Yearning for a family day connecting with nature? You’re in luck. The area in and around Ashburn boasts so many amazing outdoor attractions. Let our daycare in Ashburn, VA help you plan your next nature-filled experience with this list.
“child looking at map” used with permission via Unsplash by anniespratt
With 1,000 acres of reservoir and waterfront to explore, Beaverdam Reservoir makes getting out in nature without traveling far incredibly easy. The park and reservoir are part of the NOVA Parks system. Enjoy a winding circular trail that goes along the shore and traverses dense woodland to escape from the bustle of daily life. The trail is accessible throughout the year and is ideal for nature trips and walking — you can even take the family dog as long as you keep it on a leash.
If you’re interested in water-based activities, this Ashburn spot has you covered as well. Whether you want to go canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding, or fishing, there’s something for everyone here. The lake is stocked with various species of bass and trout, so cast a line from the shore or head out in a non-gas boat. Just keep in mind that you do need a Virginia fishing license.
You don’t need to go far at all to indulge in nature for the day. Just head over to Ashburn Park, located right here in our hometown. This park offers plenty of ways to spend a relaxing time outside.
Check out the creek or wooded areas, or have a laid-back meal with your family in the picnic area. Walk along the nature trail, or take the kids to the playground. The park covers 16 acres and is open from dawn until dusk.
Algonkian Regional Park
Looking for another fun park to explore? Head over to nearby Sterling and enjoy Algonkian Regional Park. This park’s 838 acres along the Potomac River’s banks beckon with tons of opportunity for adventure outdoors.
You’ll find both paved and natural surface hiking trails running through open fields and wooded areas, finally rising up to cliffs where you can take in gorgeous views of the Potomac. You can rent a picnic shelter or even a vacation cottage here, too. If you need a break from nature, you can also check out the 18-hole golf course or Volcano Island Waterpark, but you can’t go wrong with a visit to Algonkian Regional Park whenever you just want to enjoy some of Virginia’s natural wonders.
Washington and Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park
Washington and Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park may very well feature the county’s best-known trail. The paved trail, which goes for 45 miles between Shirlington and Purcellville, is the narrowest trail in Virginia. In fact, the park is frequently referred to simply as Virginia’s skinniest park! The trail is located on the old Washington and Old Dominion Railroad’s roadbed.
This trail is ideal for hiking or biking, and you can also horseback ride here on a 32-mile gravel horse trail that runs adjacent to the main paved trail. No matter how you choose to explore, you’ll go through urban heartland into Virginia’s countryside for some amazing time in nature. You won’t want to miss the flat stretch between Purcellville and Hamilton, which is surrounded by picturesque farm fields. The trail boasts multiple areas for parking, so you can get on and off at different points to suit your family’s needs.
Ball’s Bluff Battlefield Regional Park
Go just north of Leesburg to check out Ball’s Bluff Battlefield Regional Park. This park sits on the high banks above the Potomac River. While you’re here, you can see the burial place for soldiers who died early in the Civil War at the Battle of Ball’s Bluff, which occurred on October 21, 1861. It’s one of the smallest National Cemeteries in the country.
The park also includes a hiking trail that stretches for 1 mile, complete with interpretive signs. When you walk along this trail, you’ll go through open ground and past the cemetery, then through woodland until you get to those high bluffs that overlook the river. If you’re in the mood for spectacular views, this park should be a must-visit spot on your list.
Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve
If you go south of Leesburg instead, you’ll find Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve. Though not as well known as some other Virginia outdoor areas, this sprawling nature preserve offers plenty to love. With 20 miles of trails, Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve provides a family-friendly hiking area that’s easy to get to from Ashburn.
The marked trails go through dense woodland, rolling hills, and beautiful valleys as you walk along Goose Creek. Along the way, you’ll get to check out a huge array of forest wildlife and natural flora, all of which are protected thanks to the area’s Nature Preserve designation. You can also visit a catch and release fishing pond here, which again requires a Virginia state fishing license for anyone 16 years old or older. Younger anglers can fish if accompanied by an adult who has a license.
The Appalachian Trail
No list of area nature trips would be complete without a mention of the Appalachian Trail. After all, you just have to get to Bear’s Den off Route 7 for a truly spectacular experience. This area of the famous trail is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains above Bluemont. Loudon’s stretch of the Appalachian Trail may be short, but it does offer a strenuous hike. It’s no wonder, then, that this piece of the trail is better known as Virginia’s Rollercoaster. If your family is into hiking, you’ll love experiencing the majestic views you can get at Bear’s Den.
If you go to the other side of Route 7, the trail will take you down the mountain with a set of stones forming a natural staircase. That gets you to the Blackburn Trail Center log cabins, where a rustic lodge built way back in 1910 offers a refreshment station for hikers.
That wraps up Crème de la Crème of Ashburn’s list of amazing nature-filled experiences close to home. Drop us a line if we missed your family’s favorite park, lake, or trail so we can add it to our list!