We’re living in weird times, and everyone is looking for safe places to get outside and enjoy nature together. We’ve visited each spot, and we’re planning to go back to all of them this summer—each one family-friendly and full of breathtaking nature. Keep reading to find your next family hike.
Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve
Pick one or two of the twenty miles on this beautiful 695-acre nature preserve. We hiked to the fishing pond, had a picnic lunch on a shady bench and walked back in just under a mile. The trails are in the sun and hot on a sunny summer day. Be sure to pack lots of water and sun protection.
Beaverdam Reservoir Trail
We never expected to find this gorgeous spot behind a community baseball field, but we were delighted we did. The trail is full of rocks and roots, so you and your little one will need sturdy shoes. Go for water-friendly options so everyone can splash in the creek and reservoir together.
Don’t be afraid to take on this challenging family hike, be prepared to take breaks and enjoy a snack or two. With my three, we didn’t make it to the top, but I think older kids would be fine. The shady trail makes for a beautiful hike that goes straight up to an even better view. We set a goal to get to the top next time.
Elizabeth Mills Riverfront Park
What a hidden gem! I can’t say enough about this stunning park. Don’t be put off by the sunny stroll through the golf course. It gives way to an open field and tons of fun riverside exploring. Everyone will need water-friendly shoes for this one because it is impossible not to splash around together.
Ball’s Bluff Battlefield Regional Park
Throw in some history on your next hike. Visit the country’s smallest national cemetery and the site of the most significant engagement in Loudoun County. OK, we all know our kiddos don’t care about that, but they’ll love exploring the big trees across the river. Bring the stroller if you need to because there’s an accessible cart path through the park.
Red Rock Wilderness Overlook Regional Park
It’s easy to see why this is such a popular weekend hiking spot. It is beautiful and easy for young and old alike. The historic buildings are popular with local photographers, but they also make for a fun history lesson. We only saw one picnic table, so throw a picnic blanket in your bag before you head out.
A popular boat launch, Point of Rocks, MD, is a stop on a much bigger hiking trail. My little ones love to throw rocks in the river and pick flowers along the path. Again, we only saw one picnic table here, but there is a nice bathroom facility in the parking lot. Bring your kayak and canoe if you’re ready to take your crew on the water.
Worth the Drive
Neabsco Creek Wetlands
We stumbled upon these breathtaking wetlands after missing out on a nearby state park that was temporarily closed. The boardwalk affords everyone a view of fun wildlife, but you’ll need sun protection. The trails are fully shaded and easily passable. We enjoyed a picnic on one of the benches, and I didn’t want to leave when the time came. This one is worth the drive.
Huntley Meadows Park
I know this is quite a drive for a hike, but you won’t be disappointed. We saw seven turtles, a beaver and tons of feathered friends. Pack the stroller because this trail is fully accessible. You’ll enjoy the shade on the way to the boardwalk; then, you’ll be drenched in the summer sun.
Cool Springs Battlefield
Locals probably wish I wasn’t telling you about this one. It is quite the hidden gem and such a great way to spend the day as a family. Pack your fishing rods for the lake teeming with fish. You’ll enjoy creek stomping and beautiful, wide-open spaces. The field is perfect for a picnic and game of tag. Cool Springs is a favorite spot for kid-friendly Northern Virginia hikes.