March 12, 2021

Best Places for the Kids to Play in Water | Fairfax, VA Family Photographer

This warm weather is giving me life! Everyone is in a peppy mood and we’ve been spending every day this week outside. A favorite activity for my kids is playing near water. They can play and explore for hours on end. Early this week we had our first visit to Nanjemoy NRMA in Maryland to look for shark teeth. And wow it did not disappoint! You literally just squat down and start sifting your fingers through the top layer of sand and rocks and BAM find some teeth. Amazing. Also consider this a bonus spot because it’s not really that close, but totally doable as a day trip. 

Here are some of my favorite local spots to take my kids:

Leesylvania State Park
Go all the way to the end of the road and park. Like if you think “Ooo maybe we can park here and get to the water” just keep going. Then, once you park walk towards the pier and there is a lovely beach area. The waves are like 5” tall and perfect for the tiniest humans. 

Dora Kelley Nature Park
We discovered this gem in 2020 when I craved more adventure and new places to go. There are multiple parking options but some are more stroller friendly than others. Park at the Buddy Ford Nature Center if you don’t mind walking down a big set of stairs and you will be dropped off right at the rocky beach. Or park in the neighborhood and have a nice, flat walk down the path and land at the rocky beach. There are also some fun birds here like the Kingfisher that was flying along the creek and right over my kids head.

Mason Neck State Park
This is a smaller beach and gets filled up quickly. Go early on weekdays and even earlier on weekends. Take the Bayview Trail from the visitors center and the beach spot is on your right after you get on the boardwalk. We also love this spot in the winter because of the variety of birds and the Bayview Trail loop is always lovely. 

Stone Bridge at Manassas
Park in the Stone Bridge parking lot and walk across the bridge. We like to keep left and do the whole Stone Bridge Loop and end in the water. Alternatively you can just turn right after the bridge and there are a few spots near the water to enjoy. I have never seen too many people playing in the water here!

Lake Accotink Park
A classic option to locals, but I have to add it on here! The water playing is only part of the fun at this park. The kayaks, canoes, mini golf, and carousel are fun to enjoy here as well. 

Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve
Excuse the phone picture but we randomly decided to go here after ice skating. Park at the Mount VernonTrail parking lot and walk the 1 mile along the river and out through the marsh. There is an eagle nest and multiple fun spots to play in the water. 

Pack some snacks, a blanket, water, and maybe even a book that you desire to read but probably won’t get to actually reading. You got this! Go adventure!