Updated September 14, 2022. As the dog days of summer transition into crisp fall mornings and brisk evenings, enjoy the cooling temps and take advantage of the changing scenery by heading outside. With autumn right around the corner, stretch your legs with a stroll around these bodies of 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 Prince St., Alexandria; free
Burke Lake Park
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 Rd., Fairfax Station; free
Great Falls Park
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 Dr., McLean; $10-$20
Lake Anna State Park
Enjoy a walk along the beach, minus the crowd, at Lake Anna. 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 Rd., Spotsylvania; free
Leesylvania State Park
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 Dr., Woodbridge; free
Meadowlark Botanical Gardens
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 Lena, 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 Ct., Vienna; $3-$6
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