It might seem a bit counterintuitive to be posting about a great outdoor spot with the frigid temps and foul weather we’ve had lately. Part of my justification for the timing: Maybe thinking about future fun we’ll have outside will help us tolerate the winter conditions. The other part: I want to get this post up while our outing there isn’t so far behind us that I forget about it. (Plus, we’re about to have a couple of warmer, sunnier days, so this recommendation could come in handy sooner than later.)
We visited Pohick Bay Regional Park in November, when the foliage was at its peak, and the weather was a tad warmer (and by a tad, I mean about 30 degrees). We had a couple of motivations for choosing the spot for that afternoon’s outing: 1) We wanted to get out for a nice hike at a new (to us) place 2) We wanted said place to be convenient to The Block, an Asian street food hall in Annandale that we were keen on checking out. (KFDC Tip: Including fun food stops in the mix always seems to get kids — mine, anyway — more excited for new adventures.)
Pohick Bay Regional Park is located in Lorton, VA, about a 40 minute drive from DC. We went to do a little hiking, but there is actually much more to do there, though mostly from spring through early fall. Along with eight and half miles of hiking trails that traverse the wooded area and offer lovely views of the Bay, other year-round features include a disc golf course, a nearby regular golf course, fishing (license required in VA), equestrian trails, and a playground. During warmer seasons, there is mini golf, camping & cabins, paddling opportunities, and outdoor programs. And in the summer, Pirate’s Cove Waterpark looks like a super fun way to stay cool on hot days.
Since the gate house was closed when we went, there was no admission fee, but from mid-March to mid-October, entry is $8/car ($15/week). We followed signs to a parking area, then began our hike at a trailhead just off it. The trees were brilliant colors and the ground was covered with leaves, making for a lovely autumn walk. We only hiked in the woods for a couple of miles before coming out on a road and walking back to the playground not far from our car and just off the Bay. The kids played there for awhile — a perfect way to work up an appetite before hitting our next destination, The Block. Which, btw, I highly recommend!
Pohick Bay Regional Park
Where: 6501 Pohick Bay Drive | Lorton, VA
Hours: Daily, dawn – dusk
Admission: $8/car ($15/week) mid-March – mid-October / Free in winter
Where: 4221 John Marr Drive | Annandale, VA
Hours: Mon-Weds, Sun 11am – Midnight, Tues-Sat 11am – 2am
Admission: Free, but plan to spend on food!