Celebrate spring in Northern Virginia at spring festivals and fairs, scenic drives and hikes, and unique outings in the DC region. Bookmark this roundup of fabulous spring adventures 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.
Links and event dates are updated for 2021, and we have included cancelations and modified events. Looking for even more spring outings? See if you can complete our Spring Bucket List: 30 Fun Outings in Virginia DC and Maryland.
Peak cherry blossoms generally occur in early April. In 2021, the National Park Service forecasts peak bloom will be April 2 – 5, but the peak arrived a little early on March 30. 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, plus forecasts, tips, and info to plan your visit.
2020 Spring Festivals and Events in Northern VA
Bluebells at Riverbend Park, Great Falls
Unfortunately, the Bluebells at the Bend Festival is canceled in 2021. Riverbend Park remains open and you can visit the bluebells on your own. The blooms should be spectacular in early April. On April 10 and 11, the Friends of Riverbend Park will sell Virginia Bluebell plants on the deck of the Riverbend Visitor Center.
A great way to welcome spring’s arrival in Virginia is to get outside and witness one of the most beautiful naturally occurring events in the area. Normally, the Bluebells at the Bend Festival at Riverbend Park celebrates the blooming of the abundant native Virginia bluebells which blanket the forest floor with a gorgeous layer of light blue. The event features wagon rides, wildflower walks, musical entertainment, and more, and is a perfect outdoor excursion for families.
This year, you can visit the park on your own to 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!
Bluebells at Merrimac Farm, Nokesville
There is no Bluebell Festival in 2021 but you can visit the bluebell blooms on your own.
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.
Normally, 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.
Recommended by Nicole Warner, 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.
Loudoun Hunt Point to Point Races, Oatlands, Leesburg, April 18
Take a trip to Loudoun’s famed horse country to experience the thrill of racing during the Loudoun Hunt Point to Point Races at Oatlands Historic House and Gardens. 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 54th annual Loudoun Hunt Point to Point Races will have limited attendance and there is no general admission this year. 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.
Alexandria Historic Homes & Garden Tour, Alexandria, April 17
The 88th Annual Alexandria Historic Homes & Garden Tour features garden installations and a plant sale at three designated tour hubs which anchor a trail of gorgeously decorated flower boxes, doors and gates. Tickets for the self-guided tour include admission to George Washington’s Mount Vernon.
Normally, tours include an inside look at magnificent homes that are envied by all. On past tours, visitors have been lucky enough to see 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 $25 tickets must be purchased in advance. Purchase tickets online.
Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival, Reston, POSTPONED
The 2021 Fine Arts Festival will be held September 10 – 12.
One of the most popular spring festivals in Virginia is the annual Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival at Reston Town Center. The streets are closed to traffic and lined with booths staffed by the 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 10:00 to 5:00 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 co-founder of Fun in Fairfax VA, a travel resource of fun places for locals & visitors to explore, dine, drink, hike, and play in Northern Virginia and surrounding areas. Follow Fun in Fairfax VA on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.
More Fun Activities to Celebrate Spring in Virginia
Potomac Sunrises, Dyke Marsh and Belle Haven, Alexandria
As a photographer that 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
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 (info above), 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.
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
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, now in his thirty-seventh year of service 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
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 Local Getaway
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:
- 17 Amazing Northern Virginia Airbnb and Vacation Rentals
- 17 Fantastic Northern VA Wine Country Vacation Rentals and Airbnbs
- 21 Fantastic Weekend Getaways In and Near Northern Virginia
- 22 Fabulous Romantic Getaways from Washington DC
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 these related articles:
- Where to See Cherry Blossoms in DC, Maryland, and Virginia
- Spring Bucket List: 30 Outings in Virginia DC and Maryland
- 5 Fun Spring Break Outings in Northern Virginia