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 Hogback Mountain Paintball south of Leesburg, a 70-acre paintball park with 14 themed courses in which to wargame with the whole family. Hiking enthusiasts will love “The Rollercoaster” section of the Appalachian Trail above Bluemont and 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 while Paddle Nova offers kayak, canoe and stand-up paddle board rentals at Beaverdam Reservoir as well as on a stretch of the Potomac River.
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, Double 8 Alpaca Ranch in far western Loudoun offers private farm tours for families where you can enjoy up close encounters with the ranch’s llamas and alpacas, take photos or selfies and then buy handmade double-knit alpaca hats, socks and gloves in the farm store. North of Leesburg meanwhile, Temple Hall Farm Regional Park is a 286-acre working farm turned park replete with farm animals, vegetable gardens and kid-friendly side entertainments such as scavenger hunts, “hide and seek” games and a bouncing pillow. On the Wednesday of Spring Break (April 5), the farm hosts the annual Easter Egg Hunt at the Farm for 2-11-year-olds. Happy hunting kids!
Loudoun is turning into a popular sports destination. Start your Spring Break at Segra Field, Leesburg on Saturday, April 1, when local soccer stars Loudoun United take on the Colorado Springs Switchbacks at 3:45 p.m. 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. As for baseball fans, The Ballpark Loudoun is an interactive indoor facility with 12 batting cages that combines cutting-edge hitting and pitching technology with a lively bar and restaurant scene. What about a family day spent cycling? Everyone knows the scenic Washington & Old Dominion Trail, but did you know you can ride it on battery powered bikes rented from Pedego Electric Bikes in downtown Leesburg? Perfect for family groups, less experienced riders can hit cruise control with battery power, while stronger cyclists get to pedal the traditional way. Magic.
If you’re more inclined to arts and culture, Loudoun has that too. Loudoun Art Tours offers guided tours of downtown Leesburg’s exciting public art scene, from the contemporary pieces in Raflo Park Sculpture Garden to the stunning new Journey to Freedom mural on the wall of the Loudoun Museum that depicts Bazil Newman, a Black 19th Century Loudoun landowner and ferry business operator taking a young Black boy across the Potomac to Maryland on a moonlit night. For fans of the dramatic arts, StageCoach Theatre in Ashburn presents frequent dinner theater, stand-up and improv nights. Check their calendar for details as well as for summer camp updates. If you are spring breaking with young kids, they will love Franklin Park Performing and Visual Arts Center’s Planetarium Program: Earth Day, Celebrating Our Home – one hour presentations on April 6. On Saturday, April 8 attend Last Ham Standing Comedy Improv – side-splitting fun for all the family.
What’s a visit to Loudoun without fine wine, beer and food? At glorious 365-acre Doukenie Winery outside Hillsboro, parents can enjoy a bottle of the crisp award-winning 2020 Sauvignon Blanc while the kids play on the lawns or even fish in the pond on the grounds. Brewery-wise, Lost Barrel Brewing in Middleburg does great burgers, sandwiches, wraps and chicken tenders while also offering corn hole, vast open spaces for the children to run around and great craft beer and wine. Get in the mood for summer with a pitcher of the Belgian-style Farm Ale. For outdoor dining, families love the patio seating and wood-fired pies at Sterling’s Fire Works Pizza in Cascades Plaza while the secret garden at the back of popular King Street café Shoe’s Cup & Cork is the ultimate lunchtime hideaway. As for sweet treats, the county has you covered. The Yard at One Loudoun in Ashburn does craft milkshakes with outrageous toppings while Purcellville has two iconic ice cream parlors – Gruto’s for soft serve, and Tipped Cow Creamery for artisanal farm ice cream.