80+ Places to Explore Nature with Kids around the DMV

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Creating memories by adventuring with our kids in nature is so fun! Here is our list of 80+ places to explore nature with kids (while practicing social distancing). While we may not be able to go on a big beach vacation this year or have epic summer parties, we can take time to explore in our own backyard at these one-of-a-kind locations.

We have emojis by each child-friendly location specifying what they offer. Before heading to these places, please make sure they are open and accepting guests. At the bottom of the article, we have a checklist of what to bring when exploring nature with kids.

Check out the handy MAP at the bottom of this page too!

Emoji Legend:
🌳 – hiking
🌊 – beach
💦 – lake, pond, river, stream
⛺️ – camping
🚲 – bike trails
🛶 – canoeing
🐟 – fishing
🌸 – flower gardens
💛 – a favorite

80+ Places to Explore Nature with Kids in DC, MD, and VA

The Adventure Park at Sandy Spring Sandy Spring, MD (amazing ziplining) 💛

Annmarie Sculpture Garden Solomons, MD 🌳 🌸 💛

Audubon Naturalist Society Chevy Chase, MD 🌳 💦 💛

Battle Creek Cyrus Swamp Prince Frederick, MD 🌳 💦

Bethesda Trolley Trail Bethesda, MD 🚲

Beverly Triton Nature Park Edgewater, MD 🌳 🌊 🐟 (wade and walk, but no swimming)

Bladensburg Waterfront Park Bladensburg, MD 🌳 🌊 🛶 🚲

Breezy Point Beach and Campground Chesapeake Beach, MD 🌊 ⛺️

Brookside Nature Center Wheaton, MD 🌳 💦 💛

Burke Lake Park Fairfax Station, VA 🌳 💦 ⛺️

Cabin John Regional Park Trails Bethesda, MD 🌳 🚲

Calvert Cliffs State Park Lusby, MD 🌊 💛

Calvert Road Park Disk Golf College Park, MD 🌳 (disk golf course)

Cape Henlopen State Park Lewes, DE 🌳 🌊 ⛺️ 🐟

Catoctin Mountain Thurmont, MD 🌳 💦

Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Trail (184.5 Miles with multiple entrances) 🌳 💦 💛

Colmar Manor Park Colmar Manor, MD

Colonial Beach Colonial Beach, VA 🌳 🌊 ⛺️ 💛

Cunningham Falls Thurmont, MD 🌳 🌊 💛

Dumbarton Oaks Washington, DC (currently closed) 🌸

Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve Alexandria, VA 💦

Eastern Shore, VA 🌳 🌊 🚲 💛

Eastern Neck Wildlife Refuge Rock Hall, MD 🌳 💦

Elms Beach Lexington Park, MD 🌊 

Flag Ponds Nature Park Lusby, MD 🌊

Fletcher’s Cove Washington, DC 🌳 💦 🛶 🚲 🐟

Fort McHenry Baltimore, MD 💛

Franciscan Monastery Washington, DC 🌸

Glenstone Museum Potomac, MD (ages 12+) 🌸 💛

Gravelly Point Arlington, VA 💛

Great Falls McLean, VA 🌳 💦 💛

Greenbelt Park Greenbelt, MD 🌳 ⛺️

Greenbrier State Park Boonsboro, MD 🌳 🌊 🛶 ⛺️

Green Spring Gardens Alexandria, VA 💦

Gordon’s Pond Lewes, DE 🌳 🚲

Gunpowder Falls State Park Kingsville, MD 🌳 🌊 🛶

Gunpowder’s Hammerman Area Middle River, MD 🌳 🌊 

Harper’s Ferry National Historic Park Harpers Ferry, WV 🌳 🌊 💦 🛶 🚲 ⛺️ 💛

Hillwood Estate, Museum and Garden Washington, DC 🌸

Holt’s Landing State Park Dagsboro, DE 🌳 💦 🛶

Huntley Meadows Park Alexandria, VA 🌳 💦

Jefferson Patterson Park St Leonard, MD 🌳 💦 🛶

Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary Lothian, MD 🌳 💦 🛶 💛

Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens Washington, DC 🌸 💦 💛

Lake Arrowhead Beach Luray, VA 🌊 🛶 🐟

Lake Anna State Park Spotsylvania Courthouse, VA 🌳 🌊 🛶 🐟

Leesylvania State Park Woodbridge, VA 🌳 💦 🛶 ⛺️ 🐟

Locust Grove Nature Center Bethesda, MD 🌳

Loudoun Heritage Farm Museum Sterling, VA

Matapeake Clubhouse & Beach Kent Island, MD 🌳 🌊

Mayo Beach Park Edgewater, MD 🌊

McKee-Beshers WMA Poolesville, MD 🌻 🌳 🚲

Meadowside Nature Center Rockville, MD 🌳 💦 🐟 💛

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens Vienna, VA 🌳 💦 🛶 🐟 🚲

Metropolitan Branch Trail Washington, DC 🚲

Mount Vernon Mount Vernon, VA 🌳 💦 💛

Monocacy National Battlefield Frederick, MD 🌳 Our Experience

National Arboretum Washington, DC 🌳 🌸 💛

North Beach North Beach, MD 🌊

Patapsco Valley State Park Ellicott City, MD 🌳 💦 🛶 ⛺️ 🐟

Patuxent Research Refuge Laurel, MD 🌳 💦 🐟

Point Lookout State Park Scotland, MD 🌳 🌊 🛶 ⛺️ 🐟 

Pohick Bay Regional Park Lorton, VA 🌳 💦 🛶 ⛺️ 🐟 💛

Purse State Park (Nanjemoy WMA with Mallows Bay) Charles County, MD 🌳 🌊 🛶 🐟 💛

Prince William Forest Prince William County, VA 🌳 💦 🚲 ⛺️ 🐟

Quiet Waters Park Annapolis, MD 🌳 💦

Riverbend Park Great Falls, VA 🌳 💦 🐟

River Farm Alexandria, VA 💦 🌸

Rock Creek Park Washington, DC 🌳 💦 🐟 💛

Roosevelt Island Washington, DC (parking in Arlington, VA) 🌳 💦

Sandy Point State Park Annapolis, MD 🌳 🌊 🐟

Scott’s Run Nature Preserve McLean, VA 🌳 💦 (no swimming or wading)

Seneca Creek State Park Gaithersburg, MD 🌳 💦 🚲 🛶 🐟

Shenandoah National Park Virginia 🌳 💦 🚲 ⛺️ 🐟 💛

Sky Meadows State Park Delaplane, VA 🌳 💦 🚲 ⛺️ 🐟

Sugarloaf Mountain Dickerson, MD 🌳 💛

Terrapin Nature Area Stevensville, MD 🌳 🌊 

Tudor Place Washington, DC (opens July 30) 🌸

Turkey Run Park McLean, VA 🌳 🚲

Underground Railroad (Woodlawn Manor) Sandy Spring, MD 🌳 💛

Watkins Nature Center Upper Marlboro, MD 🌳 💦

Westmoreland State Park Montross, VA 🌊 ⛺️ 🐟

Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park Sandy Spring, MD 🌳

Wye Island Natural Resources Management Area Queenstown, MD 🌊 🛶 🐟

Pro Tips:

  • Pack your belongings or even your vehicle the night before.
  • Leave first thing in the morning.
  • Go during a weekday for even fewer crowds.
  • Leave when you feel like it is getting uncomfortably crowded.
  • Getting excited for your adventure? Check out these additional tips for hiking with kids.

What to Bring to Explore Nature with Kids:

If we have left a gem of a spot off the list or if you think we need to add/delete an emoji, please be sure to email us at info{@}dcareamom.com!

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