Home Miniature house Summer is here and maybe it’s time to stay put

Summer is here and maybe it’s time to stay put

With gas prices nearing $6 a gallon, summer beach vacations may not be happening this year, but don’t worry. Take a vacation here in Northern Virginia and pretend it’s the beach — there are plenty of options here that maintain that beachy vibe all summer long.

Fairfax County has 420 parks on nearly 25,000 acres of parkland, so there’s something for everyone, said Judy Pedersen of the Fairfax County Park Authority. “With gas prices as high as they are and the impacts of inflation hitting families hard, staying local and enjoying our wonderful network of parks makes perfect sense,” Pedersen said.

Camping in Pohick Bay can be in an RV or in one of the rental cabins.

First stop, a go-kart track in the Dulles Airport area called the Autobahn Indoor Speedway. It offers racers an opportunity for speed in their indoor facility with some karts reaching 50 miles per hour. It’s a bit more high-tech than the beach tracks, so be prepared. There are “Junior Karts”, with a minimum age of 8 years and a height of at least 48 inches.

For Pro Karts, the minimum age is 13 and drivers must be at least 56 inches tall. Summer karting camps are available for ages 8 to 15.

Vacations and vacations are also synonymous with putt-putt golf. You must have the blazing volcanoes and waterfalls, and that’s just the ticket to Upton Regional Park or the Treasure Island Mini Golf Course in Pohick Bay. Other mini golf courses can be found at Monster Mini Golf in Chantilly or Cameron Run Mini Golf in Alexandria. Burke Lake has mini golf, a frisbee golf course and a par 3 course.

If that’s not enough for thrill seekers, there are several places in the area that offer obstacle courses and rope climbing. At Upton Park in Arlington, “Climb Upton” offers a 90-element vertical adventure located next to the Ocean Dunes water park.

At the South Run Rec Center, there is another rock climbing course called “Go Ape”, with five activities depending on skill level. There are 70 obstacles at South Run and a 320-foot zipline.

“Holidays are definitely worth taking this year,” said Ali Morris, destination marketing manager at Visit Fairfax. She highlighted a few events planned for this summer that cater to those staying put this year:

* “KURIOS: a cabinet of curiosities” by Cirque du Soleil under the marquee at Tysons from July 29 to September 25.

* A beer and wine show at the Westfields Marriott Washington Dulles Hotel until the end of September: two nights at the hotel, wine tasting at a local vineyard, beer flights at 3 different Chantilly breweries, transportation and food, plus a welcome bottle of wine and other freebies upon arrival.

* Capital One Center at Tysons has a new Performing Arts Center and Capital One Hall with an elevated outdoor Starr Hill Biergarten + Amphitheater and an 18-hole, 11-story miniature golf course in the air.

Do you still want the beach, the surf and the madness? The Fairfax Surf Shop offers boards, skate gear and trunks as preparation for Reston’s surf lesson. Surf Reston Stand Up Paddleboarding is right on Lake Audubon in Reston. For those who want to skate but not on the water, there are skateparks at Wakefield Park, Lake Fairfax, Van Dyck Park, Herndon Skate Park and Powhatan Springs Skate Park inside the ring road.

You never know what’s on display at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton.

What if it rains?

This is where all eyes turn to the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton. This art studio and gallery is mostly indoors, has plenty of parking, and is not far from I-95. The Workhouse Arts Center opened to the public in September 2008, with buildings that were part of the former Lorton Prison, and now houses artist studios, dance studios, music rooms, event spaces , movement/exercise studios, a theater, gift shop, visitor center, administrative offices and the Lucy Burns Museum, honoring suffragettes.

summer eat

After all that activity, it’s time for a bite to eat, and it’s all about beach cravings at Clare and Don’s Beach Shack in Falls Church, or burgers and fries at Boardwalk in Kingstowne. At Clare and Don’s, dishes range from Lake Alice Gator Tail ($9), a bowl of Seafood Chowda ($8) to Inner Harbor Crab Cakes ($28.75)

When evening falls, relax by the campfire, make s’mores and talk all the fun of the beach, and there are several campgrounds in the area for that portion of summer fun. At Pohick Bay, there are cabins, tent and motorhome sites as well as a place for wild camping. Burke Lake also has a campground, as does Lake Fairfax, where cabins are also located.

If you are going to….

Autobahn Indoor Speedway

45448 East Severn Way, Suite #150

Sterling, Virginia 20166

(571) 353-1220

Pohick Bay Regional Park

6501 Pohick Bay Dr, Lorton, Virginia 22079

(703) 339-6104

Upton Hill Regional Park

6060 Wilson Blvd.

Arlington VA 22205


Clare and Don’s Beach Shack

130 N Washington St, Falls Church, Virginia 22046

Phone: (703) 532-9283

Fairfax Surf Shop

10304 Willard Road

Fairfax, Virginia 22030

703 273-0015

[email protected]

Mini Golf Monster

14130 Sullyfield Cir suite g, Chantilly, VA 20151

(571) 376-5035

Workhouse Arts Foundation, Inc.

9518 Workhouse Road

Lorton, Virginia 22079



Atlantis Water Park

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Great Waves Water Park

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Bring the family for a full day of slides and splashes at Great Waves Water Park, located in Alexandria, Virginia.


Ocean Dunes Water Park

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1400 Fairfax Lake Parkway

Reston, Virginia, 22039