80+ Places to Explore Nature with Kids around the DMV


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 aย checklist of what to bringย when exploring nature with kids.

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

Emoji Legend:
๐ŸŒณ – hiking
๐ŸŒŠ – beach
๐Ÿ’ฆ – lake, pond, river, stream
โ›บ๏ธ – camping
๐Ÿšฒ – bike trails
๐Ÿ›ถ – canoeing
๐ŸŸ – fishing
๐ŸŒธ – flower gardens
๐Ÿ’› – a favorite

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

The Adventure Park at Sandy Spring Sandy Spring, MDย (amazing ziplining) ๐Ÿ’›

Annmarie Sculpture Garden Solomons, MD ๐ŸŒณ ๐ŸŒธ ๐Ÿ’›

Audubon Naturalist Society Chevy Chase, MDย ๐ŸŒณ ๐Ÿ’ฆ ๐Ÿ’›

Battle Creek Cyrus Swamp Prince Frederick, MD ๐ŸŒณ ๐Ÿ’ฆ

Bethesda Trolley Trail Bethesda, MDย ๐Ÿšฒ

Beverly Triton Nature Park Edgewater, MDย ๐ŸŒณ ๐ŸŒŠ ๐ŸŸ (wade and walk, but no swimming)

Bladensburg Waterfront Parkย Bladensburg, MD ๐ŸŒณ ๐ŸŒŠ ๐Ÿ›ถ ๐Ÿšฒ

Breezy Point Beach and Campground Chesapeake Beach, MDย ๐ŸŒŠ โ›บ๏ธ

Brookside Nature Centerย Wheaton, MD ๐ŸŒณ ๐Ÿ’ฆ ๐Ÿ’›

Burke Lake Park Fairfax Station, VA ๐ŸŒณ ๐Ÿ’ฆ โ›บ๏ธ

Cabin John Regional Park Trails Bethesda, MD ๐ŸŒณ ๐Ÿšฒ

Calvert Cliffs State Park Lusby, MD ๐ŸŒŠ ๐Ÿ’›

Calvert Road Park Disk Golf College Park, MD ๐ŸŒณ (disk golf course)

Cape Henlopen State Park Lewes, DE ๐ŸŒณ ๐ŸŒŠ โ›บ๏ธ ๐ŸŸ

Catoctin Mountain Thurmont, MD ๐ŸŒณ ๐Ÿ’ฆ

Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Trail (184.5 Miles with multiple entrances) ๐ŸŒณ ๐Ÿ’ฆ ๐Ÿ’›

Colmar Manor Parkย Colmar Manor, MD

Colonial Beach Colonial Beach, VAย ๐ŸŒณ ๐ŸŒŠ โ›บ๏ธ ๐Ÿ’›

Cunningham Falls Thurmont, MD ๐ŸŒณ ๐ŸŒŠ ๐Ÿ’›

Dumbarton Oaksย Washington, DC (currently closed) ๐ŸŒธ

Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserveย Alexandria, VA ๐Ÿ’ฆ

Eastern Shore, VAย ๐ŸŒณ ๐ŸŒŠ ๐Ÿšฒ ๐Ÿ’›

Eastern Neck Wildlife Refuge Rock Hall, MD ๐ŸŒณ ๐Ÿ’ฆ

Elms Beach Lexington Park, MD ๐ŸŒŠย 

Flag Ponds Nature Park Lusby, MD ๐ŸŒŠ

Fletcherโ€™s Coveย Washington, DC ๐ŸŒณ ๐Ÿ’ฆ ๐Ÿ›ถ ๐Ÿšฒ ๐ŸŸ

Fort McHenryย Baltimore, MD ๐Ÿ’›

Franciscan Monasteryย Washington, DC ๐ŸŒธ

Glenstone Museumย Potomac, MD (ages 12+) ๐ŸŒธ ๐Ÿ’›

Gravelly Point Arlington, VA ๐Ÿ’›

Great Falls McLean, VA ๐ŸŒณ ๐Ÿ’ฆ ๐Ÿ’›

Greenbelt Park Greenbelt, MD ๐ŸŒณ โ›บ๏ธ

Greenbrier State Park Boonsboro, MDย ๐ŸŒณ ๐ŸŒŠ ๐Ÿ›ถ โ›บ๏ธ

Green Spring Gardensย Alexandria, VA ๐Ÿ’ฆ

Gordonโ€™s Pondย Lewes, DE ๐ŸŒณ ๐Ÿšฒ

Gunpowder Falls State Park Kingsville, MD ๐ŸŒณ ๐ŸŒŠ ๐Ÿ›ถ

Gunpowder’s Hammerman Area Middle River, MD ๐ŸŒณย ๐ŸŒŠย 

Harper’s Ferry National Historic Park Harpers Ferry, WV ๐ŸŒณ ๐ŸŒŠ ๐Ÿ’ฆ ๐Ÿ›ถ ๐Ÿšฒ โ›บ๏ธ ๐Ÿ’›

Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardenย Washington, DC ๐ŸŒธ

Holtโ€™s Landing State Parkย Dagsboro, DE ๐ŸŒณ ๐Ÿ’ฆ ๐Ÿ›ถ

Huntley Meadows Parkย Alexandria, VA ๐ŸŒณ ๐Ÿ’ฆ

Jefferson Patterson Park St Leonard, MD ๐ŸŒณ ๐Ÿ’ฆ ๐Ÿ›ถ

Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuaryย Lothian, MD ๐ŸŒณ ๐Ÿ’ฆ ๐Ÿ›ถ ๐Ÿ’›

Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardensย Washington, DC ๐ŸŒธ ๐Ÿ’ฆ ๐Ÿ’›

Lake Arrowhead Beach Luray, VA ๐ŸŒŠ ๐Ÿ›ถ ๐ŸŸ

Lake Anna State Park Spotsylvania Courthouse, VA ๐ŸŒณย ๐ŸŒŠ ๐Ÿ›ถ ๐ŸŸ

Leesylvania State Park Woodbridge, VA ๐ŸŒณ ๐Ÿ’ฆ ๐Ÿ›ถ โ›บ๏ธ ๐ŸŸ

Locust Grove Nature Center Bethesda, MD ๐ŸŒณ

Loudoun Heritage Farm Museumย Sterling, VA

Matapeake Clubhouse & Beach Kent Island, MD ๐ŸŒณ ๐ŸŒŠ

Mayo Beach Park Edgewater, MD ๐ŸŒŠ

McKee-Beshers WMAย Poolesville, MD ๐ŸŒป ๐ŸŒณ ๐Ÿšฒ

Meadowside Nature Center Rockville, MD ๐ŸŒณ ๐Ÿ’ฆ ๐ŸŸ ๐Ÿ’›

Meadowlark Botanical Gardensย Vienna, VA ๐ŸŒณ ๐Ÿ’ฆ ๐Ÿ›ถ ๐ŸŸ ๐Ÿšฒ

Metropolitan Branch Trailย Washington, DC ๐Ÿšฒ

Mount Vernonย Mount Vernon, VA ๐ŸŒณ ๐Ÿ’ฆ ๐Ÿ’›

Monocacy National Battlefieldย Frederick, MD ๐ŸŒณ Our Experience

National Arboretumย Washington, DC ๐ŸŒณ ๐ŸŒธ ๐Ÿ’›

North Beach North Beach, MD ๐ŸŒŠ

Patapsco Valley State Park Ellicott City, MD ๐ŸŒณ ๐Ÿ’ฆ ๐Ÿ›ถ โ›บ๏ธ ๐ŸŸ

Patuxent Research Refugeย Laurel, MD ๐ŸŒณ ๐Ÿ’ฆ ๐ŸŸ

Point Lookout State Park Scotland, MDย ๐ŸŒณ ๐ŸŒŠย ๐Ÿ›ถ โ›บ๏ธ ๐ŸŸย 

Pohick Bay Regional Park Lorton, VA ๐ŸŒณ ๐Ÿ’ฆ ๐Ÿ›ถ โ›บ๏ธ ๐ŸŸ ๐Ÿ’›

Purse State Park (Nanjemoy WMA with Mallows Bay) Charles County, MD ๐ŸŒณ ๐ŸŒŠ ๐Ÿ›ถ ๐ŸŸ ๐Ÿ’›

Prince William Forest Prince William County, VA ๐ŸŒณ ๐Ÿ’ฆ ๐Ÿšฒ โ›บ๏ธ ๐ŸŸ

Quiet Waters Park Annapolis, MD ๐ŸŒณ ๐Ÿ’ฆ

Riverbend Park Great Falls, VA ๐ŸŒณย ๐Ÿ’ฆ ๐ŸŸ

River Farm Alexandria, VA ๐Ÿ’ฆ ๐ŸŒธ

Rock Creek Park Washington, DC ๐ŸŒณย ๐Ÿ’ฆ ๐ŸŸ ๐Ÿ’›

Roosevelt Islandย Washington, DC (parking in Arlington, VA) ๐ŸŒณ ๐Ÿ’ฆ

Sandy Point State Park Annapolis, MD ๐ŸŒณ ๐ŸŒŠ ๐ŸŸ

Scottโ€™s Run Nature Preserve McLean, VA ๐ŸŒณ ๐Ÿ’ฆ (no swimming or wading)

Seneca Creek State Park Gaithersburg, MD ๐ŸŒณ ๐Ÿ’ฆ ๐Ÿšฒ ๐Ÿ›ถ ๐ŸŸ

Shenandoah National Parkย Virginia ๐ŸŒณ ๐Ÿ’ฆ ๐Ÿšฒ โ›บ๏ธ ๐ŸŸ ๐Ÿ’›

Sky Meadows State Park Delaplane, VA ๐ŸŒณ ๐Ÿ’ฆ ๐Ÿšฒ โ›บ๏ธ ๐ŸŸ

Sugarloaf Mountainย Dickerson, MD ๐ŸŒณ ๐Ÿ’›

Terrapin Nature Area Stevensville, MDย ๐ŸŒณ ๐ŸŒŠย 

Tudor Placeย Washington, DC (opens July 30) ๐ŸŒธ

Turkey Run Parkย McLean, VA ๐ŸŒณ ๐Ÿšฒ

Underground Railroad (Woodlawn Manor) Sandy Spring, MD ๐ŸŒณ ๐Ÿ’›

Watkins Nature Centerย Upper Marlboro, MD ๐ŸŒณ ๐Ÿ’ฆ

Westmoreland State Park Montross, VA ๐ŸŒŠ โ›บ๏ธ ๐ŸŸ

Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park Sandy Spring, MD ๐ŸŒณ

Wye Island Natural Resources Management Areaย Queenstown, MD ๐ŸŒŠ ๐Ÿ›ถ ๐ŸŸ

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 toย 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!

This article does contain Amazon affiliate links. If you choose to purchase through these links, our site will get a teeny tiny portion and we would be so grateful!