Red caboose in Clifton VA

Enjoy the Charms of Clifton Virginia

Visit the charming town of Clifton Virginia to explore an historic downtown, delicious dining, a lovely winery, and excellent hiking along Bull Run. Tucked into southwestern Fairfax County, the small town is an ideal escape from Northern Virginia’s busy streets. Only 30 miles from Washington DC, Clifton Virginia makes is a wonderful, relaxing day trip.

Here are five ways to enjoy the charms of Clifton:

1. Learn

Red caboose in Clifton VA

Red caboose in Clifton Virginia


Clifton is registered as a National Historic District and its historic houses are well-marked and full of interesting small-town history. Park near the red caboose, and read about Devereaux Station, the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, and their role in the Civil War.

Next, stroll up Main Street until you reach the houses, many surrounded by picket fences. Most of the houses are marked with signs explaining their history and offering interesting tidbits about who lived in them. A few of our favorite signs are below, including one about the house on Main Street where Jeff Arch wrote the screenplay for Sleepless in Seattle. The town is small, so it won’t take long to check out the history on a few side streets too.

2. Eat

Main Street Pub Clifton Va

Main Street Pub Clifton Virginia


Once you’ve worked up an appetite (or, like us, are always ready for a meal), choose from a handful of delicious dining options. We often eat at The Main Street Pub, located in the old Clifton General Store, to enjoy delicious BLTs, burgers, and fish and chips. The bacon is stacked high and crisp, just the way we like. Other lunch options include Clifton Cafe next door, or Trattoria Villagio across the street. If we arrived closer to dinnertime (and were a little better dressed) we would definitely consider the bar or dinner at Trummer’s on Main.

3. Hike

Bull Run - Occoquan Trail Clifton Virginia

Bull Run – Occoquan Trail Clifton Virginia


Another excellent way to work up an appetite or a thirst is a hike on the Bull Run – Occoquan Trail. Follow the signs to Hemlock Overlook Regional Park, driving down Yates Ford Road to the end. Park in the public lot and take the access trail down to the stream. [Hemlock Overlook Park is operated as an education center by Adventure Links (great programs for kids), but you can use the access trail without entering the Adventure Links property.] Once you reach the stream—aka Bull Run—you can head north or south, following the Bull Run – Occoquan trail along the water. The hike is peaceful, shady, and often populated with Great Blue Herons and turkey vultures.

4. Drink

Outside seating Paradise Springs

Paradise Springs Winery in Clifton Virginia


Finished your hike and oh so thirsty? Lucky for you that the hike parking area is right across from one of our two favorite Fairfax County wineriesParadise Springs Winery is beautiful inside and out, and it conveniently opens at 11:00 AM. They offer cheese, breads and other foods to accompany the wine, or you can bring your own picnic lunch. If you hike late on a Friday you can stay for the music.

5. Relax

Peterson's Clifton Va

Peterson’s Clifton Virginia


In Clifton Virginia, the food and wine are yummy, the town is quiet, and the pace is relaxed. Take your time; have a seat outside the general store or at the town park. Maybe stop in at Peterson’s Ice Cream Depot for a sundae or a shake, hot dogs or fries. Feel that stress melting away?

Cow at Peterson's Ice Cream Clifton Va

Cow at Peterson’s Ice Cream


Clifton only has a few hundred residents, but the town swells during special events like the Wine Festival (June 21st), Fourth of July parade, and Labor Day Car Show. Check the Clifton town website for upcoming events.

What is your favorite spot in Clifton Virginia?

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Visit the charming town of Clifton Virginia to explore an historic downtown, delicious dining, a lovely winery, and excellent hiking along Bull Run.

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  1. Fairfax County Winery Fun | Fun in Fairfax Va - July 18, 2014

    […] some local flavor. When you visit Paradise Springs, take time to wander around the small town of Clifton, stopping in at the hundred-year-old General Store. The Winery at Bull Run is adjacent to the […]

  2. Bull Run Occoquan Trail and Paradise Springs Winery - September 15, 2014

    […] and wine combination expands on our earlier article about the Charms of Clifton, Virginia. Now that beautiful Fall weather has arrived, a hike on the Bull Run – Occoquan […]

  3. 8 Great Fall Hikes in Northern Virginia - FuninFairfaxVA - October 19, 2015

    […] nice glass of wine. If it’s near meal-time, you can choose from several restaurants in the quaint and historic town of Clifton. Bull Run – Occoquan Trail hike […]

  4. Bull Run Occoquan Trail: Fountainhead to Bull Run Marina Hike - March 17, 2016

    […] Another of our favorite segments of the Bull Run Occoquan Trail begins at the end of Yates Ford Road, and can be happily combined with a winery stop: Bull Run Occoquan Trail and Paradise Springs Winery. After your hike, we highly recommend a visit to enjoy the charms of Clifton, Virginia. […]

  5. 25 Tasty Options for Northern Virginia Outdoor Dining - June 20, 2016

    […] is a charming town with lots of great history and adorable stores. When you’re ready to sit down and enjoy a […]

  6. Summer Fun with Dad and Father's Day 2017 in Northern Virginia - June 6, 2017

    […] a little history, a shady hike, and a relaxing glass of wine with a trip to Charming Clifton, including a hike on the Bull Run – Occoquan Trail, and a visit to Paradise Springs Winery […]


    […] and I were honored they asked us to capture their wedding day.  From the fun engagement session in Clifton, VA to the barn style wedding at Glasgow Farm, the entire experience was fantastic.  And yup, you […]

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    […] weekend only festival features a 3 acre corn maze in the charming town of Clifton. The pumpkin patch is a pick-your–own style, with sustainably grown, non-certified organic […]

  9. June 2017 Events in Northern Virginia - Fun in Fairfax VA - October 31, 2017

    […] funds for shelter pets in need. Wine, Whiskers and Wags is held at Paradise Springs Winery in charming Clifton, and features delectable wines, tasty fare, a silent auction and meet-and-greets with shelter […]

  10. December 2017 Events in Northern Virginia - Fun in Fairfax VA - November 27, 2017

    […] Charming Clinton sparkles with spirit at the annual Holiday Horse Parade and costume judging. After the parade, join in caroling at the park then tour homes decorated for the holidays. Free; 2:00 – 7:00. […]

  11. 15 Fantastic Virginia Day Trips Near Washington DC - Fun in Fairfax VA - December 21, 2017

    […] small, quaint town of Clifton is a true contrast to DC. Check out the historic buildings and grab a bite downtown, take a hike […]

  12. 70 Festivals in Northern Virginia: A Year of Fun Events Near Washington DC - January 8, 2018

    […] specialty vendors, and live performances, then board a train excursion for a fun-filled ride to Clifton and […]

  13. Paradise Springs Winery: First in Fairfax County Virginia and Closest to Washington DC - January 14, 2018

    […] the closest winery to Washington DC. The popular vineyard is tucked at the end of a country road in charming Clifton, Virginia. The scenic location, welcoming spaces, and tasty wines make Paradise Springs Winery a fun […]

  14. May 2018 Events in Northern Virginia - Fun in Fairfax VA - April 29, 2018

    […] and wreath sale at the Clifton Presbyterian Church. This is a wonderful opportunity to explore the charming town of Clifton and visit Fairfax County’s first winery. Tickets are $25/30 advance/day of tour; $10 for 1 […]

  15. Beyond Brunch: Mother's Day Outings in Northern Virginia - May 1, 2018

    […] 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 […]

  16. Sensational Northern Virginia Winery Views Close to Washington DC - July 19, 2018

    […] There is one winery closer to DC. Paradise Springs Winery, the first winery to open in Fairfax County, is a lovely stop on a visit to the charming town of Clifton. […]

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    […] Downtown Clifton, […]

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    […] wine scene. The closest winery to DC is Paradise Springs in the charming town of Clifton. While Paradise Springs and Bull Run are the only two vineyards in Fairfax County, Loudoun County […]

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