Spring break is the perfect time to take the family outdoors to experience nature.
“You can see the trees starting to bud and flowers in bloom while taking a scenic hike at any Virginia State Park location,” Virginia State Parks Director Dr. Melissa Baker said. “Camping locations offer a nighttime glance of the park and its surrounding wildlife. Sleeping under the stars is a unique way to connect with nature.”
Springtime park visits allow for more outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, kayaking and bird watching to help shake off those wintertime blues.
“Camping in spring is great because it’s not too hot and you can't beat the chorus of frogs and toads at night,” said Rebecca Whalen, Chief Ranger of Visitor Experience at Pocahontas State Park. “Fishing is super popular and so is bird watching. We are also excited for the ranger-guided programs as we’re ready for warmer weather so we can show our visitors everything the park and nature have to offer.”
All 41 Virginia State Parks offer self-guided explorations including backpacks with field guides and binoculars, GPS units to rent for geocaching, self-guided trails, scavenger hunts and other activities.
Many Virginia public libraries have nature backpacks available to check out. In addition to handy tools to investigate the natural world, the backpacks include a parking pass for free entrance to a state park.
“I see lots of families using the backpacks during their visits. The packs have field guides, observation jars and free passes to the parks. It provides the opportunity for a lot of family-led activities that help build confidence and connectedness,” Whalen said.
Virginia State Parks are managed by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. For more information about Virginia State Parks’ activities and amenities or to reserve one of the more than 1,800 campsites or 300 climate-controlled cabins, call the Virginia State Parks Reservation Center at 800-933-PARK or visit www.virginia state parks.gov.
In Fairfax County:
Mason Neck State Park
Elizabeth Hartwell Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge
7301 High Point Rd, Lorton, VA 22079
Not Too Far:
Leesylvania State Park
Details from Google Maps
2001 Daniel K Ludwig Dr, Woodbridge, VA 22191
Sky Meadows State Park
11012 Edmonds Ln, Delaplane, VA 20144
Shenandoah River State Park
350 Daughter of Stars Dr, Bentonville, VA 22610
Caledon State Park
11617 Caledon Rd, King George, VA 22485