We all like sand and the sea but you don’t have to travel to the beach to enjoy Spring Break this year. Less than an hour from D.C., yet a world away, a variety of family friendly activities await in Loudoun. From outdoor hikes and educational farm visits to bonding with the young ones over golf and other sports, there is something for every age group to enjoy. Add in tasty treats-artisanal ice cream for the kids, wine and craft beer for adults- and Loudoun has it all.
Forget the surf – go where the grapes go.
Improve your aim – and your Vitamin D count – with an afternoon in the sun at Pev’s Paintball Park off Route 15: The 48-acre facility features 14 different themed fields in which to “capture the flag” and play a game or two with the whole family. Hiking enthusiasts will love the “rollercoaster” of the Appalachian Trail above Round Hill, but the lesser known Red Rock Wilderness Overlook Regional Park in Leesburg is home to several native plants and varieties of wildlife and is an easier hike for kids. For something a little more daring, Harpers Ferry Adventure Center has a great zip line course over a forest canopy.
Ever feed a baby goat? Wonder where cheese comes from? Make your way to historic Georges Mill Farm in Lovettsville where visitors get to feed and snuggle with the new litter of baby goats each spring. The farm store also sells superb cheeses – chevre, feta, blue – produced with milk from those goats. Sticking to the theme, Temple Hall Farm Regional Park is a 286-acre working farm turned park replete with farm animals, vegetable gardens and cornfields as well as kid-friendly side entertainments such as scavenger hunts, “hide and seek” games and bouncing pillows. Throughout April they will celebrate Arbor Month by inviting visitors to help plant trees and on April 13 at 11 a.m. is the annual Easter Egg Hunt for kids up to age 11.
Loudoun is turning into a popular sports destination. Sterling is home to Dulles Golf Center & Sports Park, which has a driving range, pro lessons for parents and children and an 18-hole mini golf course. Nearby, TopGolf in Ashburn offers a family fun twist on the classical game: you drive microchipped golf balls from a platform high above a 240-foot range, all while being served superb food and drink. For rugby fans in the family, make your way to Segra Field in Leesburg on April 15 for Major League pros Old Glory DC’s 8 p.m. “Friday Night Lights” home game against the Utah Warriors. As for baseball fans, The Ballpark Loudoun is an interactive indoor facility with 12 batting cages and combines cutting-edge hitting and pitching technology with a lively bar and restaurant scene. Due to open April 11, check www.theballparkloudoun.com for details.
If you’re more inclined to the arts, Loudoun has that covered too. The Byrne Gallery in Middleburg is hosting Hanakotoba, The Language of Flowers, a celebration of Cherry Blossom season featuring the delicate Japanese rice paper paintings and prints of artist Caroline Garrett Hardy. The exhibit runs until May 1. On April 15 StageCoach Theatre in Ashburn presents its monthly Third Friday Improv! – stand up and other entertaining improvised acts. Doors open at 7 p.m. If you are spring breaking with little kids, Franklin Park Arts Center in Purcellville is staging Bob Brown Puppets: Teddy Bear Picnic on April 13 at 10 a.m. The show features Mother Bear and Baby Bear setting out on a picnic and meeting friends along the way.
What’s a visit to Loudoun without fine wine, beer and food? At 868 Estate Vineyards outside Hillsboro, parents can enjoy fine wine – try the 2020 Valle Tranquilo red blend, a collaboration between 868 and seven other Hillsboro wineries – while the kids explore the expansive grounds, play frisbee and picnic at tables on the lawn. Beer wise, try B Chord Brewing near Bluemont, which has pizza, corn hole, suburb craft beer, vast open spaces for the children and live music. Get in the mood for summer with a pitcher of the Summer of Love honey wheat American ale. For outdoor dining, you are close to More Better, the German-inspired eatery of dynamic Loudoun restaurateur Nils Schnibbe. As for sweet treats, the county has you covered. Purcellville has two iconic ice cream parlors – Gruto’s for softserve, and Tipped Cow Creamery for artisanal farm ice cream, while Leesburg is home to Mocatinas, a decadent Parisian-style dessert house where the scoops are the size of soccer balls. Savor a cone on a bench around town.