Tysons Woods Park in Vienna, VA!

Tysons Woods Park in Vienna, VA!

Tysons Woods Park in Vienna, VA is a nice park that has all sorts of different play equipment for all ages. There is also a few picnic tables in the wooded area to have a nice picnic lunch or snack. A short paved trail runs through the park to get to the other neighborhoods and also to the W&OD Trail. If you click on the google map address below you can see where the walking paths meet up with the W&OD Trail.

Address: 8425 Overlook St., Vienna, VA 22182

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The playground area has preschool-age equipment with toddler swings surrounded by a fence but no gate. Then there is a large piece of school-age equipment and a couple regular swings. There are a couple neat climbing apparatuses as well. Just down the path you’ll find lots of shade under the canopy of the trees and several picnic tables. There is plenty of shade around and over the play equipment but no restrooms at this park.

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This is a very neat park that has a lot of play equipment for all ages. The shade is an extra bonus as sometimes the Northern Virginia can get quite hot. If you live in Vienna and are looking for a new park, check out Tysons Woods Park!

Thaiss Memorial Park in Fairfax, VA!

Thaiss Memorial Park in Fairfax, VA!

Thaiss Memorial Park is a 10-acre park in the City of Fairfax. The park includes  Little League fields, picnic pavilion, and play equipment. The park is also a point where you can enter the Accotink Stream Valley Trail that is part of the larger Cross County Trail.

Address: 3401 Pickett Road, Fairfax, VA 22031

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Thaiss Memorial Park is mostly a sports park but it does have one piece of play equipment in good shape for the older crowd. A Porta Potty (May-Oct) is available during non sporting times and indoor restrooms are available when Little League games are going on. There is a picnic pavilion to get out of the shade. Check out this City of Fairfax Park!

Marumsco Acre Lake Park in Woodbridge, VA!

Marumsco Acre Lake Park in Woodbridge, VA!

Marumsco Acre Lake Park in Prince William County includes a lake, basketball court, picnic pavilion and playground area. The lake has a small platform area where you can walk out on and fish from. You can also fish from the shore line. There is a small parking lot that you can park in so you don’t have to park in the neighborhood.

Address: 14398 Melbourne Road, Woodbridge, VA 22191

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The playground has a newer piece of play equipment that would be great for preschool and school-aged children. Both regular and toddler swings are available. No restrooms at this park but charcoal grills and two (2) picnic pavilions are available right next to the water.

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This is a very cute park in the Woodbridge area. One of the bonuses is that it’s located right next to the train tracks. Don’t worry there is a fence separating the park from the tracks. The kids can hear and see the train through the trees. The train is more visible when the leaves are off of the trees though….:)

Shenandoah Caverns in Quicksburg, VA!

Shenandoah Caverns in Quicksburg, VA!

Another set of Caverns you see when you head West are the Shenandoah Caverns. We headed out for a short day trip to check out the Caverns and other attractions. The Caverns are about 100-miles from Loudoun County and it’s not too bad of a drive. Click Here for more information about the Shenandoah Caverns.

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Address: 261 Caverns Rd, Quicksburg, VA 22847 

The Shenandoah Caverns are a little different than the Luray Caverns. Children under 6 years old are FREE! Also the Shenandoah Caverns are an hour-long GUIDED tour unlike Luray where you can move as fast or slow as you like. Shenandoah Caverns have an elevator service that takes you down the 60-feet to the Cavern entrance. Strollers would have a hard time in this cavern since it’s a gravel base and a couple tight spaces you need to walk through. But there were two stroller families that just left the stroller at a certain part of the trail. The Tickets paid for entrance into the Cavern, Main Street of Yesteryear, American Celebration on Parade, and the Yellow Barn (Free on any day).

HOURS, DIRECTIONS & FEE INFO

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My kiddos really enjoyed the Caverns and the pictures don’t do it justice. I would recommend that you bring a sweater if you get chilly easily. The Caverns stay at about 56-degrees all year around. Outside you’ll find plenty of picnic places and grassy areas for the kids to run around.collage2

After you are done with the Caverns you can head over to Main Street of Yesteryear. Here you’ll find antique window displays and an interactive float display. After you walk through this small area you can walk through the gift shop and have lunch at the country restaurant.

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Also included in the ticket price is FREE admission to the American Celebration on Parade.  Here you’ll find Parade Floats from past parades from all across the United States. Some of the floats are interactive and the kids can push a button and figures will go into motion. Super quick visit but you’ll find it’s stroller friendly and nice indoor restrooms.

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If you’re interested in Wine Tasting, you can head over to The Yellow Barn. Here you’ll find local crafts, local wines, and agricultural  antiques. For the children you can check out the indoor beehive and outside you can check out the livestock. The Yellow Barn is also a venue for wine festivals and concerts.

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We really had a great time checking out all the exhibits and the caverns. It made for a nice day trip and we even hit up the Apple House on the way home to pick up Cinnamon Apple donuts….:) Check out the Shenandoah Caverns.

Scott’s Run Nature Preserve in McLean, VA!

Scott’s Run Nature Preserve in McLean, VA!

Scott’s Run Nature Preserve in McLean, VA is a family favorite for us. It has a very interesting history going back to the 60’s. Once the owners and citizens around the tract of land learned it was going to be developed into 309 homes they stepped up to stop and building. In the end the land became property of the U.S. Department of the Interior which then handed it off to Fairfax County Park Authority. For a more detailed history of the Preserve, click here.

There are two entrances to the park, the west entrance is much larger but the east entrance is right off of  495.

Address: 7400 Georgetown Park, McLean, VA

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Today we parked at the East Parking Lot and walked along the trail until we hit the River Trail entrance near the West Parking Lot. The Nature Preserve river trail has several water crossings that have cement blocks to walk across if the water is high. Families who hike the trails would need to have backpack carriers or little ones that can walk on their own. There is a pretty steep incline and decline to the Potomac River but if the younger crowd just wants to see the creek and rock areas there are plenty of areas that are flat for them to hike on. My boys who are 4 and 5 got a little tired towards the end but we walked a pretty good distance and I swear they ran up the steep incline both coming and going. The Potomac Heritage Scenic Trail runs through the reserve. The hiking areas are really pretty in the Spring time with the natural flowers that bloom throughout the Preserve. Fall Time is even prettier when the leaves change. One thing you need to look out for is that water naturally runs through the preserve through a creek and you cross at several spots. When water is high it could be dangerous to cross so just pay attention when you head out to the preserve.

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If you’re into geocaching there are plenty of caches for you to find. When we were there a couple families were hunting for caches along the trail. A very lovely hike and if you make it all the way to Potomac River there is a small waterfall and riverbank to checkout. If you love hiking or just strolling through the woods this is an awesome place to take friends and family!

Bailey’s Branch in Arlington, VA!

Bailey’s Branch in Arlington, VA!

Bailey’s Branch Park in Arlington, VA is a small park neighborhood park that has close to 2-acres of open space surrounded by a split rail fence with a small playground area.

Address: 990 S Columbus St., ArlingtonVA 22204

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The playground area has one piece of school-age play equipment and one preschool-age equipment. Both types of swings are available and plenty of shade around the play equipment. There are no restrooms available but you are not too far from public restrooms.

collageParking is along the street opposite of the playground and there isn’t much of it. If you’re looking for  a small Arlington Park, check out Bailey’s Branch Park!

Accotink Stream Valley Trail in Fairfax, VA!

Accotink Stream Valley Trail in Fairfax, VA!

When we were tooling around Fairfax heading toward the different portions of Eakin Community Park we headed out onto the Accotink Stream Valley Trail. This portion of the trail is part of the larger Cross County Trail plan or CCT. The CCT is 40 miles long, running from the Potomac River in Great Falls Park to Occoquan River in the Occoquan Regional Park. There is some great facts about the CCT on the Fairfax County Park Authority website and other Trail Maps around the counties, if you’re curious and want more information click here.

Accotink Strean Valley Trail Map 

This portion of the CCT takes you along the trail from Pickett Road in Fairfax where you can enter the path at Thaiss Memorial Park all the way to Little River Turnpike (Rt 236) ending at Wakefield Park in Annandale.

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AREAS WHERE YOU CAN PARK Address: 3417 Pickett Rd, Fairfax, VA 22031

3400 ProsperityAve, Fairfax, VA 22031

8515 Tobin Rd, Annandale, VA 22003

We picked a nice day to head out on the 4.2-mile trail and just walk in the shade of the trees. The path is paved and flat with several small bridges to cross over. There were tons of people running, biking or just letting the kids run up and down the path. The wooded area along the trail was pretty moist from the past days of rain and we noticed it was kind of buggy in parts. I bet during the spring time or when there is a small breeze the bugs are not an issue. Homes can be seen from the parts of the trail and you do cross over a few roads but there are large crosswalks for pedestrian safety. Along the way are info signs with information regarding the trail or things like a description of poison ivy and why it makes you itch…:)

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There are a couple parks along this portion of trail, Thaiss Memorial Park which has a school aged piece of play equipment and Eakin Community Park which has a playground with slides and swings. There are restrooms at the Thaiss Memorial Park (porta potty) and Eakin Community Park (porta potty) at the Tobin Rd location.

My kids had a fun time running along the path, checking out the creek that runs under the small bridges and of course seeing the deer throughout the trail area. (HINT: There is a deer in this picture, see if you can find it….:) ) One thing I have to mention are the signs along the trail noting that Deer Management for Archery Hunters begins in Sept and runs through February.

Enjoy the outdoors in the middle of the suburbs!

Chapel Acres Park in Springfield, VA!

Chapel Acres Park in Springfield, VA!

Chapel Acres Park in Springfield is a small Fairfax County neighborhood park. Situated on a corner lot, the park has plenty of street parking. The small park has several paved pathways and a basketball court around the equipment, perfect if you want to bring the kids’ bikes or ride on toys.

Address: 7900 Giles St., Springfield, VA 22153

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The playground area has a large piece play equipment and both types of swings. Depending on what part of the day, the park has shade around the equipment to get out of the sun. At the corner of the park is a small drainage creek that was partially full when we were there. The kids had a fun time throwing in sticks and checking out some of the frogs that we were hanging out. I would guess that most of the time this is dry and not much fun…:)

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If you live in the Chapel Acres neighborhood this is a nice park to take the kids to burn off some energy or ride their bikes and scooters around.

Barcroft Park in Arlington, VA!

Barcroft Park in Arlington, VA!

Our Orthopedist was funny and mentioned Barcroft Park is her kids favorite park because the high rope climbing apparatus. The rope equipment at this park is pretty high but my oldest had a fun time pretending he was on American Ninja Warrior..:) But luckily there is not just the climbing tree to play on. This playground is near the Barcroft Sports and Fitness Center. The 65-acre park includes several sports fields including lit baseball/softball field, batting cage,tennis courts, handball court, drop-in rectangular field, volleball court, lighted basketball court, and horseshoe pit. You can even head down to the stream and try some fishing. Here is a map that kind of shows you where things are located in the park.

Address: 4200 S Four Mile Run Dr ArlingtonVA 22206 

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We only spent time at the one playground area by the parking garage but there are two other small playground areas next to the two different picnic pavilions. We’ll have to end up going back and checking them out on another day. The playground we did check out is located near all the sports fields and has indoor restrooms right next to the area. The area includes a large climbing apparatus that includes two different sizes for the kids to climb on. It was easy for me to get in there and help out when someone needed help coming down or going back up. So the little crowd doesn’t feel left out there is a preschool age slide and steps combo for them to climb on over a compressed rubber flooring. Besides the added bonus of  bathrooms being so close by there is plenty of shade over and around the equipment. Lots of benches, concrete wall and tables for everyone to sit at as well.

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We will definitely head back to this park at a later date to check out the picnic pavilions, other playground areas and fishing spot. My oldest is already begging to go back and climb on the rope trees…..:)

Long Branch Nature Center & Park in Arlington, VA!

Long Branch Nature Center & Park in Arlington, VA!

We love the Arlington County Nature Centers and Long Branch Nature Center is pretty awesome inside. They have a large classroom, live animal exhibits, indoor Koi Pond with turtles and Children’s Discovery Room. Outside they have nature and paved trails along the stream plus a viewing pond. Here is a map to that shows you the Nature Center compared to the parks around the area.

Address: 625 S Carlin Springs Rd ArlingtonVA 22204 

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The kids had a fun time walking around the Nature Center. They have a lot of live animal exhibits including an indoor Koi Pond and Discovery Room. The best part is that the indoor space is a nice getaway from the weather outside with clean restrooms. They are closed on Mondays but open from 10-5 Tue-Saturday and 1-5 on Sundays.

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After spending a good amount of time at the Nature Center we headed out on the trails. Before we hit the paved trail we came across a small kids area with a sandbox and stumps to climb on. Inside the sand box were plenty of sand toys to play with.  Small nature trails surround the Nature Center or you can head out on the Paved Trail that leads to Glencarlyn Park and access to the W&OD Trail. The Glencarlyn Dog Park can also be accessed from the trail system too.

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A neat feature at the beginning of the trail was the Trail Tales. A children’s book is broken up into different signs and by the end of the trail the kids and you have read a full book. My youngest was running up to every post begging me to read the Beetle book.

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As you can tell by the pictures the area is just beautiful and my pics don’t do it justice. Here is a map to show you where the parks connect and also where the streams meet up. If you’re looking for a nice nature hike, bike ride or just a leisurely stroller walk check out the area around Long Branch Nature Center in Arlington,VA!