Here are some great things to do outside in the Haymarket and Gainesville area this Summer 2017 …
Now that school is out, there’s no better way to enjoy family time than to get outside and get active this summer 2016. Northern Virginia and the surrounding region offers something for everyone. Have a great summer!
If you’re thinking of moving the Haymarket area and are looking at homes, call Bryan Garcia of EXIT Heritage Realty @ or email Bryan at BryanGarcia@exitheritage.com and he can show you around!
Located in nearby Centreville, Bull Run Regional Park offers 1,500 acres of natural space and facilities for all kinds of activities and outdoor adventures. Bring the family for a day of water fun at Atlantis Waterpark, book one of the large picnic areas for a family picnic or whiffle ball game, or hike the leisurely Bluebell Trail, a one and a half mile loop that explores the forest around Bull Run. There are over 25 varieties of wildflowers in bloom over the course of spring and summer on this trail.
For the more adventurous, hike the Bull Run/Occoquan Trail, the park system’s longest natural surface trail and what some call the region’s “best kept secret”. Perfect for moderate to experienced hikers, this path covers more than 5,000 acres of scenic woodlands and some of the region’s richest untapped historic resources. It connects Bull Run, Hemlock Overlook, Bull Run Marina and Fountainhead Regional Parks. This trail is over 19 miles long and is point-to-point so plan your hike accordingly. Visit www.NovaParks.com Trails for more information.
Or, make a weekend of it and camp overnight! There are campsites with electricity and water, a bathhouse and a playground. The are also nine rustic cabins available to rent year round that offer electricity, air conditioning/heat and two rooms. Cabins can be booked online but do go quickly. To book all camping, call 866-881-0809 or visit NovaParks.com and go to the Cabins & Camping page.
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The Washington & Old Dominion Trail (W&OD Trail) runs more than 40 miles from Arlington to Purcellville, but the 10 miles from Leesburg to Purcellville (20 miles round trip) is arguably the best stretch of this paved bike path. There are fewer people to share the path with, the views are fantastic and the stretch is bookended by two charming towns—Leesburg and Purcellville—to explore on either end of your ride.
Along this moderate trail, you’ll pass by beautiful rolling hills and pastoral farms as well as a stretch of majestic trees that create a looming wooded canopy. There are several resting stops and porta potties along the way.
Pack up your bikes on a bike rack. If you don’t own one, Haymarket Bicycles in downtown Haymarket, offers a wide selection starting at about $150.00. Mention Haymarket Homeowner and they’ll offer our readers a 10% discount.
Take Route 15 east towards Leesburg. In Leesburg, take a right at Catoctin Circle and a left onto Harrison. There’s parking on the right and the trail is right there.
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Located about an hour away in the Harpers Ferry, West Virginia area there are several white water rafting and outdoor adventure companies that offer white water rafting trips. Rafting on the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers during the summer is perfect for beginners and younger family members due to lower water levels.
If you’ve never rafted before, don’t be intimidated. It’s pretty much a fun, safe experience for all ages and everything you need is provided. Typical trips run about a half day and include basic orientation, all the necessary gear and an experienced guide in each raft. Water bucket fights are common between rafts when gliding along the calmer waters. Be prepared to get wet!
Check out riverriders.com or harpersferryadventurecenter.com for more information.
This may seem a little overwhelming for parents, but the kids do LOVE a good waterpark—even if you have a nice community pool. Heck, many parents enjoy it too!
SplashDown Waterpark in Manassas, operated by the Prince William County Department of Parks and Recreation, features five water areas and includes two, 70 foot waterslides, two fast cannonball slides, a zero depth beach area, boat slide, water raindrops and bubbles, a lazy river, shower facility, lockers, volleyball, tennis, and more! There’s one admission price for all the park has to offer and unlimited use during each visit. Daily tickets and season passes available. For more information visit SplashdownWaterpark.com.
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Penguin Paddling is a full service kayak and paddle board outfitter with two locations in eastern Prince William County—Occoquan and Woodbridge. They offer on and off-site kayak and paddle board rentals, tours, custom events for groups and trips for individuals of all levels. Basic instruction, safety tips and pointers are provided by the friendly and knowledgeable staff. They pride themselves on providing quality equipment and life-long family memories!
What’s SUP? You may have heard this term, meaning “stand up paddling”. If you haven’t tried it yet, it’s fairly easy to get the hang of with a little balance and coordination. The Occoquan shop is located in an old town full of charm. The paddling there is great, with flat water and many birds and other wildlife abound. After your excursion, enjoy the many shops and restaurants of Occoquan.
The shop in Woodbridge feels like it is worlds away! Surrounded by three protected wildlife areas on Neabsco Creek, Potomac Boat Rentals provides a great opportunity to see bald eagles, osprey, herons, beavers and other critters. Kayak or paddle left out of the beautiful marina and you will find yourself exploring the majestic marshes of the Julie J. Metz Wetlands. Turn right out of our marina and you will find yourself on the shores of the Potomac River exploring Featherstone National Wildlife Refuge.
Visit www.penguinpaddling.com for both locations. Call 571-409-1778 for more information on Occoquan. Call 703-221-4915 for Woodbridge.
What better way to enjoy the outdoors with the family than to watch a movie under the stars? Located less than an hour away, the Family Drive-In Theater in Stevens City, VA just off Route 81 near Winchester, is the only remaining drive-in theater in the Washington metropolitan area. This drive-in combines good old-fashioned features like a playground and car speakers with the modern technology of digital projection and car stereo sound.
Pack up the family, a blanket and even the dog and head out for a double feature at an affordable price. There are two screens to choose from with first-run features, as well as some classic films, that run all summer. Don’t forget to visit the concession stand which helps keep this retro institution running. It offers everything you would imagine—burgers, dogs, cotton candy, popcorn, snow cones and more. For showtimes and directions, visit thefamilydriveintheatre.com.
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This a fantastic way to take in the beautiful grounds of Great Meadow in The Plains, VA while enjoying a spirited match of Twilight Polo. If you’ve never been to a Polo match, you’re in for a treat. Twilight Polo is an easy introduction to the sport—which has been referred to as “hockey on horseback”. This version is set on a smaller field and spectators of all ages gather on a grassy hill with blankets and picnics.
Early tailgating is popular and spectators may purchase food on site or bring their own. Festive themes each week like Disney, Preppy in Pink and Beach Party add to the fun. Matches are held on Saturday nights through September 23rd.
Gates open at 5:30 and the first match of three matches begins at 6 p.m. Entry is $30 per carload ($25 presale online). Visit www.greatmeadow.org for more information.
Check this one off your bucket list! Experience the aerial wonder of a hot air balloon ride, and see the earth and our beautiful region as never before. With offices in Aldie, VA, Balloons Unlimited, Inc. operates all over the northern Virginia area. Hot air balloon rides (photo at right courtesy of Balloons Unlimited Inc.) are a great activity for families, friends or romantic outings. Feel the exhilaration of morning-fresh country air or toast to the sunset at days end with the traditional Champagne Balloon Flight.
Balloons Unlimited schedules flights daily, all year round, weather permitting. If you have a special day in mind, it’s best to book three to four weeks in advance, otherwise they give you the next available flight time that may be convenient for you. If the weather doesn’t cooperate on your selected day, an alternate time will be arranged.
Call (703) 327-0444 to book a flight or visit BalloonsUnlimited.com for more information.
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Go Fly a Kite
When was the last time you flew a kite? Kite flying is an activity that children of all ages (and their parents) have enjoyed for centuries, literally. Visit HobbyWorks at the Fair City Mall in Fairfax for a wide selections of kites, or order one online from HobbyWorks.com or Amazon.com.
Take your colorful aerial toys to the Manassas Battlefield behind the Stone House. There’s a large, open field there that is perfect for diving and dipping. Head over in the evening, with a blanket and snacks, and catch a magnificent sunset to end the day.
Thinking of moving to the Haymarket area? Call Bryan Garcia of EXIT Heritage Realty @ or email Bryan at BryanGarcia@exitheritage.com and he can show you around!
See this original article in the Summer 2016 of Haymarket Homeowner: