Tag Archives: Kids activities in and around Washington

Scenes from a Fall Day at Huntley Meadows Park

Lately, it’s been a little harder for us to plan weekend outings as a family. Saturdays and Sundays are often busy with sports, and as the kids have gotten older, they (well, mostly Owen) want to hang out with their friends more than they want to with Levi and me (why? we’re so cool!).

So, it was really nice recently when we had a long stretch of time between a morning soccer practice and an evening soccer game, and no one had anything else going on. Well, I had one small errand to run in Alexandria, so we decided to plan around that. We wanted to take advantage of the beautiful fall day and opted for a hike at Huntley Meadows Park, easily one of the best places, in my opinion, to enjoy the outdoors in that area.

Huntley Meadows Park makes for a great outing any time of year, but it’s especially lovely now as the leaves start to turn, and the weather is pleasant for walking the boardwalk that spans the beautiful wetlands.

I first learned about the park from my friend Darcy nearly a decade ago, and we have been many times since. And even in the kids’ tween and teen years, they (we) still really enjoy a visit there — hiking the trail, looking for frogs and other creatures, and taking in the beautiful scenery. Better now, though, is that we don’t have to worry about them falling in the marsh! 😉

Huntley Meadows Park is located at 3701 Lockheed Blvd in Alexandria. It’s open daily from dawn to dusk, and admission is free. You can read more about it in this post. And here are more scenes from our recent visit.

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Filed under 2019, All ages, Educational, Fall, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend

Explore the Woods and Wetlands at Huntley Meadows Park


I’m a big proponent for getting outdoors no matter the time of year, and when it’s a sunny, 60+ degree day during the winter, well, that’s a no-brainer. The recent spate of warmish weather around Christmas was a perfect case-in-point, and we headed to Huntley Meadows Park in Alexandria to enjoy it one afternoon.



Huntley Meadows is not a new KFDC destination or recommendation; in fact, it’s included in the big outdoors list. It’s another one of those parks that exist in an unexpected place. It seems that one minute you’re driving through a typical suburban area, the next you’re in the middle of a natural haven.



There are trails, wildlife sightings, and plenty of nature to explore on the 1,425 acres of woods and wetlands throughout this park in Alexandria. Dirt trails wind through the clusters of tall trees, while a boardwalk takes you over the marshy areas, with cattail and cord grass sprouting up around it. During the warmer months, you’re practically guaranteed to spot turtles of all sizes, frogs, great blue herons, cardinals, and a variety of other birds. Keep following the boardwalk, and you’ll eventually come to a lookout, where you can take in the vistas.



The entire hike is just over a mile, and there are lookouts and benches where you can stop for breaks and snacks along the way to make it a few hours’ outing. Be sure to stop in the Visitors Center for interactive exhibits and photos of the area.




Huntley Meadows Park is located at 3701 Lockheed Blvd in Alexandria. It’s open daily from dawn to dusk, and the Visitors Center is open every day but Tuesday 11am – 4pm from December 1 – February 28, and 9am – 5pm weekdays the rest of the year (weekend hours vary so be sure to check the schedule). Admission is free.


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Filed under All ages, Animals, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend

How ‘Bout Them Apples?

It’s time for one of fall’s best traditions: apple picking! The season is already underway at many area orchards, but with so many apple varieties that ripen at different times, the pickings often last through October, sometimes even into November. Here’s a selection of farms and orchards where you can pick your own. My disclaimer: I haven’t been to every one of these places, but they all come recommended through local sources. If you have feedback on any of them, feel free to add it to the comments section. And if you have any good apple-inspired recipes, by all means share that, too. Happy picking!

Homestead Farms
Where: Poolesville, MD
When: Open daily, 9am–5:30pm,
Seasonal scoop: The apple picking season started in late August and is expected to last through the end of October. Bring your own container for collecting your fruits or purchase one there. You can also visit farm animals, and their seasonal festival begins in a couple weeks.

Larriland Farms
Where: Woodbine, MD
When: Saturday & Sunday 9am-5pm, Tuesday-Friday 9am-6pm, closed Mondays in September, but open Mondays in October 9am-5pm.
Seasonal scoop: A few varieties are already ripe for picking. Empire apple picking will begin on September 17. And many more are harvested in October. See the list here to see when you can snag your favorites.

Butler’s Orchard
Where: Germantown, MD
When: Tuesday – Sunday 9:30am–5:30pm
Seasonal scoop: The orchard opens with Jonathan apples on September 13, and more varieties will come later. The picking season lasts through September.  (And a heads-up: their Annual Pumpkin Festival runs every weekend in October.)

Rock Hill Orchard
Where: Mount Airy, MD
When: Mondays 12-5:30pm, Tuesday – Saturday 9am-5:30pm, Sunday 9am-4:30pm.
Seasonal scoop: The apple picking season just opened September 12. Gala and Empires are ready to pick.

Stribling Orchard
Where: Markham, VA
When: Tuesday – Sunday, 9am-5pm, closed the Tuesday after Columbus Day
Seasonal scoop: Several varieties have already been picked, but McIntosh, Empire, Jonathan, Grimes Golden, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious are ready now. While you’re there, see their historic buildings, visit farm animals, and enjoy scenic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Baugher’s Orchard & Farm
Where: Westminster, MD
When: Pick-your-own is 9am-5pm Friday-Sunday, but the farm is open daily 8am-6pm
Seasonal scoop: The apple picking season is open. You can also enjoy a petting zoo, playground, and wagon rides.

Hartland Orchard
Where: Markham, VA
When: Open daily 8am–6pm
Seasonal scoop: A huge variety of apples grow in the orchard, which opened for picking in early September. Their Fall Festival weekends begin September 17–see what that includes here.

Marker-Miller Orchards
Where: Winchester, VA
When: Monday – Friday 9am-6pm, Saturday 9am-5pm, Sunday 12-5pm
Seasonal scoop: They currently have Empire and Golden Delicious apples, and more varieties will be ready to pick soon.  Their Fall Farm Fun Festival is September 24-25, and their Apple Harvest Festival is October 8-9.  Other days, family fun includes a playground, wagon rides, and a cow train.



Filed under All ages, Eats, Farm, Maryland, Outdoor, Seasonal, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend