The long holiday weekend that marks the unofficial start of summer is finally upon us! It is a time many of us look forward to as it means more hours of sunshine, cool evening breezes through open windows, beautiful blooms and that snow is –fingers crossed- officially out of the picture for the next several months. Everyone has their own Memorial Day traditions, but this year we invite you to kick off the summer season in Loudoun with one of these five family-friendly activities. Don’t forget to share your experience using #LoveLoudoun

Pick Your Own Fruits & Veggies
One of the greatest things about summer is being able to gather fresh fruits and vegetables for salads and dinners. It is the perfect time of year to introduce even the pickiest eaters to something new! Visit Great Country Farms, which offers a variety of pick-your-own products throughout the year, or check out the strawberry patch at Oatlands Historic House and Gardens, in partnership with Wegmeyer Farms. While there, take time to explore the beautiful four-acre garden, comprised of terraces carved into the hillside. 

Set Up a Picnic
Many of Loudoun’s wineries and breweries allow you to bring a picnic to enjoy outdoors with a bottle of wine or a cold brew. This weekend, Tarara Winery’s outdoor summer concert series kicks off May 26th with the 80s tribute band The Reflex. Bring your legwarmers, jelly shoes and some food to this not-to-be missed concert at the winery’s pavilion by the lake.  

Explore the Outdoors
From the Potomac River to the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Loudoun offers numerous outdoor activities that span from kayaking and fishing to hiking, biking and more. Start with a visit to Rust Sanctuary- a hidden gem in Leesburg that includes 68 acres of wooded trails through meadows and forests. After, head across Loudoun to Harpers Ferry Adventure Center where activities range from lounging on tubes for a leisurely trip down the river to white water rafting.

Al Fresco Dining
This has to be an all-time favorite summer activity. There is nothing better than sipping a cool drink under the sun or enjoying a delicious dinner outside as the day turns into night. After a few games at TopGolf, head to the entertainment center’s rooftop space that includes televisions, fire pits and live music on select evenings. At Sense of Thai in One Loudoun, you can sit outdoors or enjoy a breeze from inside as  the restaurant opens its garage-style doors on beautiful days. Many of the restaurants in the historic towns of Leesburg and Middleburg also have outdoor patios to enjoy including the “Secret Garden” at Shoe’s Cup and Cork, the Wine Kitchen and Red Fox Inn & Tavern.

Animal Encounters
Loudoun is known as the horse capital of Virginia so no matter what path you take, you are bound to see beautiful horses on farms throughout Loudoun. But, if you want to get up close and personal, visit the animals at Leesburg Animal Park, which features live animal shows, exotic exhibits as well as pony and wagon rides. If you want to learn about life on the farm, take a free farm tour at Temple Hall Farm and meet all the animals that call this Northern Virginia park home.

For more ideas, visit www.visitloudoun.org