What were your favorite spring outdoor activities when you were a kid? One glance outside and you notice that it looks like spring. Stepping outside, the warm sun beaming down will confirm that spring has officially arrived. After a long winter inside, I often forget all the fun fitness opportunities that wait just outside my door. This year, as a reminder for us all, I have come up with a list of outdoor activities in the Washington, D.C. area. Skip the gym one day and use these activities not only for staying fit, but also for enjoying the pleasantries of spring and summer.
Outdoors in Washington DC
1. Great Falls
Lace up your hiking boots and head over to the Maryland side of Great Falls for a scenic, 4 mile hike on Section A of the Billy Goat Trail (pictured below). After a short walk down the C&O Canal Towpath, the trail begins with a walk through the woods until you reach the edge of the cliffs overlooking the gorgeous Potomac River. Hiking parallel along the Potomac River, you will find yourself working up a sweat as you climb—and balance—along the rocks. On this portion of the hike, you will notice rock climbers across the river and kayakers in the river all enjoying the outdoors as well. The trail then takes you literally over the river (not the Potomac, a small stream) and through the woods back to the C&O Canal Tow Path.
Tips for success:
On a hot day, bring a backpack full of extra water and a snack to stay fueled—I usually bring peanuts and/or a banana.
On the weekends, it costs $5 to park so bring cash. If you enjoy yourself, invest in the $20 parking pass that lasts for one year and pays for itself after four trips.
Go early on Saturday or Sunday mornings or you will find yourself at the end of a long line of cars.
2. The National Zoo
– Spend the day exploring the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. For more of a workout, start at the bottom of the hill by parking in Lot D and work your way up toward Connecticut Avenue.
3. Thompson Boat Center
– Bring some friends to Thompson Boat Center in Georgetown. Then rent a boat for a day on the Potomac or a bike for a day exploring D.C. Or find the nearest bike path or place to kayak.
4. Lake Artemesia
– Lace up your shoes, or put on your roller blades, or grab your bike and head over to Lake Artemesia in Greenbelt.
5. Garden or a Farmer’s Market
– Consider planting and maintaining your own garden for the summer growing season. Or find your local Fresh Farm Market to enjoy all that summer produce has to offer.
- Find a farmer’s market near you!
Please share with us your favorite outdoor activities this spring! Looking for help incorporating movement and self care into your life? We can help you prioritize your health. Make an appointment with one of our Registered Dietitian Nutritionists today!
Rebecca Bitzer loves to empower Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) and their clients. Co-author of Welcome to the Rebelution: Seven steps to the nutrition counseling practice of your dreams and Taste the Sweet Rebellion: Rebel against dieting.