By Katie Bowles
It’s technically been spring for almost a week now, but NoVA weather still doesn’t seem to want to cooperate. Case in point: two days ago it was 70 degrees outside, but Tuesday there’s a chance of snow–how is that even possible? With weather like this, it’s hard to make plans in advance, which often leads to beautiful days spent wasted indoors trying to figure out what to do. Stop wondering and leave the planning to us–here are seven last-minute activity ideas for those surprise warm weather days.
1. Get active
Northern Virginia is home to over 100 miles of maintained biking and jogging trails (like the W& OD and Mount Vernon Trails), and is also just 70 miles away from the hiking trails of Shenandoah National Park. Enjoy the sun and get a workout in (or just take a light stroll, we won’t tell).
2. Eat a meal in the sun
Head to a local restaurant with outdoor seating or ditch the waiters and create your own outdoor meal, picnic-style. Head to one of NoVA’s many public parks or just throw down a blanket in your yard. Bonus: warm weather sandwiched in between snow days means that bugs and allergies won’t be bothering us yet.
3. Take in some nature
Head to a Northern Virginia state park (like Mason Neck or Leesylvania) or a public park (like Huntley Meadows) and search for critters–humans aren’t the only ones who enjoy unseasonably warm weather. Over 200 species of birds have been spotted in Huntley Meadows alone; how many can you find?
Check out one of NoVA’s many wineries and enjoy a glass of sangria in the sun. Surprise warm weather means that vineyards won’t be as crowded as they become in the summer; maybe you’ll even get a private tour.
5. Get in the team spirit
Break out the tennis racquet or basketball that’s been hiding in your closet all winter and head to a local court for a pickup game. Don’t feel like leaving your neighborhood? Grass, some friends and a football is all you need for backyard fun.
6. Catch your own food…
Spring fishing season is in full effect at Lake Fairfax, which was stocked with trout at the end of February. Fishermen are allowed to catch up to six fish per day–challenge accepted. Reminder: Virginia Fishing Licenses and trout permits from Lake Fairfax are required to fish. Get your Virginia license here and your trout permit at Lake Fairfax’s main office.
7. …then cook it outdoors.
Nothing says summer (or at least warm weather) like charred food. Throw the trout you caught on the grill and let the coals do the work. Consider using vegetables from a local farmer’s market in your side dishes for a truly authentic Northern Virginia meal.