We've assembled some helpful transportation tips and links for visitors planning Fairfax County vacations. This should help you plan your journey to, and around, Northern Virginia.
Visitors who choose to drive to Fairfax County and the National Capital region can utilize four major interstates to get you here. Interstates 66, 95, 395, and 495 all run through Fairfax County and are the main transportation arteries by which many people travel here.
Interstate 495 - commonly referred to as the Capital Beltway - wraps around Washington D.C. and runs through Fairfax County, and other portions of Northern Virginia and Maryland. To help make your trip more predictable, and faster during rush hours, you can use the 495 Express Lanes. The 495 Express Lanes are tolled lanes that operate alongside the regular lanes on the Virginia side of I-495. All drivers need an E-ZPass or E-ZPass Flex to use the 495 Express Lanes. With three or more people (HOV-3+) and an E-ZPass Flex, you can travel toll-free 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Interstate 95 - is also another direct route into the region accessible from both the north or south. I-95 to the south of Capital Beltway utilizes High Occupancy Travel (HOT) lanes that operate in the middle of the interstate from Stafford County to Fairfax County and are about 30 miles long. The lanes are reversible, meaning they allow for northbound traffic in the morning rush hour, and switch to southbound in the afternoon for the evening rush hour. This road is tolled similar to the I-495 lanes. Buses, carpools with three or more people (HOV-3+) and an E-ZPass Flex switched to HOV mode, motorcycles and emergency vehicles can use the Lanes without paying a toll. Find out more about the I-95 express lanes here.
Fairfax County is flanked on our eastern and western borders by two of the most iconic airports in the nation. So if you are arriving by plane you have multiple arrival options and dozens of airlines to choose from.
Washington Dulles International Airport - is adjacent to Fairfax County to the west, and welcomes flights from around the world daily. Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) is the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region's gateway to the world, offering non-stop flights to 138 domestic and international destinations on 38 airlines.
Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport - is located just to the east of Fairfax County in Arlington County. Primarily serving as a "short-haul" airport, Reagan National offers nonstop service to destinations no further than a 1,250 mile perimeter from Washington, D.C. as part of the federally-instituted “Perimeter Rule.” Over the years, the federal government has granted exceptions to this rule, allowing daily flights to several cities beyond the perimeter including Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Ore., San Diego and Austin.
Baltimore/Washington International Airport - is an hour or so north of Fairfax County. People visiting sometimes utilize this airport as well if certain carriers or discounted flights are available. While it's a little further away, interstate access makes typically makes this an easy drive outside of rush hour.
Fairfax County is served by ten Metrorail stations located at West Falls Church, Merrifield/Dunn Loring, Vienna/Fairfax/GMU, Huntington, Franconia/Springfield, McLean, Spring Hill, Tysons Corner, Greensboro, and Wiehle-Reston East. You can view a map of the entire metro system here. Or you can get detailed information about a particular station here. Many of these stations also offer daily parking facilities and bicycle racks, though not all stations have parking. First time riders can find a useful how-to guide detailing fare information and other useful tips on the Metrorail website. Metrorail expansion will continue with Phase 2, adding additional stops in Reston and Herndon, and will extend out to Washington Dulles International Airport. Phase 2 is scheduled for completion around 2020. Please note: Metro sometimes conducts maintenance projects that cause delays and disruptions. Please visit their website for specific information on how it may affect your travel plans.
The Virginia Rail Express operates two commuter rail lines: one from Manassas and the other from Fredericksburg to Union Station in Washington, D.C. Five stations are located in Fairfax County: Lorton and Franconia/Springfield on the Fredericksburg line and Backlick Road, Rolling Road and Burke Centre on the Manassas line. All Fairfax County VRE stations offer park-and-ride lots.
Amtrak is the national passenger rail service between Union Station in Washington, D.C., and major eastern cities, with connections to other areas. Auto ferry service (the AutoTrain) is available from Lorton, Virginia to Sanford, Florida. You can also take Amtrak's Northeast Regional line from parts of Southern Virginia (such as Lynchburg or Norfolk) straight to Burke Centre in Fairfax County.
Metrobus operates routes in many parts of Fairfax County including Annandale, Burke, Baileys Crossroads, Seven Corners, Tysons Corner, Alexandria, Fort Belvoir, and Springfield. You may catch Metrobus at any Metrorail station or at any of the Metrobus bus stop signs along the route. Almost all Metrobus routes connect with Metrorail stations.
Use any of these links to find information on the different transportation options offered to individuals coming to Fairfax County and the Capital Region.