National Arboretum offers all the beauty with fewer crowds

A friend of mine posted an “Introvert’s guide to the cherry blossoms” on her Facebook page. It said: Step 1- plant your own cherry tree. Step 2- stay home.Redbud trees and camellias in bloom at the National Arboretum

My personal favorite insider tip is the National Arboretum. It sees much less traffic than the tidal basin, but is easily as beautiful. And the blooms there do not stop when the notoriously fickle cherry blossom peak time is over, either. Last weekend, the cherry trees were at peak bloom, and the red buds weren’t far behind. This weekend, you should see some gorgeous dogwoods, more spectacular performance from the redbuds, and there may also be apple blossoms.

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little apple picker at stribling orchard Photo Credit Dana Sasser

Member Review: Stribling Apple Orchard

Plenty of space for the kids to run and have fun! Great photo ops! About just over a dozen choices of apples: pre-picked and you pick available. And you can drive through the orchard! Pumpkins also available (pre-picked). Family owned and operated farm, just don’t feed the livestock! Great for children of all ages! They even have a country store with fresh baked items and canned items. Free to go in! About 45 min west of Alexandria. Closes 1st week in Nov. also, 1/2 price grounders! So we picked 2 bushels $40

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tic tac toe game Potomac Overlook Regional Park

Potomac Overlook Park: Playground and more

If you’re looking for an outdoor adventure that is fun, active AND educational, look no further than Potomac Overlook Park. There is no part of the park where they haven’t tucked something visually interesting, educational, or physically challenging. The hiking trail is appropriate for steady, mobile children. For toddlers and babies you will need a pack, as there are several stream crossings and steep areas that are not suitable for any kind of stroller.

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Dirt makes a difference: 3+ ways you can do outdoor science with your kids.

You can spend 20 minutes in the dirt this month that change everyone’s lives forever. DUHN DUHN DUUUUUUUUHN! Does that sound overly dramatic? Well it sort of is, and sort of isn’t. You CAN make a difference in a small amount of time. Here are some hands-on activities you and your kids can do in Northern VA that will allow your kids to participate in *real* science and also to learn “soft” concepts like stewardship, community action, and responsibility.

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Sea Monster at Chessie's Backyard Playground

The Newest Phase of Chessie’s Backyard Playground is here!

My kids loved this so much that they didn’t want to go home even though they were hungry for dinner. My littlest had to be carried to the parking lot, shouting “WANT THE PARK!” the whole way. (Of course, he’s two, so whether that’s an endorsement or just trouble with transitions is debatable. But he had a REALLY good time!)

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Tic Tac Toe at Lake Accotink Park

Lake Accotink Park

The Lake Accotink Park playground is located near the carousel and the marina. There are restrooms and ample parking. The playground surface is mulch. It is not fully enclosed, but it is far enough from the road that you should be able to catch a runner before they hit the street, and the picnic areas (including reservable areas for parties) are adjacent to the playground.

There is also a good, sandy beach for you kiddo who loves to dig, and the park trail goes right by the playground if you want to plan your hike so you can take a break for some play.

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