificent homes with original hardwood floors and windows, spectacular landscaping, incredible antique furniture, hidden swimming pools, lovely backyards, and beautiful covered porches.

The large, colorful front doors that line the historic cobblestone streets are another highlight. Tours run from 10:00 to 4:00, and tickets are $55/$65 advance/day-of.

Recommended by Melanie Fallon, Visitor Services Manager at Visit Alexandria in Alexandria, Virginia. Follow Visit Alexandria on Twitter and Facebook and at hashtag #ExtraordinaryALX.

Loudoun Hunt Point to Point Races, Leesburg, April 23

Loudoun Hunt Point to Point Races, photo credit Middleburg Photo
Loudoun Hunt Point to Point Races, photo credit Middleburg Photo

Take a trip to Loudoun’s famed horse country to experience the thrill of racing during the Loudoun Hunt Point to Point Races at Morven Park. Enjoy a series of races including the unique side saddle event. Featured in the hit PBS series Downton Abbey, side saddle racing returned to Loudoun for the first time since the 1930s.

The 56th annual Loudoun Hunt Point to Point Races is back to its traditional schedule. The event features some of the most challenging timber and hurdle courses in Virginia and is a thrill to watch. Doors open at 10:30 am and races begin at noon. General admission tickets are $35/$40 advance/at the gate.

Recommended by Jennifer Buske Sigal, Media Relations Manager at Visit Loudoun. To learn more about Loudoun, follow @VisitLoudoun on Twitter and Facebook and at hashtag #LoveLoudoun.

Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival, Reston, May 20 – 21

Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival Reston Virginia
Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival in Reston Virginia

One of the most popular spring festivals in Virginia, the annual Tephra ICA Festival (formerly the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival) returns in May. During the festival, Reston Town Center streets are closed to traffic and lined with art-filled booths. Each booth is staffed by artists who are happy to answer questions and discuss their work.

Artwork ranges in size from towering sculptures to tiny earrings, and there is always something to buy. We love the mix of quirky, beautiful, and unique art, from paintings and prints to sculptures, furniture, jewelry, clothing, and more.

Kids will get a kick out of wacky and kinetic art, and they can try family-friendly activities in the Art Park. Live entertainment and food add more fun to this great day trip. The suggested entry donation is $5 (18 and under free). The festival runs for three full days, Friday through Sunday, from 11:00 to 6:00 daily.

Extend your fun with these Top 10 Things to Do in Reston Virginia and plan to dine at one of these 10 Tasty Reston Restaurants to Eat and Drink Local in Virginia

Recommended by Julie McCool, editor and founder of Fun in Fairfax VA, a travel guide to the best of Northern Virginia and surrounding areas. Follow Fun in Fairfax VA on FacebookInstagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.

More Fun Activities to Celebrate Spring in Virginia

Here are more great ways to celebrate spring that aren't tied to a particular date or event.

Potomac Sunrises, Dyke Marsh and Belle Haven, Alexandria

Potomac Sunrise, photo credit: Chris Militzer
Potomac Sunrise, photo credit: Chris Militzer

As a photographer who enjoys the solitude of the morning, I also enjoy the extra hour of sleep that the spring time change affords me when capturing the sunrise. A perfect spot to enjoy this change is Dyke Marsh and Belle Haven, along the Potomac River in Alexandria. 

Take a walk along the trail through the wetlands, taking photos of landscapes and wildlife. Or rent one of the many kayaks from the marina to explore the marsh from the water.  From either land or river, the return of spring is most welcome in this park.

Recommended by Chris Militzer, an Alexandria, Virginia photographer specializing in fine art photography of landscapes and nature, featured on Visit Virginia, and USA Today. Follow Chris @Milliman12 on Instagram and Twitter.

Explore more: Best Places to Watch Sunrise and Sunset in Northern Virginia.

Bluebell Hikes in Northern Virginia at Riverbend Park, Great Falls

Bluebells bloom on a River Trail Hike at Bull Run Park Virginia
Bluebell Trail Hike at Bull Run Park

The cherry blossoms in Washington DC get most of the attention in spring. However, April brings another beautiful spring flower to the DC region—the Virginia Bluebells that grow along the Potomac River.

A hike at Riverbend Park is a particularly beautiful place to see these blueish-pink wildflowers that are native to Virginia. Another lovely place to see bluebells is on the Bluebell Trail in Bull Run Park.

The park hosts a wonderful Bluebells at the Bend Festival every spring, with live music, wagon rides, and guided tours with naturalists (see above for details). Personally, I prefer to go on a quiet weekday and stroll among the flowers, look for wildlife, and celebrate the arrival of my favorite time of year.

Recommended by Charlotte Geary, a commercial and portrait photographer based in Reston, Virginia. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook.

Use our photo guide, Spring Wildflowers and Where to Find Them in Northern Virginia, to locate and identify more native flowers at Riverbend Park.

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, Vienna

Pink Virginia Cherry Blossoms at Meadowlark Botanical Garden in Vienna VA
Virginia Cherry Blossoms at Meadowlark Botanical Garden

Public parks in Virginia are great fun to visit any season of the year but especially so in the spring. Few states have the variety of parks that can be found in Virginia. One of my favorites for any season is Meadowlark Botanical Gardens on Beulah Road just north of Vienna.

I was privileged to know New Dealers, Dr. Gardiner Means and Dr. Caroline Ware, after they retired to the land that they gave to become Meadowlark Gardens. Their frame home encompassed the log cabin that is preserved in the park. The love they had of growing iris has been expanded to include many varieties and types of flowers and foliage.

Periodic walks through the Gardens in early spring when plants are just emerging to the full blossoms of spring trees and flowers on surfaced trails are fun for observing, photographing or pondering. Spring at Meadowlark provides a hint of what heaven may be like.

Recommended by Delegate Ken Plum, native Virginian, representing the 36th District in the Virginia House of Delegates. Follow Delegate Plum on Facebook and Twitter.

Meadowlark Gardens is also one of the best places to see cherry blossoms in Virginia.

Spring Drives on the Dirt Roads of Loudoun County

Tractor Mailbox on Downey Mill Rd part of the Unpaved Roads Scenic Drive in Loudoun County VA
Unpaved Roads Loudoun County VA

Spring has sprung and it is my favorite time of the year to drive the dirt roads in Loudoun County. Ambling along some of its 300 miles of unpaved roads—most of any Virginia county—you may encounter playful horses, big herds of wild turkeys, and wineries and craft breweries emerging from their winter slumbers.

Spring in Northern Virginia is idyllic, with world-class blossoms and mild climate. Western Loudoun County's location, nestled in the Appalachian mountain foothills, results in magnificent road trips that are a perfect way to celebrate Spring. Just watch out for newborn deer and foxes.

Recommended by Charles McCool, how-to travel expert, author, trainer, and writer who shows travelers how to increase travel happiness and reduce stress on every trip at McCool Travel. Follow Charles McCool on Facebook and Twitter.

Sip Virginia with an incredible view at these Sensational Northern Virginia Winery Views Close to Washington DC.

Plan a Northern Virginia Spring Getaway

Northern Virginia Airbnb and vacation rentals in historic Occoquan
Occoquan Airbnbs

Get a change of scene and explore more of the Northern Virginia region on a local spring getaway. We rounded up unique and beautiful Airbnbs, awesome vacation rentals, and unique lodging perfect for a vacation close to home. Family-friendly, group-ready, couples-cozy, or pet-perfect—you'll find fun and unique places to stay on our lists.

Plan your next vacation getaway here:

We offer a huge thank you to all of the Northern Virginia experts who helped us plan spring outings full of natural beauty and fun. Find more ways to celebrate spring in the Washington DC and Northern Virginia region in our spring articles:

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Bookmark this roundup of fabulous ways to celebrate spring in Northern Virginia, with festivals, scenic drives and hikes, and fun outings recommended by local experts
Celebrate Spring in Northern Virginia