Once the pandemic hit the region, it seems like everyone took up walking as a way to pass the time. Now six months into social distancing, you’re probably getting tired of the same trails and walks around the neighborhood. With autumn right around the corner, take advantage of the changing scenery and bring your daily walk to one of these six locations by the water.
With 10 parks located on the water, the Alexandria Waterfront is a perfect place to have a walk with a view. With the Mount Vernon Trail connecting these parks, walkers can easily jump from park to park throughout the day. // 1 Price St., Alexandria; free
Take your afternoon walk to the shores of Burke Lake Park. The 888-acre park’s popular walking trail is Burke Lake Loop; which consists of a path that follows the shoreline for a complete 4.7-mile loop around the lake. This trail, with both paved and unpaved stretches, is perfect for a stroll with the kids or a quick jog around the lake. // 7315 Ox Road, Fairfax Station; free
Have a relaxing outing along the rushing water at Great Falls. Walk down the Patowmack Canal Trail or River trail for relaxing sounds and stunning views of the waterfalls. The national park also has eight other hiking trails with difficulty ranging from easy to moderate. // 9200 Old Dominion Drive, McLean; free
Enjoy a walk along the beach, minus the crowd, at Lake Anna State Park. With more than 15 miles of trails and endless views of both the lake and the beautiful scenery, a walk around this park will beat your neighborhood any day. // 6800 Lawyers Road, Spotsylvania; free
Make the trip over to Woodbridge for a walk around Leesylvania State Park. Surrounded by three bodies of water – Neabsco Creek, Powells Creek and the Potomac River – this state park offers multiple hiking trails with a view. Enjoy Potomac Trail for a stroll down the shoreline of the river or hike Bushey Point Trail for a view of fishers and kayakers on the creek. // 2001 Daniel K. Ludwig Drive, Woodbridge; free
If you’re looking for a change of scenery, bring your walk to the gardens. While Meadowlark Botanical Gardens is known for its beautiful blooms throughout the year, the grounds are also home to three lakes; Lake Lina, Lake Caroline and Lake Gardiner. These bodies of water are a great place to see native wildlife and relax after a hard day’s work. // 9750 Meadowlark Gardens Court Vienna; $3-$6