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Fit in Falls Church: Getting Back to the Great Outdoors

By Gretchen Powell

Spring has sprung, Falls Church! And though we’re bound to continue to get the occasional shower every now and again, there are plenty of clear skies and sunny days ahead of us. I say it’s high time to pop a Claritin, strap on your walkin’ shoes, and get to know nature again!

While I love strolling around Cherry Hill Park as much as the next Falls Churcher, sometimes in order to truly embrace the great outdoors, we need to take a few steps outside of the 22046. So I’m here with a list of some great places to take a hike, plan a picnic, or just embrace good ol’ Mother Earth.

We’ll start close to home: Just a mere eight miles away lies Great Falls Park, located at 9200 Old Dominion Drive in McLean. The park is full of hiking and walking trails of varying difficulties that take you right past the Potomac, so there’s something for everyone! And as a bonus, you can pretty much take a single road all the way there from F.C.! Just hop onto Great Falls Street and ride it until you hit the park.

If you’re willing to head outside the Beltway for your nature needs, you might consider paying a visit to Burke Lake Park. Just head on over to 7315 Ox Road in Burke and you’ll find a cornucopia of spots for family-friendly activities, including a 218-acre lake with fishing and rowboat rentals, a full golf course, miniature train, carousel, ice cream parlor, and many serene and beautiful trails that loop around the lake.

Hiking not quite your thing? Consider heading just a smidge further south, to Occoquan Regional Park. At the park, located at 9751 Ox Road in Lorton, you can take the family and sprawl out on one of many acres of grassy fields. Sounds like a perfect picnic place to me! Between April and October, they also offer riverboat tours!

For those of you looking for a more distant escape, there’s always Sky Meadows State Park. Enjoy freshwater fishing, access to the Appalachian Trail for all your hiking needs, and plenty of fresh air. Located at 11012 Edmonds Lane in Delaplane, it’s about an hour’s drive from The Little City; it’s easy enough to head out for a lovely Saturday or Sunday afternoon. You could even make a full day of it and take in a few nearby wineries while you’re out there!

There are few better ways to trick yourself into having an active, fitness-minded day than by simply heading outdoors with friends, family, or even just your thoughts. More than once have I found myself being so wrapped up in my beautiful surroundings, that I didn’t even realize how many miles I had walked! We are very fortunate to live in an area with such easy access to nature. And I know I most definitely plan on taking advantage of it over the next few months!

Gretchen Powell is a fitness and healthy living blogger in Falls Church. She is not a registered dietitian, nutritionist, or medical doctor, and a medical professional should be consulted before undertaking dramatic diet changes. For more, visit