George Washington Memorial Parkway
Great Falls Park is just one of the sites that make up the George Washington Memorial Parkway. The Parkway was developed as a memorial to George Washington and links a series of sites along the Potomac River. Explore Arlington House and Clara Barton National Historic site. Enjoy a nature walk at Turkey Run park or take a stroll through Dyke Marsh to enjoy the natural scenery and excellent birdwatching. Over 300 species of birds can be observed at the marsh. There is a lot to enjoy in this park, from monuments to nature and more.
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park
This National Park preserves the 184 mile long C&O canal from Cumberland, MD to Georgetown. Also including views of the Great Falls from the Maryland side of the river, C&O Canal NHP offers history, recreation, scenic views and much more. Canal boat rides are offered during the summer in Georgetown, by Washington D.C. Contact the park for more information.
Potomac Heritage Trail
The Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail is a network of locally-managed trails between the mouth of the Potomac River and the Allegheny Highlands. Part of this Trail runs through Great Falls Park. The Potomac Heritage Trail includes 830 miles of trails for a variety of hiking options.
National Mall and Memorial Parks
The National Mall includes more than a dozen National Park sites in our nation's capital. Some of the sites are the Vietnam Veteran's memorial, Ford's Theatre, the Washington Monument, the Constitution Gardens, the Old Post Office pavilion, and World War II Memorial.
National Capital Parks- East
National Capital Parks- East includes several National Park sites in Washington D.C. and in locations east of the city in Maryland. Recreation areas, historical sites, statues, monuments, tidal areas, and forests are just a few of the resources found in these National Parks.
Rock Creek Park
A 1,755 acre National Park located in Washington D.C., Rock Creek Park has many opportunities for outdoor recreation and a wealth of historical resources. Educational and interpretive programs are offered here. Hiking, picnic tables, bird watching, and stargazing are some of the recreational activities in this park. A planetarium is located in the park's Nature Center and has the distinction of being the only planetarium in the National Park system. Visit the website for a list of monthly programs. Trail rides, pony rides, riding lessons, and horse boarding are all offered by the Rock Creek Horse Center.
Prince William Forest Park
This National Park site is located in Triangle, Virginia. The park is a forty five minute drive south of Washington, D.C. Year round cabin camping is available, along with hiking, fishing, RV camping, and backpacking.
A part of National Capital Parks-East, Greenbelt is located twelve miles from Washington D.C. in Greenbelt, MD. Year-round camping is offered here, along with ranger programs, horseback riding, hiking, nature walks, and birding.
Shenandoah National Park
Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, this park offers a variety of activities and scenic views. There are four entrances, the northern entrance is located in Front Royal, VA. This park is a two hour drive west of Washington, D.C. Backpacking, auto touring, horseback riding, hiking on over 500 miles of trails, and climbing are just a few of the experiences Shenandoah has to offer.
Harper's Ferry National Historical Park
Harper's Ferry is located in West Virginia, about an hour's drive west of Washington D.C. The park is next to the junction of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers, along with the borders of Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. Activities include hiking (no overnight camping is available), nature walks, tours of the armory, Civil War history, and much more.
Regional and State Parks
Virginia State Parks
The link above will take you to the VA State Park homepage. These parks have activities such as camping, hiking, fishing, horseback riding, swimming, playgrounds, nature centers, guided hikes, historical reenactments, educational programs, and more.
Maryland State Parks
Follow the link to Maryland's State Forest and Park homepage. Biking, horseback riding, hiking, camping, rock climbing, nature centers, educational programs and campfires, museums, fishing, kayaking, swimming and more can all be found here. Living history programs and reenactments are a great way to learn more about Maryland's historic resources.
West Virginia State Parks
The West Virginia State Parks and Forests homepage. Activities include educational programs and talks, hiking, camping, swimming, boating, fishing, biking, and more. A Calendar of Events page highlights special events, activities, and programs offered at different parks.
Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority
Click on the link above to visit the Regional Park Authority's homepage. From there, you can access all of the regional park sites located in Northern Virginia. These parks feature a broad range of activities, including hiking, bird watching, golf courses, swimming pools, overnight camping, and more.
Algonkian Regional Park
This park is located in Sterling, Virginia and is run by the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority. It is a forty five minute drive from Washington, D.C. and borders the Potomac River. This park offers swimming, hiking, a golf course, riverfront rental cottages, rental picnic shelters, a children's playground, and bird watching. The swimming pool is open Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.
Fairfax County Park Authority
Visit Fairfax County's Park Authority to learn more about local county parks. Activities featured at county parks include playgrounds, off leash dog run areas, ballparks, sports fields, hiking, festivals, picnicking, bird watching, nature centers, and more. The website includes a list of links ordered by the type of activity you are searching for. Sixteen FCPA parks have picnic shelters available for reservation. FCPA offers summer programs and activities as well.
Lake Fairfax Park
Lake Fairfax Park is a Fairfax County park, only a fifteen minute drive from Great Falls Park. Although no swimming is permitted in Lake Fairfax, the Water Mine Family Swimming Hole is a nice place to cool off on a hot day. The Water Mine has a pool, waterslides, a lazy river, and other swimming activities. The park also has a carousel, pedal boat rentals, trails, campgrounds, and fishing. Covered pavilions are available to rent.
Riverbend County Park
Riverbend Park borders Great Falls Park to the north. This 400 acre park offers nature trails, bird watching, a boat ramp, a covered picnic area, and hiking. A nature center is located in this park and is open only to groups, scheduled programs, and appointments. Contact the park for more information. Swimming is not allowed in this park. Riverbend Park is open from 7 a.m. until dusk.
Burke Lake Park
Burke Lake is an 888 acre park located in Fairfax Station, Virginia. Camping, fishing (including an accessible fishing pier), rowboat rentals, a miniature train, golf, miniature golf, picnic areas, a carousel, and playgrounds are all offered here. Swimming is not allowed. Personal boats may be brought to the lake, but gasoline powered watercraft are prohibited.
Arlington County Parks Department
Arlington County also includes links to its parks grouped by activity. They offer community pools, sports fields and courts, off leash dog run areas, fitness facilities, nature trails, and more. Picnic shelters are available for rental in some Arlington County parks. Summer programs and activities are also offered.
City of Alexandria Parks and Recreation Department
The City of Alexandria offers many opportunities for outdoor recreation. Walking and bike trails, swimming pools, a marina, off leash dog run areas, playgrounds, sports fields, and trails along the Potomac are all offered here.
Washington D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation
Our nation's capital offers a variety of recreation opportunities in the city. Look here for program information, reservations, special events, and more. Over 350 parks are located within the city, providing playgrounds, sports fields, 381 acres of park land, swimming pools, and recreation/community centers.