We’ve rounded up special Father’s Day 2017 events plus anytime ideas for fun Northern Virginia outings with Dad all year long. We have suggestions that are active or relaxed, kid-friendly or adult-focused, and even some activities that are great for hard-to-please teens.
Active Hikes with History, Wine, and Food
Combine 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 or one of the restaurants in the center of town. We love the burgers and BLTs at the Main Street Pub.
For a more challenging hike, the 3 mile Great Falls Loop Hike follows trails along Difficult Run and the Potomac River in a less-visited section of Great Falls Park. History buffs open to a longer hike will enjoy the First Manassas Loop Trail, a 5.5 mile hike through sites of the battle of First Manassas, followed by a visit to the historic Winery at Bull Run. Or pack a picnic lunch and take Dad on a short hike to a gorgeous Virginia view. If the day is hot, we recommend the shady Great Falls hike over the open fields at Manassas Battlefield.
Relaxed Parks, Cold Drinks and Scenic Drives
For a relaxing stroll, head over to the beautiful wetlands boardwalk at Huntley Meadows Park. It’s less than a mile from the Visitor Center to the observation tower along an ADA-compliant woodland path and half-mile boardwalk over a unique hemi-marsh. Or take a scenic drive on the Unpaved Roads of Loudoun County, stopping at farm stands, historic sites, and wineries along the way. Closer to DC, a scenic drive on Georgetown Pike and the George Washington Memorial Parkway offers a wealth of interesting views and stops.
Enjoy the unique brews at Ocelot Brewing Company in Ashburn and Caboose Brewing Company in Vienna. Both breweries offer a wonderful line-up of delicious craft beers in sleek, relaxed spaces, and Caboose is right on the W&OD bike trail. The LoCo Ale Trail has a large and growing collection of great breweries spread throughout Loudoun County. There are so many Northern Virginia craft breweries popping up, why not plan a regular outing with Dad?
If Dad prefers wine, you can sip with a view at these Northern Virginia wineries.
Little Ones with Energy to Burn
Lakes and festivals are always fun for the little ones. In addition to boating and fishing, Burke Lake features a miniature train, a carousel, and mini-golf. At Lake Fairfax Park you can enjoy a picnic, watch the action at the skate park, explore the lake from a paddleboat, then cool off at the Water Mine water park. Or rent a kayak on Lake Anne, then let the kids cool off in the waterfall sculpture.
Huntley Meadows and Meadowlark Botanical Gardens are both good destinations for young ones old enough to explore nature. We saw snakes, skinks, frogs, and a giant snapping turtle from the Huntley Meadows boardwalk, and there are giant turtles and koi in the pond at Meadowlark. The paths are stroller-friendly, and there are special places for kids to explore, and lovely spots to sit and relax with Dad.
Inquisitive Big Kids and Tweens
The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum displays some of the most impressive items of their collection—including the space shuttle Discovery, a Concorde, and a Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird—in two huge hangars at the Stephen F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly. Aviation buffs can easily spend a day exploring the displays, visiting the tower to watch planes land and take-off at neighboring Dulles Airport, and watching a movie at the IMAX.
History buffs will enjoy a visit to nearby Sully Historic Site, which highlights the early 19th century life of the Richard Bland Lee family, tenant farmers, and enslaved African Americans. Tour the main house and the outbuildings for a closer look at life in Fairfax County through the 20th century.
Closer to DC, meet the Father of Our Country and explore history at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Just down the street, visit the 18th-century Gristmill and Distillery.
Older Teens Who Crave Independence
Boating at Burke Lake gives older teens an opportunity to hang out with the family while maintaining a little independence. Teens 16 and older can pilot their own boat rental, so you’re together, but not too close. There’s also an 18-hole disc golf course if you’re looking for a different sports challenge.
You and your teens can work up an appetite, then reap the rewards when you bike to barbecue on the W&OD. We’ve identified four options, from Purcellville to Reston, where you can score some ribs and other great bbq close to the popular bike trail. If you want to skip the exercise and just enjoy a relaxed meal on the patio, check out these spots for casual Outdoor Dining in Northern Virginia.
Where do you like to spend quality time with a favorite Dad? Please share your tips in the comments below. We’re always looking for new places to explore in Northern Virginia.