Parks Guide : National Parks/Northern Va.
Manassas National Battlefield Park
12521 Lee Highway, Manassas
Manassas National Battlefield Park was established in 1940 to preserve the scene of two major Civil War battles. Located a few miles north of the prized railroad junction of Manassas, the peaceful Virginia countryside bore witness to clashes between the armies of the North and South in 1861 and 1862. The Henry Hill Visitor Center provides a good beginning point for park visitors. Visit the museum, see the film “Manassas End of Innocence,” or join a ranger on an interpretive tour about the First Battle of Manassas. The Eastern National Bookstore is also located in the visitor center. Open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. except Christmas and Thanksgiving.
Great Falls National Park
107 Park Headquarters Road, McLean
This park is composed of 800 acres along the Potomac River upriver from Washington, D.C. It is part of the George Washington Memorial Parkway, and known for its scenic beauty and the historic Patowmack Canal. The park is a day-use area and a fee is charged for admission. It is open every day except December 25. A visitor center provides orientation to the site and information about the recreation opportunities available. The park road and trails are open for hiking and exploring. Fishing for bass, catfish and carp is a popular activity on site, but a Virginia or Maryland fishing license is required. Rock climbing opportunities are available on site, but please register at the visitor center or lower parking lot before climbing. Pets must be leashed at all times.
Potomac Heritage Trail
Citizens in the Potomac Heritage Trail corridor are rediscovering history and reclaiming access to rivers and other outdoor places. The designation of a Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail corridor in 1983, an amendment to the National Trails System Act, is being used by communities in Virginia, Maryland, the District of Columbia and Pennsylvania to develop and make connections among trails, historic sites and a range of recreational and educational opportunities. In the Virginia/D.C. region, the trail exists in two places: The 184.5-mile C & O Canal Towpath between Georgetown and Cumberland, Md., managed by Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park; and the 17-mile Mount Vernon Trail and the 10-mile Potomac Heritage Trail in northern Virginia, managed by George Washington Memorial Parkway.
Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial
The house that Robert E. Lee called home for 30 years and one uniquely associated with the Washington and Custis families is preserved today as a memorial to General Lee. The house is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 a.m.; the museum is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The house and grounds are closed Dec. 25 and Jan. 1.
Claude Moore Colonial Farm
6310 Georgetown Pike, McLean
Claude Moore Colonial Farm is a living history site that demonstrates the life of a poor farm family living on a small farm in northern Virginia just prior to the American Revolutionary War. Open Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Free
LBJ Memorial Grove on the Potomac
George Washington Memorial Parkway, McLean
The Memorial is located in Lady Bird Johnson Park, a Potomac River island in Washington, D.C. The grove consists of two parts. The first area, commemorative in nature, is a granite monolith surrounded by a serpentine pattern of walks and trails. The second area is a grass meadow and provides a tranquil refuge for reflection. The trails are shaded by a grove of hundreds of white pine and dogwood trees, and framed by azaleas and rhododendron. Open year-round during daylight hours.
Theodore Roosevelt Island Park
George Washington Memorial Parkway, Turkey Run Park
Theodore Roosevelt was a man with vision. He considered the future before making decisions and his legacies still influence us. Perhaps his greatest legacy was in conservation. This wooded island is a fitting memorial to the outdoorsman, naturalist, and visionary who was our 26th President. Two and one-half miles of trails lead through the marsh, swamp and forest. Visitors often see birds or small mammals. Access to the island is available only from the northbound lane of the George Washington Memorial Parkway. Open throughout the year during daylight hours.
Wolftrap National Park for the Performing Arts
1551 Trap Road, Vienna
The first national park for the performing arts, this park offers wealth of natural and cultural resources to the Northern Virginia community and to the nation. The center has 3868 in-house seats, and is an open-air performing arts pavilion.
Prince William Forest Park
18100 Park Headquarters Road, Triangle
Established in 1936, Prince William Forest Park, Located in Prince William County, Virginia, is the largest protected natural area in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan region at over 15,000+ acres. Today, the park is a window into the past, of what much of the east coast once looked like centuries ago. A range of activities are offered, including hiking and backcountry camping. Permits required for camping. Open year-round, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. $5 entrance fee (good for seven days).