These past two years have reaffirmed that we are so lucky to live in the Washington DC area with our kids! There is so much to explore, learn and do in our backyard. I’ve lived in the area for the past 12 years, 9 of them with kids and want to share a couple of our favorite spots in the area as a family.
Meadowlark Botanical Gardens – Vienna, Virginia
We are long-time fans of Meadowlark Botanical Garden in Vienna and return here in every season! The garden is 95 acres of beautiful trees, flowers, paved trails, lake with huge fish, Children’s Garden and Korean Bell Garden.
In the winter, you must check out my favorite local light display, the Winter Walk of Lights. And Meadowlark is a great spot in the spring to see cherry blossoms bloom.
Admission Cost: Free under age 6, $3 for ages 6-17, $6 for adults and $3 for over 55.
Stroller Friendly: Yes, it is very stroller friendly and wheelchair accessible too.
Amenities: Clean permanent restrooms are in the Welcome Center
Kingman and Heritage Islands and The Fields Playground – Northeast Washington, D.C.
Did you know DC has 10 islands? You can visit 2 of them plus one of the best playgrounds in the city in one outing in Northeast DC! Kingman and Heritage Islands are in the Anacostia River and are designated as a State Conservation Area. It is such a cool area with boardwalks, lots of birds, turtles, and public art.
Less than a block away is The Fields at RFK Stadium with a wonderful sports-themed playground. My kids love this playground for all the unique features like a “surfboard,” merry-go-round, lots of climbing structures and swings. I like that it’s all AstroTurf and there is a little kids area connected to the big kids’ area. Also, great shaded area with picnic tables and nearby permanent restrooms. Always nice to not have to use porta-potties!
Admission Cost: Free!
Stroller Friendly: The playground is stroller and wheelchair accessible, but the islands have a boardwalk for part of the time. (Still accessible but not 100% paved).
Amenities: Clean permanent restrooms near the playground.
Wheaton Regional Park – Wheaton, Maryland
Wheaton Regional Park is our favorite park that we’ve been to in Maryland. Even though we live in Virginia, we have returned to introduce it to our friends and enjoy it year-round!
There is so much to do at this park, especially for kids! The Adventure Playground lives up to its name with 3 really long (and fast!) tube slides, a giant turf hill to sled down (bring cardboard!), ropes course, swings and little kids’ area.
The highlight of the park is probably the Miniature Train and Carousel a 5-minute walk from the playground. For $2.50 a ticket you get a ride through the woods and during holidays they have special themed rides! This is a great park to hang out with family or friends as there are dozens of picnic tables, shelters and even a pinata pole! (BYO Pinata!)
If time allows, check out the neighboring Brookside Gardens which is attached to the park. It is 50 acres large and all free as well! There is always something in bloom in the Spring and Summer and in the Winter, they have a lovely Garden of Lights that we loved last year.
Admission Cost: Park and Playground are free! Miniature Train and Carousel tickets are $2.50 a ticket.
Stroller Friendly: Yes, it is very stroller friendly and wheelchair accessible too with paved paths.
Amenities: Permanent restrooms near the Adventure Playground and another set at the Train Depot.