Making memories with the kids doesn’t have to cost a lot of money or any at all. That’s because living in Ashburn, Virginia, means you can get the kids out of the house having fun and learning a bunch with plenty of free activities. The staff of our preschool in Port Potomac put together seven of our favorite free places to visit in Ashburn and other parts of Loudoun County.
Many of the free things to do in and around Ashburn are local parks and the natural excursions they offer. And Ashburn Park, located at 43645 Partlow Road, is one of the best free activities that’s practically in your backyard.
If your family loves exploring the landscape on a hike, then you have to spend a day at Ashburn Park just traversing the 16 acres of wooded natural trails. You can look for little critters, including native and migratory birds, squirrels, and the tiny fish that swim in the creek. And since much of the trail path is paved, it’s perfect for beginner hikers, little ones, runners, and strollers. In addition to hiking, the kids will have a blast climbing around the dinosaur-themed playground and eating a homemade picnic at one of the pavilions or out on the open grass.
Another fantastic (and free) park in Ashburn is Bles Park, located at 44830 Riverside Parkway. It’s more than seven times bigger than Ashburn Park and offers many more fun, family-friendly activities. Across the 124 acres, you and your children can enjoy playing different sports, hiking around wooded trails, and viewing the wildlife that lives in the wetlands.
What’s great about Bles Park’s hiking offerings is that it’s actually part of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail that runs through Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C. Take this chance to appreciate the ancient river and walk in the footsteps of early American settlers who once trekked the area. As you hike along this short segment of the trail, view the stunning backdrop of open fields with wildflowers, wetlands bustling with butterflies and dragonflies, and waterways filled with frogs, fish, and toads.
If hiking isn’t quite your family’s speed, you can spend your day fishing along the Potomac River and other nearby waterways or playing football, lacrosse, or soccer on the sports fields instead. What’s more is that the city of Ashburn plans to make some fantastic additions and renovations to the park to add tennis and pickleball, a multi-generation playground, and enhancements to the natural splendors.
Get active at Trailside Park, located at 20375 Claiborne Parkway in Ashburn. The 20-acre park is home to three lighted baseball fields, including the Madison Small Softball Complex, and an inline hockey court. So, you can either play a game of baseball or hockey with the family, sit and watch a local league play, or practice hitting home runs at the batting cages.
Younger kids will love playing at the playground, and with open grass and picnic tables, the whole family can enjoy a picnic lunch. If you get hungry on your adventure or need food for watching a game, you can head to the snack bar for some fresh grub. And since Trailside Park is adjacent to the Washington and Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park Trail, you have access to paved hiking paths through lush wooded forests, too.
More Hiking in Loudoun County
In addition to Ashburn’s local parks, you can find plenty of other hiking excursions and parks around Loudoun County.
If you’re interested in experiencing a bit of history along your nature strolls, head to the Battle of Middleburg site at Mt. Defiance Historic Park in nearby Middleburg. Walk on the same land where major fighting happened in June of 1863, nearly two weeks before the Battle of Gettysburg. Throughout the park, you can stop to read passages about the soldiers who fought, the weapons they used, and the impact of this battle on the entire Civil War. Plus, you can see old cannons on the open field, too.
If you and your family are more interested in seeing the wildlife and plant life along your route, you’ve got to check out Elizabeth Mills Riverfront Park in Leesburg. This park is part of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail and offers access to the Potomac River, so you can see and hear the rushing water on your hike. Have a family-friendly hike with your pup at Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve in Leesburg. You can hike the 20 miles of nature trails, look for deer, and even go fishing.
Leesburg Public Art
Consider visiting nearby Leesburg and go on a self-guided public art tour throughout the town. You’ll find 10 or more murals and sculptures throughout the Arts & Cultural District. Head downtown to the “Discover the Charm” mural, which features depictions of the Washington and Old Dominion Trail and local events and sites. Stroll through the Sculpture Walk at Raflo Park, get a family picture with the bike-themed LOVEwork sculpture at the corner of Harrison Street and W&OD Trail, or check out the skater sculpture in the town’s skatepark.
Dive into some Northern Virginia history at the Loudoun Museum. This must-visit destination is open to the public for free, so you can view exhibits on the county’s history, diverse and evolving culture, and natural splendors. Some of their recent temporary exhibits include “Caught in the Maelstrom of Civil War: Loudoun County Divided,” which features historical presentations on the Union and Confederate split during the Civil War, and “Vintage Pursuits,” which explores the Virginian wine industry over the years.
You can visit the Loudoun Museum at 16 Loudoun St. S.W. in Leesburg every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
National Sporting Library and Museum
Even if your family are not avid hunters or horseback riders, you’ll still enjoy the free museum experience at the National Sporting Library and Museum. View fascinating exhibits on the heritage and tradition of shooting, angling, horsemanship, polo, hunting, and many more country activities. In addition, you’ll enjoy gazing at the beautiful paintings, sculptures, and decorative pieces, like championship cups from across the world.
This museum is located at 102 The Plains Road in nearby Middleburg, and it’s open Thursday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.So there you have it, seven amazing and free things to do in and around Ashburn, Virginia. Did we miss one of your favorite free activities or sites? Let Crème de la Crème of Port Potomac know, and we’ll be sure to add it to our list!