Parks and Recreation

Fairfax County is rich with green space and opportunities to explore the great outdoors. With more than 30,000 acres of parkland, the county is home to Great Falls National Park (pro tip: great kayaking) as well as Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge (pro tip: it was America’s first refuge for the bald eagle, and it has great hiking and biking).

The award-winning Fairfax County Park Authority operates 420 parks, eight recreation centers, five nature centers, a working farm and mill, equestrian trails, seven public golf courses and 11 off-leash dog parks. NOVA Parks (aka the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority) maintains the 45-mile W&OD Trail, one of the nation’s premier linear parks, which bisects Fairfax County, along with parks that offer great access to the Potomac and Occoquan rivers and have lots of ways to spend a day outside.

Just a few hours away by car are these popular outdoor magnets:

  • The Blue Ridge Mountains offer scenic overlooks of Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley and have lots of hiking, climbing, biking and picknicking opportunities.
  • Ocean lovers flock to Atlantic Beach resorts that include Virginia Beach, Va., Ocean City, Md., and Rehoboth Beach, Del.
  • The Chesapeake Bay is renowned for some of the best fishing (and seafood!) on the east coast.
  • Downhill skiers enjoy the slopes in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania.