Bring the family to Northern Virginia for a trip that is packed with activities that both children and adults alike will enjoy. From museums and monuments to parks and farms, this vacation will sneak in some great history lessons along with recreation opportunities and culinary treats your whole family will love.
Day 1: Prince William County
Begin your adventure at the National Museum of the Marine Corps. Step into the boots of a Marine headed to boot camp and explore more than 65,000 artifacts and interactive exhibits, designed by ex-Disney Imagineers, showcasing America’s history through the eyes of a Marine.
After, grab lunch at the museum’s Tun Tavern and spend the afternoon at Prince William Forest Park. This National Park not only offers fishing, hiking and camping, but a rich history as some of the cabins on site were used as a spy training camp during World War I & II.
Visit Stonebridge Potomac Town Center for a plethora of dining options, stop into Sweet Society candy shop for a sweet after dinner treat and enjoy the center’s outdoor concert series, happening on select summer nights.
Day 2: Fairfax County and City of Alexandria
Start the morning bright and early in Fairfax County at the home of America’s first President, George Washington. During your visit to Mount Vernon, explore the mansion and restored gardens then spend time in the interactive, hands-on Education Center or with the reenactors presenting 18th century demonstrations throughout the day. Don’t miss the new “Be Washington” game that puts you in the boots of Washington himself as he made crucial decisions during various battles of the Revolutionary War. If time permits, take the shuttle to the nearby George Washington’s Distillery & Gristmill, a working reconstruction of two of the General’s most profitable business endeavors.
Continue your adventure with Washington in historic Old Town Alexandria, a nationally designated historic district founded in 1749. Start exploring George Washington’s adopted hometown at the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum where Martha Washington shopped. Visiting the apothecary also feels like you’re stepping into Harry Potter’s world as you discover real-life ingredients used throughout the 1800s that were also used as “potion” ingredients in the Harry Potter books and movies, including dragon’s blood, mandrake root, lavender, castor oil, valerian and many more.
Grab a bite at one of Old Town’s many kid-friendly restaurants, many located in historic buildings. Bustling King Street, a walkable mile recognized as one of the “Great Streets” of America, is lined with hundreds of independent shops and chef-driven restaurants to enjoy. After dinner, take Alexandria Colonial Tours’ Kids Scavenger Hunt. Roam brick-lined streets while you discover historic places and learn about Washington and other patriots. Divide into teams and see who wins! Maps and clues are available at The Christmas Attic store located at 125 S. Union Street.
Day 3: Arlington, Fairfax and Loudoun counties
If your child is looking to be an agent one day, give them a head start with a visit to the Drug Enforcement Agency Museum and Visitors Center where kids can become DEA Junior Special Agents. After, get outside and explore places like Long Branch Nature Center and Long Bridge Park. Need an energy boost before afternoon activities? Savor a King Kong sundae fit for a dozen people at Sugar Factory or try ice cream that’s flash frozen before your eyes at Nicecream in the Clarendon neighborhood of Arlington.
Both young and old will be inspired at Fairfax County’s Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. This free museum adjacent to Dulles International Airport gets you up close and personal with major air and space craft, including the iconic Space Shuttle Discovery, the record-breaking Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, and a Concorde airliner. Head up to the observation tower to watch the planes landing at the nearby airport or try one of the flight simulators.
After an afternoon filled with aviation history, continue to your final destination— Loudoun County. Challenge the whole family to a game at TopGolf. This entertainment center offers a unique twist on the classic game as players shoot microchipped balls onto various targets.
Enjoy dinner at TopGolf or head to other local, family favorites including Ford’s Fish Shack for seafood lovers or The Conche, a chocolate-themed restaurant featuring chocolate-infused sweet and savory cuisine.
Day 4: Loudoun County
Finish your getaway with a morning at Great Country Farms. This pick-your-own family operation immerses visitors in farm life and Loudoun’s rich agricultural history. Visit the animals at the petting zoo, try some catch-and-release fishing, take a wagon ride and grab fresh produce, homemade jams or delicious cider donuts from the country store for your trip home.