We hear this all the time, but Mason’s location truly is the center of everything, and we truly should be taking advantage of Mason’s proximity to the nation’s capital as well as other cool landmarks in Virginia. With warm weather fast approaching, here are some activities and places you can go nearby to make the most out of the end of your spring semester
1. Go hiking
Northern Virginia is full of hiking paths, the most known ones being Great Falls and Scotts Run. These parks are located only 30 minutes away from campus and have trails available for every skill level. There is also a picnic area as well making it the perfect place to destress and hang out with friends once the weather gets warmer.
2. Hit up the museums at the National Mall in D.C.
There are so many incredible museums and art galleries in DC and it’s so easy to get there. Grab a ride on the Metro and get off at Smithsonian station and you’ll end up in the center of it all. Some of my favorite free museums to visit include the National Gallery of Art, the National Museum of Natural History, Renwick Gallery, and the US Botanic Garden. You are bound to find a museum that matches your interests in DC.
3. Take a trip to Old Town, Alexandria
The Old Town historic district of Alexandria is one of my favorite places to go once the weather warms up in the spring. There are so many different activities that you can do, including visiting historic sites and museums, visiting the waterfront and taking a water taxi along the Potomac River, or simply strolling down King Street and exploring the unique boutiques. If you go, it’s a MUST to stop by Pop’s Old Fashion Ice Cream Co. for a scoop of delicious ice cream made in house.
4. The Cherry Blossom Festival
The annual Cherry Blossom Festival is one of the most anticipated events of the year, beginning at the end of March and lasting through mid-April. Between this time frame, various events will be going on in Washington D.C. to showcase and celebrate the bloom of the cherry blossoms. The Tidal Basin is also infamously known as the best place to get a photo op during peak bloom days, so take some friends, wear a cute outfit, and take some Instagram pictures while enjoying the beautiful scenes around you.
5. Drive down Skyline Drive
There’s nothing more therapeutic than taking a long drive, especially if there’s beautiful scenery to look at while doing so. Skyline Drive runs 105 miles north and south along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Shenandoah National Park. There is an entrance fee of $30 per vehicle, but if you take a couple of friends you can split the cost and bring food with you making it a relatively low-cost activity.
6. Picnic at Gravelly Point
A hidden gem, Gravelly Point is a field located near the edge of the Potomac River, facing the Ronald Regan Regional Airport. Gravelly Point is about a hundred yards away from the airport’s landing strip, making it the perfect place to observe planes coming in and taking off in close proximity. I recommend bringing a group of friends and a picnic and enjoying the scenic views while observing planes coming in and out of the landing strip near you, it’s also a pretty cool photo op, so it’s the perfect opportunity to get some pictures for your Instagram.
This list of places and activities only hits the tip of the iceberg in terms of activities and places to go in DC and Northern Virginia. No matter what your interests are, you are bound to find something to do in this area, so take advantage and discover something new this spring.