Ah, spring. After a chilly start to March, things are finally beginning to bloom. Northern Virginia Magazine has rounded up the great trails and gardens that transform in springtime. Why not take some time to “stop and smell the roses,” as they say?
Theodore Roosevelt Island
Theodore Roosevelt Island is in the Potomac River. You can get to it from the Mount Vernon Trail. The trail at Theodore Roosevelt Island is an easy one, perfect for kids. And it’s dog-friendly. There are gravel, boardwalk, and dirt pathways along the one-and-a-half-mile Swamp Trail, and the 89-acre island has lots of trees and greenery. There are two shorter trails on the island. While there, you also get the bonus of learning all about one of our presidents. Allow an hour to an hour-and-a-half for the trail, especially if you’re with little ones. It does get crowded on weekends. If you can, try going on a weekday. Open every day. Free. George Washington Memorial Parkway northbound lanes between Roosevelt Bridge and Key Bridge
Lake Mercer Lake Loop
Craving some lake time this spring? Lake Mercer in Springfield has a wonderful trail around the lake, full of lush greens when the trees are in full bloom. It’s nice and shady and quite relaxing, perfect for a weekend pick-me-up. The loop runs 4.2 miles and is mostly paved. Dogs are welcome along the walk, which typically takes about two hours. Enjoy the lake views, including the one about halfway at the Lake Mercer Dam. Free. 9500 Silverbrook Rd., Fairfax Station
Meadowlark Botanical Gardens
Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna comes alive in the springtime, with flowers, shrubs, trees, and more. The center of Meadowlark is the gardens, a perfect place to relax and enjoy the large ornamental and native plant collections, cherry blossoms, forest gardens, koi ponds, and more. In the spring, thousands of different bulbs bloom, making for a rainbow of color. From March through May, expect daffodils, tulips, dogwoods, peonies, magnolias, azaleas, and more in peak bloom. Plan to spend a lot of time at the gardens, as there are nearly 100 acres to explore. Admission is $3 for ages 6 to 17 and anyone 55 or older; $6 for ages 18 to 54. Open every day, except major holidays. 9750 Meadowlark Gardens Ct., Vienna
River Farm Garden
River Farm in Alexandria, once owned by George Washington, is currently home to the American Horticultural Society, which is over 100 years old. The farm includes 25 landscaped acres that overlook the Potomac River. There’s a small orchard and meadow that lead to the river that are quiet and peaceful. The Children’s Garden at River Farm is wonderful — it is one of the first dedicated children’s gardens in North America. Also, history buffs will love that a gate that once stood at the White House’s northeast entrance is there. The farm is open Monday through Saturday. Admission is free. 7931 E. Boulevard Dr., Alexandria
This post from March 18, 2022 has been updated.
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