A family vacation sounds like a great idea, especially as thoughts turn toward spring break. But where will you go? How will you keep the whole family engaged and entertained? Before you give up and end up going to a massive amusement park for a week of chaos and overstimulation, consider a trip to Fairfax County, Virginia. 

Fairfax County promises all the best ways you could possibly spend spring break, all rolled into one trip. You’ll find educational opportunities focused on history, science, arts, and culture. Plenty of outdoor recreational opportunities. A world of dining options – literally – plus breweries, wineries, and luxury hotels that put you less than an hour from Washington, D.C.

With so many options available in close proximity, you and your family can easily build a trip that has something for everyone, including Mom and Dad. Here’s a quick rundown of just a handful of the many choices you have: 


For Science Lovers 

 Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center - Influencer Visit- Family Friendly

Image Courtesy of @welcomingsavannah

Did you know that some of the Smithsonian Institution’s largest exhibits are actually housed in Fairfax County? For example, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center displays thousands of aviation and space artifacts, including simulator rides that rival any amusement park, plus Space Shuttle Discovery and a Concorde. The Experiment Bar at the Children’s Science Center Lab offers so much hands-on fun, kids and adults may not even realize they’re learning.


For Nature Lovers 

Herndon Caboose - Biking - W&OD Trail

Less than an hour from one of the nation’s most densely populated cities, you’ll find places to hike, bike, horseback ride, or kayak at any one of more than 400 parks, marshes, and gardens in Fairfax County. One of the most unique is the Washington & Old Dominion Trail, the skinniest park in Virginia. The trail is 45 miles of paved trail for walking, running, bicycling, and skating, plus with 32 miles of gravel trail for horseback riding running alongside. It’s built on the roadbed of the former Washington & Old Dominion Railroad and runs from just east of Fairfax County all the way west through Purcellville, Virginia. 

At Great Falls Park, the Potomac River builds up speed and force as it falls over a series of steep, jagged rocks and flows through the narrow Mather Gorge. The surrounding park has plenty of opportunities to explore history and nature, all in a beautiful 800-acre park only 15 miles from the Nation's Capital. The Patowmack Canal offers a glimpse into the early history of this country, part of a 250-year-old river navigation system. 


For History Lovers

National Museum of the United States Army - U Boat - Exhibit

Virginia has been at heart of this country’s history since its founding, from the Revolutionary War to the first U.S. government to the Civil War and all the way to the present. Famous battlefields and homes – including George Washington’s Mount Vernon – help history come to life for visitors of any age. And Mount Vernon’s digital “Be Washington” interface literally puts visitors in the shoes of America’s first president. 

The Medal of Honor Experience at the National Museum of the United States Army offers similar interactive experiences, including the Beyond the Call exhibit. Visitors explore the history of the Medal of Honor as it relates to the Army, learn about the award recommendation process, and try out the “What Would You Do?” kiosk. Hear the stories of five Medal of Honor recipients and compare your decisions against the real scenario.


For Lovers of Food and Drink of all Kinds

Gopchang Story VA - Annandale - Korean BBQ - Centreville - Rights ManagedPhoto Courtesy of @gopchangstoryva

One of the best parts of any vacation is finding new and exciting places to eat, and Fairfax County will not disappoint. You’ll find globally inspired cuisine from Korean barbeque and pho to sushi, curry, and even a traditional Jewish deli. And no trip to the mid-Atlantic coast is complete without experiencing Maryland blue crab, especially at a local institution like Captain Pell’s.   

A sweet ending to a delicious vacation meal is a must, and Fairfax County offers more than its share of bakeries. From traditional French pastries at the Paris Baguette to over-the-top donuts at Duck Donuts, you’re bound to find something sugary and satisfying to top off your day. 


For Arts and Culture Lovers 

Wolf Trap Filene Center

Fairfax is home to the nation’s only national park dedicated to the performing arts—Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts. During the summer months, the park offers world-class musical and theater performances in two separate outdoor venues, the famous Filene Center and the Children’s Theatre-In-The-Woods. And during the fall and winter, performances move inside to The Barns at Wolf Trap two restored and relocated 18th Century barns.  

For a Quick Day Trip

Washington, DC - Aerial - Drone - Highway

Situated less than an hour’s drive from the nation’s capital, Fairfax makes for a great “home base” for a day-trip into Washington, DC.  You can even make the commute part of the fun if you opt for the Metro rather than driving. Iconic destinations including the Library of Congress, the White House, Washington Monument, plus Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials deserve to be on every bucket list. You can hit the high points with a scheduled bus tour or take in the sights at your own pace with a walking tour along the National Mall.   


For a Good Night’s Sleep 

The Watermark Hotel

Photo Courtesy of The Watermark Hotel

Fairfax County is known to be one of the best and most economical places to stay while visiting the Washington, DC area. The best thing about staying in Northern Virginia is that you’re incredibly close to the nation’s capital with additional access to great shopping, dining, hotels and more in Fairfax.


Make Family Trip Memories That Mean More in Fairfax County

Take the pressure off planning your next family trip, and head to Fairfax County. Whether you’re searching for a relaxing week outdoors, a high-energy educational trip, or a solid combination of the two, you’ll find activities for every age, every interest, and every energy level. In fact, you’ll find so many things to do, you’re bound to head back again and again. Learn more about what awaits in Fairfax County now. Tag us in your family's adventures using @VisitFairfax and #FXVA!